In Palestine, the field of counseling and promotion of mental wellness are relatively new, and can only really be traced to the beginning of the 1980s. One major provider of all mental health services is the Palestinian Counseling Center. Rana Nashashibi of the PCC gave us some background on the Center, the services it provides and the importance of such a place in Palestine.
Establishing a counseling center and offering counseling services was a major breakthrough in the Palestinian community. For many years the field was completely dominated by the conception of dichotomy of health and pathology. The PCC was an advocate of the Rogerian client-centered approach with “counseling” as an intervention technique, with its emphasis on health versus pathology. The acceptance of this approach stemmed from people’s need to address daily concerns which affect their well-being as people who are under occupation. The main idea there is that as Palestinians we are normal people who are living in an abnormal situation which is beyond our ability to endure. Today the PCC has developed more of a holistic view and approach to mental health. While previously the focus was on raising the awareness of the society on the importance of mental health in general and counseling in specific, today the PCC applies a wider and more comprehensive set of interventions. In addition to therapy offered to individuals and groups who suffer from psychological problems and disorders, the PCC offers prevention community outreach programs to groups at risk of developing psychological problems. Special focus is given to the most marginalized sectors of the Palestinian society namely women, youth and children. In order to answer to the growing demand for professional psychological services, the PCC opted to adopt the strategy of building the capacities of individuals and organizations operating in mental health.
The PCC has its headquarters in Jerusalem with branch centers/clinics in the old city of Jerusalem, Ramallah, Qalqilya, and Nablus. The Palestinian Counseling Center carries out long-term, programmatic interventions within the Palestinian community. The Center continuously works to promote community growth and create a space where hierarchy encourages personal responsibility. They seek solidarity and support of people to people on every level, and hope to highlight the importance of human rights and respect.
Learn more about the Palestinian Counseling Center on their official website.
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