Mrs. Harriet Afriyie-Adjimi is an entrepreneur, a wife, and a mother of three, who has been counselling since the year, 2000. She started as a peer counsellor in school when she realized she could make a positive impact in the lives of her peers. Mrs. Afriyie-Adjimi always had the passion for counselling and knew she wanted to be a counsellor way back in Wesley Girls’ High School, so much so that she sought higher education for her dream to come true.
Having obtained a Masters degree in Guidance and Counselling, she’s been counselling marriage couples since 2008.
Weddors visited her at one of her shops, where she runs a boutique and weight loss consult, and interacted with her.
WHY SHOULD SOMEONE SEE A PROFESSIONAL COUNSELLOR?
Counselling is not the same as giving advice – people most often confuse the two. Anybody can give advice but when you talk of counselling, you may need a professional. Ethics like confidentiality, empathy amongst others comes to play. In counselling you are helping someone manage a situation or completely come out of it. When someone finds himself in an unfortunate situation, society is likely to be quick to judge and make the person feel more uncomfortable. Counselling creates that warmth and assuring environment to help the person overcome. You just do not get the same results when all you do is to seek advice from people.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD COUPLES SEEK COUNSELLING?
You should be able to see a counsellor from time to time and talk about various issues and especially how you can improve upon your relationships. Once you feel the need to go for counselling, go ahead. I think we should open up more and not keep things to ourselves. It can also be viewed as a preventive measure and we should not see a counsellor only when we have a problem.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ACCOUNTS FOR THE INCREASE IN DIVORCE RATE?
I believe this is tied first of all to the purpose of marriage. People go into marriage for all kinds of reasons. Some people go into marriage with very little information on the subject and others when they are least prepared and under societal pressures. Secondly, the absence of premarital counselling also accounts for this. It is so much trivialised even though it gives knowledge on issues such as conflict resolution, communication and the overall bettering our relationships. I am sure divorce rates would have been higher though if there were no counsellors, looking at the rate now.
YOUR TAKE ON POST-MARITAL COUNSELLING?
Post-marital counselling is not popular in our part of the world. For starters, people see pre-marital counselling as a one-time event, so after marriage, they don’t factor in further counselling – they tend to disregard the idea of post-marital counselling. Life is a process. You don’t know what will come up today or tomorrow. As in the case of taking multivitamins to keep you from falling sick, you do not stop taking them and only go back to them when there is a problem. You don’t have to go and see a doctor only when you’re sick. In the same vein, you should be able to see a counsellor from time to time, not only when there are marital challenges. The more you talk to the right people and interact with them, the more you are kept from marital crises.
HOW CAN WE GET PEOPLE TO BE INTERESTED IN POST-MARITAL COUNSELLING?
Since some people in the first place do not think counselling is important, they carry this notion into marriage. In our society, couples getting married are often advised not to wash their dirty linen in public so when they marry they keep their issues very private even if it’s one that demands urgent attention. It’s rather unfortunate that people go through very stressful moments, and yet, keep to themselves, when just by talking to the right people, they would be relieved. It is not going to be easy but with the proper information out there on the importance of counselling, people’s interest can be whipped up. A lot more education on the subject should be spread on the social media, through documentaries and seminars.
YOUR TAKE ON THE INFLUX OF WHATSAPP MESSAGES ADVISING ON MARRIAGE?
In this our social media world, there is a lot of information out there, some are helpful and others are not, and some writers can be quite opinionated too. Others write based solely on their experiences. You need to have a measure to be able to tell which is sound, so as not to be misguided by the bad ones.
YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
Meeting a client who is very difficult to penetrate. Sometimes people can be very stuck to certain beliefs and opinions that it is difficult to get them to re-orient their thinking in order to help them. Another challenge has got to do with clients who have failed to apply my counsel and have aggravated their situation or landed into further trouble.
WHY FULL-TIME COUNSELLING NOW?
I have always had the passion to go into full-time counselling but there have been distractions that have kept me from being focused on what I wanted to do. I feel a strong need to do so now. I have always wanted to have a counselling unit and then to team up with other counsellors to carry out this all-important assignment, and it is still something I look forward to doing eventually.
WHY MARRIAGE COUNSELLING?
For me, it’s simply passion. My passion has driven me towards this particular direction.
WHEN YOU NEED COUNSELING WHO DO YOU TALK TO?
It is one difficult thing most counsellors face. When you put out certain principles and ask others in certain situation to follow you ask yourself if you would be able to apply them in similar situations. But then, I have mentors and other counsellors that I look up to, so I go to them.
DID ANYBODY INFLUENCE YOUR LOVE FOR COUNSELLING?
Pastor John Egyir Croffett, who was the director for the Counselling and Placement Centre at Legon when I was in Senior High School, has helped me a lot. He mentored me and took me through the peer counselling course. In the field of counselling, I really look up to him.
ADVICE TO COUPLES…
A lot of people do not see the need to seek counselling, but pre-marital counselling is very important as it teaches you how to manage relationships. I would also entreat couples to go for post-marital counselling – with it, you gain a lot of insight into balancing the home and work, conflict resolutions and a whole lot – there is so much to be gained from post-marital counselling that many people are unfortunately missing out on.
You can get in touch with Mrs. Harriet Afriyie-Adjimi…
on Weddors: Mrs. Harriet Adjimi
on Facebook: Harriet Afriyie-Adjimi
on Whatsapp: (+233) 24 468 4078
via Phone: (+233) 24 468 4078
Hosted and Written by Adwoa Boatemaa Boateng
Edited by Akua Ampromfi