3.3  The special nature of counselling for family planning

Many people have strong ideas about family planning, but some of the ideas they have may be based on myth or mis-information. You need to be respectful and welcoming when sharing ideas, and demonstrate commitment to the necessary values and principles of family planning.

Try to find out your clients’ views by encouraging them to talk. Do not ask them direct and judgmental questions such as: ‘Are you one of those people who believe that modern family planning is forbidden for religious people?’ Such questions sound critical and can make people feel inferior, or may make them mistrust you because they may ask themselves, ‘Why should I believe this person when all my relatives share my belief?’

Always try to understand, and be sensitive to, cultural and psychological factors that may affect clients in your village adopting and using family planning methods. For example, there may be opposition to the idea of controlling the size of the family from some cultures and religions. Some methods may be unpopular with clients, for example a woman might not like the idea of having to insert a contraceptive into her body before having sex, or a man may think that a condom will take away the pleasure of sex.

  • Can you give clients contraceptives if they do not want to use them?

  • There is no point in supplying a contraceptive if a client will not use it. So you must listen carefully to what you are being told, and be sure to answer all questions clearly and accurately when helping clients in their contraceptive choice.

This means that you should have good scientific knowledge of all the contraceptive methods, and understand the practical part of family planning methods. Also, you should be prepared to answer questions comfortably and without embarrassment in relation to contraceptive myths, rumours, sexuality, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), reproductive and personal concerns.

3.2.2  Skills and characteristics of a counsellor

3.4  Overview of the stages of counselling for family planning