June 7, 2023

If necessary, get help

If necessary, get help

If so, you should feel free to seek help – for example, from the caritas educational, youth, and family counseling service. "Under the umbrella of the german caritas association, we can offer advice through secure connections, provide information on other actors in the region and, if necessary, support the path to other help systems", according to heilpadagogin simone steiner, head of the counseling center in the county of erlangen-hochstadt.

You can go there with all your concerns: insecurity, fears, depressive moods or even concrete threatening situations such as domestic violence. "First you call the secretary’s office to register. We will clarify what is at stake, and we will guarantee confidentiality and our duty to maintain secrecy, explains steiner. The secretariat then passes the case on to the team, where the best advisor for the situation is determined. "When it comes to violence against a woman, she should also be advised by a woman, for example." The staff members have different training and specialties, so that a suitable counterpart can be found for all concerns.

The next step is for the client to make further contact and find out about his or her first appointment. Everything that follows remains exclusively between counselor and client: whether there is personal contact or only telephone contact, how often and at what intervals contact is desired, whether other institutions should be consulted and, of course, whether the caritas counseling center is the appropriate point of contact for the individual concern at all. "In any case, we can also help with referrals, for example to debt counseling or the youth welfare office, and we can help if a doctor or the police need to be called in." But everything always happens in consultation with the person seeking help, emphasizes steiner. "Anything else would undermine the basis of trust."

Sometimes, however, a second conversation or even cooperation with a partner is not necessary at all. "When parents seek support, for example, because a child is afraid or under pressure", steiner points out. Then it is often helpful to take away their insecurity, give them tips and encourage them in what they are doing right. "If the parents become more confident, this is also transferred to the children, so that in the end everyone can deal with the situation in a more relaxed and reassuring way."

It is also important for steiner to point out the possibility of online counseling. This is possible both anonymously and through the clear name and organized through the umbrella organization. In any case, the person seeking help is assigned to the local counseling center to ensure that he or she can switch to presentee counseling or have recourse to local cooperation partners. Despite the pandemic, face-to-face meetings are still the most common form of counseling: "currently, 75 percent of our contacts take place in person, 25 percent on the phone or online", according to steiner. The online counseling is especially helpful because you can register at any time of day from home – even if you don’t have much time for phone calls or a visit to the counseling center during the day between your job, your children, and your job. "We are always there for children, young people and their parents and their concerns", promises steiner.


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