An investigation to examine the construction of meanings, attitudes and perceptions of HIV/AIDS among lay and professional counsellors in KwaZulu Natal [sic].
Short of a medical breakthrough, counselling is the only available tool to deal with the loss, pain and suffering that AIDS patients' experience. Studies have suggested that although there is a change in society's perception to AIDS, there still exist some negative attitudes and perceptions that occur among a variety of groups, which includes the health care workers. This study aims to investigate the construction of meaning, perceptions, and attitudes of HIV/AIDS among professional and lay counsellors . The researcher will compare lay and professional counsellors' attitudes, perceptions and meanings of AIDS. The Social Representational Theory was used to provide an understanding of how these metaphors and attitudes emerged and still exist. Qualitative methodology was used, which allowed the researcher to gather in - depth data necessary for the study of psychological issues. The study made use of non- probability purposive sampling. Data were collected by use of in-depth interviews. A pilot study was conducted to 'test' the interview schedule. Three lay and three professional , female counsellors were recruited for the interviews. All the interviews were tape recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis was used to analysis the data. Essentially, the data reflected that there were many emergent metaphors which counsellors used that were similar to the general population. At times, these metaphors impacted on the counselling process. The findings of this study made recommendations in terms of more research around this area is needed, training programmes should include training in peer supervision and it should include more practical exposure to real situations.