A visit by the Prince and Princess of Wales to our organisational member Brynawel Rehabilitation Centre has helped shine a light on the benefits of counselling.

The royal couple visited the centre near Pontyclun in south Wales to hear first-hand about the work it does to support people struggling with the effects of drug and alcohol addiction.

During the visit, Their Royal Highnesses talked to clients and their families about their journeys, and met with staff at the centre.

They announced their Royal Foundation will work with Brynawel Rehabilitation Centre and Life at No27 – a horticultural therapy and counselling provider – to create a set of therapy allotments and gardens.

Mental health

Paul Doster, a BACP member and head of therapy at Brynawel, said: “It was an honour they chose to come here.

“The energy in the staff team was amazing. It’s done wonders for all aspects of the work we do and the good that’s going to come from this for years to come is something else.”

He added: “It puts mental health to the fore again and talks about the importance of therapy and counselling and different ways of working with people.

“Prince William spoke to some of the people who have been through the programme and now come back as volunteers and are training as peer mentors.

“They had their families with them and he was interested in their journeys through the process, how they’d found the therapy, how life had been before coming in.

“He spent some time speaking to family members about the changes they’d noticed and how life was now they’d been through the programme.

“There was a genuine interest from both of them, which was fantastic.”

Informed, engaged, empathic

Sue Gwyn, the centre’s executive director, said she was “blown away” by the royal couple.

“I was taken aback at how genuine they were,” she said. “They were so well informed, so engaged, so empathic."

Sue added: “We were talking about the Princess’s interest in early years and building resilience in families and childhood.

“It was lovely. A really lovely day."

Picture credit: Kensington Palace/Brynawel Rehabilitation Centre