One aspect of conflict I am addressing today is the refugee crisis in the world and in particular this country of ours. A big ask for one person and I certainly hope I am not inflating my sense of self-worth or opinion of what I can do.


I have offered my services as a counsellor to Refugee Action. If you are not aware of them I suggest a look at their website.

Deliberately ignoring the politics and polarising media input, I look to my feelings and seek to find a way I can make a difference. A small point which has been left ignored by the media is that there is no such thing as an "illegal" refugee. As a nation we have played a role in creating the refugees - those fleeing for their lives or for economic purposes. By selling arms to the oppressors or because of climate change and economic sanctions, we have played a role.

This leaves me feeling I have an obligation to help the refugees who arrive here. Some by small inflatable boats or hidden in or below an HGV lorry. When I consider the unfortunate folk whose submarine malfunctioned which resulted in their death recently, and then consider that on that day over 150 people from a different culture, country and with different skin colour to mine were drowned while fleeing conflict which received very little media coverage, I am appalled.

Other countries have welcomed refugees with open arms, viewing them as the vital people who actually help keep their economies running. Those who care for the elderly, wait at our tables, clean our offices, drive our public transport etc. etc. People who, given the opportunity, pay taxes and spend in the local economy, pick our produce, drive our home delivery vehicles, sell us the delicious post-drink binge food etc.

The same people who in the next generation propel their children into university, who then become surgeons, lawyers, accountants, employers, neighbours, home buyers etc. I am not so naive as to think that all refugees are the cream of the crop. Undeniably some do commit crimes, take more than they contribute and exploit the healthcare system. If we accept that then we must, I feel, consider the number of people who do the same but have been born in this country. 

Bringing it back to the point. I hope that by being accepted to help Refugee Action I can make a refugee's life safer, more accepted and perhaps help to address and help from the trauma they have experienced. That opportunity is, for me, a reward in itself. The opportunity to benefit society as a whole by nurturing and helping another, newly arrived person and helping them to achieve their potential is a dream perhaps but, just because it is a dream does not make it invalid.

Failing any of the above "it is better to fail trying than failing to try".

Personally, in my non-counselling life (yes, there is more to my life than counselling), there is a situation in which I anticipate a conflict to continue. The conflict started months ago and came to a head last Thursday. Somebody took exception to the way I behaved where I do a service role. I listened to this person and then reacted! Never a good idea for me. During the tirade delivered against me, I managed to move from reacting to responding and although the issues did not get resolved I was able to rest assured and then seek advice and help.

Subsequently, the other person has sent a few "off colour" text messages which I have read and chosen not to respond to. In the last seven days, I have been reflecting on the events of last week and I admit I have some anxiety about the regular meeting today, which the other person attends. If there is no such thing as "good days and bad days, rather good days and learning days" then I am able to use the situation as an opportunity to grow.

If the meeting this evening goes in a negative way, I am allowed to remove the person to a waiting room. Having checked with the other service providers I am assured that this is okay to do. In order to prevent the other party not being heard I will call a group conscience after the meeting, during which the other party will be free to speak. The well-being of the group is placed higher than the dissatisfaction of one member.

It seems that the patience, tolerance and understanding that the meeting ascribes to has parallels with counselling. Reflection and a willingness to admit my role in a conflict also has parallels with counselling. I am trying to not project, into the future, events and behaviours, which is easier said than done. Carl Rogers's self-actualising tendency is at work in me as well as the other group members. By recognising this I hope to avoid a clash of personalities and hopefully find a way which offers satisfaction to all members.

Watch this space for updates.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
Chelmsford CM1
Written by Steve Fayers, Counsellor / Therapist | Certified Trauma Therapist
Chelmsford CM1

I am a person, a counsellor, a parent, a flawed human being who has struggled with life. Struggled with addiction.
I would rather struggle than give in and accept a life that does not meet my needs and wants.
I am trying to be the best person I can be.
"I will not go quietly into that goodnight " (paraphrased Dylan Thomas)

Show comments

Find a therapist dealing with Relationship problems

All therapists are verified professionals

All therapists are verified professionals