A St. Lucian-born psychologist with years of experience in the field has taken on the initiative of establishing a counselling and therapy centre with the aim of helping and improving the overall well-being of children and adults in St. Lucia.
Dubbed the Spring of Hope Counselling and Therapeutic Center and located on the Marisule Highway, Bernice Jaria officially opened the establishment on Thursday, May 29, 2014.
The Spring of Hope Counselling Center offers treatment services for persons who have gone through sexual, mental and physical abuse, or who need conflict resolution, and or are dealing with depression and other issues.
Jaria said that after working as a psychologist in Trinidad for some time, she saw the need for such services in her own land.
“Just being at the family court for a period of time, I noticed that there were a lot of people coming in there and workers were so few while the work load was so heavy and that they were not able to manage everybody that was coming in,” she said.
“…I feel very passionate about it because I see the many persons who go from day to day who are raped, people who have suicidal thoughts, people who are just angry and they do not know why… I feel that I can make a difference in the lives of those individuals,” she said.
Among treatment methods she engages in is play therapy, which most times involve children. Jaria, in addition, offers pre-marital counselling and behavioural disorder treatment among others.
Featured speaker at an opening ceremony on Thursday, Telecommunications official Cletus Bertin said such a facility is essential to St. Lucia, especially in an era of tough economic times which has been putting undue pressure on the mental and physical capacity of citizens.
Pointing to a recent mass killing incident in the US by a mentally unstable youth and last week’s sexual assault of a seven-year-old girl in Micoud by a mentally ill man, Bertin said such incidents reveal a definite need for centres like these on the island.
“To say that the counselling centre is needed is an understatement,” he reiterated.
He further stated that development and progress usually comes with both positive and negative aspects. Among the negative aspects, he mentioned, were increased anxiety, depression, stress, and less moral and emotional support structures due to increased technology.
According to Bertin, that price of progress brings about a need for some external or outside support mechanism which he is confident will be provided by the Spring of Hope Councelling and Therapeutic Center.
“It is known that when times are tough economically, you have higher rates of depression … dysfunction, and abuse of all kinds and there is no doubt that we are going through tough economic times,” he said.
At Thursday’s launch, friends, family and others involved in the development of the centre all gathered to witness an official ribbon-cutting of the centre. The owner went at lengths to extend gratitude to all those who made her dream of establishing her own therapy centre a reality.
The centre’s core philosophy is “based on the guidance and dependency on of Christ healing and restoration of the complete individual.”
In addition to the services mentioned, the centre also offers services which deal with anger management, suicidal thoughts, grief and loss, trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and parenting.
The centre is located upstairs the Libery Nursing Building in Marisule and can be reached at 452-8845.