Factors Affecting Counseling Services in Social Service Structures Providing Support to Women Who Are Victims of Violence: A Qualitative Research in Greece
This qualitative study examines the factors that affect counseling services in structures aimed to provide support to women who are victims of violence. What has created the need to investigate the above issues is the increase in events of violence against women in Greece, and the subsequent development of relevant support and accommodation structures. Despite the clinical experience accumulated, research data from Greece are incomplete. The main research question concerns the factors that affect counseling in violence counseling structures. The participants were 10 professional counselors employed in violence counseling structures. The research data were collected through semi-structured interviews and their analysis followed the interpretative phenomenological method. The results designate two main axes: the personal and that of the others. The main categories of factors on the “personal” axis highlighted the importance of prior as well as continuing training for the counselor’s work with the specific population; the crucial role of experience, which is characterized as dense and very rich; and the necessary presence of unfailing supervision. Regarding the axis of “the others,” the main categories that emerged are cooperation with colleagues—in the light of interdisciplinarity as well as support—and cooperation with the local authorities and the central responsible body, as an important determinant of the operation of the structure. The results are discussed on the basis of the factors’ importance and of possible implications for finding solutions.