Counsellors' perceptions of psychological empowerment through a lay counselling service in a disadvantaged community.
The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the perceptions of a group of lay counsellors about their psychological empowerment. It was hypothesised that the counsellors were empowered as a result of their involvement in a counselling service, within the context of a disadvantaged community. Five out of a potential seven participants consented to be interviewed. The researcher used a semi-structured interview schedule to guide the interview process and thematic content analysis was used to analyse the data. The themes that emerged from the analysis related to the components of psychological empowerment as postulated by Zimmerman (1995), as well as the participants’ experience within the counselling service. The study concluded that the participants experienced becoming psychologically empowered, which led to improvements within their own lives. Despite this empowerment, the participants did not appear to be enabled to influence the removal of structural barriers that cause social inequities within their communities. The study concluded that this appeared to be as a result of constraints linked to psychological empowerment. In addition, the study found that the counselling service experienced many difficulties that are similar to those experienced by many other organisations that attempt to conduct community work within the South African context.
Psychological empowerment , Lay counselling