The Gospel of John refers to a pool
in Jerusalem — the Pool of Bethesda, which translates to ‘house of mercy’ —
as a source with healing powers.
With this in mind, the United
Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands has opened the Bethesda Counselling
Centre in George Town, a non-profit organisation that welcomes all who seek
healing through counselling.
Regardless of faith, tradition,
gender or income, the centre provides affordable, advanced counselling covering
a wide range of needs, including pre-marital and marriage counselling, couples,
family and child counselling, as well as group and individual counselling.
The centre charges a fee set on a
sliding scale structure in order to accommodate everyone.
The Rev. Joseph Crawford, the
centre’s director, uses donations to help those in need who can’t afford the
service on their own.
Mr. Crawford also lends his
expertise in social work to counsel those who suffer from depression or grief.
“People need encouragement, people
need support, especially when the times are financially difficult,” he
said. “Depression has a lot to do with
one’s thinking, what one tells oneself, so our main focus there is to work on
the thinking to encourage people to say positive things to oneself.”
The centre encourages people to
exercise, not to isolate themselves from others, and to try to get involved
with community and religious affairs — to be a part of the wider community.
“Psychotherapy has been referred to
as the talking cure,” he says.
Noting the recent increase in crime
in Cayman, particularly among youth, Mr. Crawford said: “The world has changed;
the entire world. We try our best to encourage young people to look on the
“There is a saying that a storm
doesn’t last forever — it eventually blows itself out,” he says. “And even
though right now it’s difficult finding a job, therefore finding money is
difficult, too. It will change, but they’ll have to be prepared to grasp the
opportunity when it presents itself.”
Mr. Crawford talks about finding
solutions to problems that are occurring worldwide, not just in Cayman.
“While we have advanced in many
areas — economically, technologically — we have sort of fallen back in the
areas of honesty, integrity, truthfulness and trust,” he said. “Something has
definitely happened to the world, but we can’t bemoan the fact that the world
is what it is. We have to find
“That’s not to say that there
aren’t some wonderful kids out there,” he said. “We should try not to lose
sight of that — the wonderful young people who are making great contributions,
but we need to have more like that.”
He said it’s the responsibility of
not just the government, but also the mental health community and the religious
community to assist.
“Young people must be encouraged,”
he said. “They must reach for the stars.”
The Bethesda Counselling Centre, at
68 Mary Street in George Town, is open Monday through Friday, with flexible hours
for the convenience of clients. Call
946.6575 or email [email protected] for more information.