Feature Articles

Training of New Peer Counsellors

Ref Number: ESEAOR200807

  • Date1 Jul 2008
  • Category FPA Message
  • Targets Youth
  • AuthorFPAHK
  • Topic Others

During the summer, the FPAHK youth volunteers’ e-counselling team recruited new peer counsellors. With assistance from staff, experienced peer counsellors conducted a 4-day training workshop for the new members. Through different exercises and games, 19 youths learned how to address young people’s sexual concerns and develop responsible attitudes towards sex. Apart from being equipped with knowledge about sex and reproductive health issues, the new recruits gained skills of providing emotional support through emails. After the training, 13 youths joined the team as peer counsellors to provide email-counselling from August 2008.

Reflections from new Peer Counsellors

Winifred Mark (female, aged 18)
“I came to this workshop expecting to be trained on counselling skills, but I got so much more. True, a large part of the workshop is to be prepared for answering emails from clients seeking factual sex knowledge and/or emotional support; however apart from that, I also met and became friends with people who are as enthusiastic and as actively involved in sex education and its promotion in Hong Kong. Most Hong Kong people still see sex as a taboo and are reluctant to talk about it in public. Even the sex education in schools concentrates on the biological side of things like sexual organs or contraceptive methods without practically showing you how they are used. As a result, inaccurate notions and information are given and obtained about sex. I believe this programme fills the gap to provide more practical sex education.”

Chris Tsui (male, aged 18)
“I joined the FPAHK's e-counselling team in July 2008 under the encouragement of a relative. Before I got to reply emails from people troubled by sexual problems, I had to attend a training workshop where experienced staff taught me and other peer counsellors how to do our job well.

I found the workshop to be very educational and informative. Essentially, we learned to empathize with our clients, analyze our clients' situations carefully, and present our emails in a suitable tone and style. We were given many real-life examples to assist our learning as well. In the end, I had a clearer picture about the many problems faced by people nowadays and how they think. In some ways, it was like I had learned how to be a junior psychologist.

Besides that, I found out that some of the things I learned in the workshop could also be applied in my daily life, and not limited to replying emails: for instance, we should respect and empathize with our family and friends like we do with our clients.

To sum up, the workshop really enriched my knowledge and broadened my horizons. As a peer counsellor, I hope I can put the skills I learned to good use and help others effectively.”