Piloting Practice Supervision for the Government Counseling Cadre: Lessons and Reflections from Two Pilot Locations in Sri Lanka

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Supervision of one’s practice is key for counselors seeing clients in many countries around the world. For Sri Lankan government counselors introduced into cadre positions by the Mental Health Policy of 2005-2015, however, this was not the case. In 2015, through a collaboration of The Asia Foundation and government ministries, peer support was introduced to government counselors attached to Social Services and Women’s Affairs for the first time. A 2017 mapping study revealed government counselors need expert supervision to guide them in their practice. The 50 counselors chosen for the first phase of the study met with the practice supervisor once a week in groups to discuss difficult cases, to reflect on their practice, to explore the blurred boundaries in their role as a counselor and a social worker. This publication is a collection of process papers describing the implementation of the program and the counselor’s perception of various aspects of their work. The paper indicates a need for more practice-oriented guidance for counselors, that there are deep rooted cultural beliefs and perceptions about mental health in localities that influence and shape service provision, and that counselors understand their role to be one where they need to meet workplace, community, and social expectation in order to be accepted as credible helpers.

Posted September 16, 2020
Related locations: Sri Lanka