Focused Listening Transforms Lives | The Salvation Army

Focused Listening Transforms Lives

‘Counselling’ is a simple word, yet this Salvation Army service is a rich gift to those who receive it. A gift made possible by your generous donations.

In essence, counselling is the simple act of listening to another person. Yet it means far more because it involves hearing someone’s story. It’s giving that person a safe place to talk without being judged; a space where they’re helped to find their way to the solution of their problems.

Homelessness, debt and addiction are often outward manifestations of something far deeper. According to the Territorial Director of Community Ministries Jono Bell, counselling and financial mentoring are two ways The Salvation Army helps people drill below the surface when their lives become chaotic. ‘Both are key services for the Army this year’ he says.

Counselling helps people overcome difficult and sometimes hugely traumatic experiences that may be holding them back in life, while financial mentoring provides a plan to step into a more secure future. Compassionate listening is crucial in these spaces. 

‘The skills of our counsellors and financial mentors help put people on the road to long-term, sustainable change. I can’t overstate the value of these services in people’s lives,’ says Jono.

We’re pleased to share a few stories ‘from the frontlines’ that demonstrate the transformative impact of your kindness in partnering with The Salvation Army.

Amy* (as told by Kath): Amy was a past client whose sister contacted us with the news that Amy was in  end-of-life care. During our counselling sessions, we’d discussed many times the pain of Amy’s broken relationship with her sister, and particularly Amy’s ex-husband who had broken her heart when he left her.

In the safe place of our final session, Amy was finally able to let go of hurts from years ago and re-establish her broken relationships through forgiveness. This lifted a great weight from Amy, her sister and Amy’s ex-husband. It was wonderful to see the difference that peace made for them all.

Amy passed away the day after her sister contacted us, with her sister and ex-husband at her side.

We want to extend the thanks offered to The Salvation Army at Amy’s funeral, to our donors who helped fund her sessions and for the care and support she received.

Homelessness, debt and addiction are often outward manifestations of something far deeper.

Graham:* The Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on many people’s mental health. Graham is just one of those who has found life hard. From living independently in the community, Graham deteriorated until he was no longer managing his health, welfare or personal hygiene.

He was housed in aged residential care for a time, but while this gave him a roof over his head, it didn’t address his worsening mental state. Sadly, because of Graham’s anti-social behaviour, he was evicted. This history made other institutions unwilling to accept him. Someone like Graham could so easily have been abandoned to fall through the cracks, but The Salvation Army is determined not to let this happen.

We’ve been advocating for Graham to be assessed by a mental health team, as well as bringing agencies together to try to find a new way forward for Graham that gives him security and dignity.

*Not their real names to protect privacy