Circle Kubatana Tose - Peer Support Group
Circle Kubatana Tose (Shona) means "holding hands together".
After 4 individual sessions on the Friendship Bench, clients are invited to join a CKT circle.
These circles are peer led groups that provide women and men ongoing support. A circle is a safe space for people to come and share how they are coping with life or how they feel they aren't coping with life.
We have found, and research has proven, that it is important to listen to others' experiences and to share your own experiences as part of the recovery journey. There is so much wisdom to be learnt and passed on in lived experiences. When someone shares their problems and how they have overcome them or are managing to cope with them, it serves as hope for a peer who may be going through a similar experience but cannot see that it is possible to get through. Whether that is an HIV positive diagnosis, divorce, a lost child or depression, it helps to connect to someone who understands and who you can relate to. This bring a strong feeling of connection and belonging.
At the weekly meetings, a talking piece goes around which gives people time to share their personal experience without being interrupted and to indicate to the others in the circle that there should be a respectful silence so that the sharing person feels heard and their presence is acknowledged. What is said in a circle stays in the circle, confidentiality is stressed.
Another part of CKT and important for a person’s recovery is behavioural activation. This consists of teaching clients to crochet items such as bags, baskets, mats or purses made from recycled plastic materials, the latter being an income-generating skill for participants. Besides being a form of income it is also found that keeping busy, having purpose and feeling productive helps clients minds become more peaceful, they say when they crochet they 'don't think too much'. This is ideal for what we are working on, which is 'kufungisisa'- thinking too much.
Circles vary in size, age, gender, religion and mental health condition of the participants. When groups meet they are there for a common cause; and that is mental health recovery and support. Clients join the groups and although they start with a 'standard operating procedure' eventually they develop it to suit themselves, they unanimously agree on the time and date to meet, whether they like to open in prayer or prefer a song. It's about getting the people to take ownership and learn group decision making skills.
OPENING THE MIND Kuvhura Pfungwa
This phrase refers to the therapeutic process by which, through asking questions, clients are encouraged to open their minds to identify their problems, choose one to work on, identify a feasible solution, and agree on an action plan guided by the lay health workers.
What to expect on your Friendship Bench visit
When you visit a Friendship Bench you will be met by a lay health workers (Health promoters) who will deliver a problem solving intervention. Their average age is 58 and all are female. All LHW have an average of 8 years of education, their previous training is in home based care for people living with HIV & AIDS, in community follow-up of persons on TB treatment and in delivering community health education and promotion.
The intervention will consists of six sessions of a problem solving therapy package which is delivered on a bench in a discrete area outside of the local clinic. Each session lasts approximately 30–45 min with the first session lasting up to an hour. The 6 sessions will be completed within a 4–6 week period. Below is an expansion of the sessions.