Sith Gimanhala, a live TV counselling programme
We provide a Counselling service with Buddhist insights
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Damrivi Counselling Service
Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am to 4.30pm
Call us on 011 72 72 555
151/A, Isipathana Mawatha, Havelock Town,
Since October 2008, Derana, telecasts a live counseling programme. The Damrivi counseling programme was a springboard for the start of this programme. The programme was originally aimed at addressing women who are victims of domestic violence. The programme is telecasted in the morning hours on week days giving an opportunity for these victims to call in annonymous when the husbands or other perpetrators are away at work. For each day of the week, there is a different resource person who provides live counseling to callers. On Tuesdays the resource person is the senior counselor of Damrivi, Mr. Suranga Amarakoon and our psychiatrists. Today the program is so popular that not only battered women but all sorts of distressed people needing help of all age groups call in. The one hour programme only provides a limited opportunity to callers. All callers are encouraged to seek counseling personally at the Damrvi center. Damrivi provides free counseling to these callers during the rest of the week.
A recent study conducted on the impact of this live TV counseling programme on the utilization of counseling services from Damrivi show an overwhelming increase of 292% in 2009. This exceptional increase is attributed to the publicity that was generated for counseling in general and specifically for the services provided by Damrivi as a result of the participation of Damrivi’s senior counselor in the TV programme. The 2010 service statistics shows a steady increase of 32%. Damrivi started a telephone counseling programme in March 2009 specifically to address the needs of these callers. A large number of such callers were as a result of Sith Gimanhala. The number of callers is very high on the day and the day after the programe is telecast. During the programme, the public is informed that if they are unable to get telephone access to the live programme, there are counselors at Damrivi to help them.
Sith Gimanhala has had a great impact on building awareness and confidence in counseling. Though we constantly direct viewers and callers to the closest Government hospital for their counseling and other psychological problems, we find that continuously clients from remote areas such as Kataragama, Trincomalee, Ampara end up at Damrivi center for counseling. Our research also indicate that people are moving away from misconceptions and myths about psychological problems and are more inclined to seek professional help. Some clients having benefited through our counseling service offer to participate in Sith Gimanhala for a discussion in order to encourage others to seek help. Some of these clients include those who were counseled for social phobias. It has also demonstrated that culturally friendly, compassion based counseling services remove barrier of social stigma in accessing psychological services.