About Seren

 

Staffing, Management and Governance:

Trustees: The Board of Trustees of Seren includes a Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer. All are volunteers.
Committee meetings are held six weekly with an annual A.G.M.

Counsellors: 10 qualified volunteer counsellors
Supervisors: 3 professional, qualified counsellor supervisors.
Office Staff: Part-time Administrator

A short history of Seren

The Seren Counselling Project, as it was originally called, grew out of a multi-disciplinary forum which formed and met in Aberystwyth in the early 1990s.

This forum, which included people from a wide range of services and organisations, such as police and probation services, health and social services, psychotherapists and counsellors and various support agencies, came together in the wake of a large and shocking investigation and court proceedings involving a network of perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse in Wales.   The large number of children, adults, social workers and police involved in these distressing events led to a need for professionals, in danger of being overwhelmed by their exposure to high levels of stress and their recognition of the lack of training, knowledge and resources in this area, to find a way to support each other and share information and skills.

This forum met regularly to discuss issues and to explore how we could support each other and improve services,( where they existed), and identify resources that were needed but not available, in order to support children and adults who had experienced sexual abuse in childhood.

A need for training was soon identified, and in March 1994 a two day training event was organised at St David’s hospital, Carmarthen.  The training programme was devised and delivered by the Standing Committee on Sexually Abused Children (SCOSAC), a Training and Consultancy Organisation with special expertise in the field, which had already set up a free counselling service for women who had experienced childhood sexual abuse in London.

The training included an historical perspective on research and professional developments, working with disclosure, post investigation work and support, crisis interventions and therapeutic considerations as well as management and supervision matters, in relation to work with both children and adults.

The training was very well attended by a wide range of professionals.  It was as a result of this training and attendance at the forum, that the counselling project was created.

A need for therapeutic help for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse had been identified early on, and due to the publicity surrounding the court proceedings, many individuals were coming forward for help who had kept secret their own childhood experiences for many years. 

The Seren counselling project was set up by 1995, with a group of four unpaid therapists, working from Gorwelion in Aberystwyth, and a support group, operating on an almost invisible budget.  In 1997 Lottery funding was secured, a full time Co-ordinator was appointed and we found an office to rent.

Over the years, Seren has gradually developed and expanded its services, providing new venues for counselling in Lampeter, Cardigan, Carmarthen and Narberth in addition to Aberystwyth.  Our volunteer counsellors have increased to cover these areas, and we have provided Training Events in many parts of Wales, both to the statutory and voluntary sectors, to counsellors and psychotherapists, as well as other Professionals.

In addition to one to one counselling for individual clients, training for new counsellors, and peer and group supervision, Seren has, over the years, provided post counselling groups and workshops to clients as after care services, psycho-educational groups for people on our waiting lists, libraries of books for the use of clients and counsellors, and produced a small booklet.  We have also had a Forum theatre group which has, in past years, presented dramatised material at conferences and training events, and provided a forum for Seren former clients and counsellors alike to explore different ways of communication and engagement.

Unfortunately, as in many others areas, funding has been increasingly difficult to secure, which means that our service has at many times been under threat and severely curtailed.  Nevertheless, Seren continues on, attempting to meet the needs of our clients, our counsellors and others by providing high quality counselling and training programmes.