ST. ANN’S BAY – The Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) St. Ann location commenced their peer counselling training last week.
The main role of a peer counsellor is to help to define concerns and seek solutions through the mutual sharing of information and experiences. Peer counsellors are the best persons to disseminate new information and knowledge to the group members. Peer counsellors also serve as positive role models for their peers. They share common experiences, and can therefore better empathize and understand the emotions, thoughts, feelings and, language of their peers.
Peer counsellors not only tell their peers about a desired risk reduction practice, but also model it. They demonstrate behaviour that can influence the school community norms in order to promote positive behaviour. They are better able to inspire and encourage their peers to adopt healthy behaviours, because they are able to share common weaknesses, strengths and experiences.
Through peer counselling, both the peer educator and the recipient benefits. The experience of learning becomes an exchange of ideas, rather than a transfer of knowledge. Peer counselling improves the communication and presentation skills of the adolescents. Further, peer counselling helps to develop the leadership potential of the adolescents, and enables them to engage their formal operational level of cognitive skills in the problem solving process.