Listening not Counselling

Samaritan volunteers who answer the phone are not counsellors but we do offer somebody to talk to who will talk to callers with Carl Rogers 'core conditions' of Respect, Empathy, Genuineness and Unconditional Positive Regard.

To ensure that volunteers deliver these qualities when they talk the callers, volunteers go through an extensive training course and are supervised when they first answer calls.    These skills are valuable skills and are transferable into other work volunteers might do, for instance social work, nursing and other health professions and many more, indeed in what working environment are good listening skills not an asset.

Some volunteers do go on to become counsellors and counselling courses often welcome Samaritan volunteers as students because they have a good grounding in listening.

But Samaritans are not counsellors we are just good listeners who help distressed callers to explore their feelings when they are distressed or are feeling suicidal.