Facebook Pinterest YouTube  Email us     


contact us | request a call back | brochure | reviews | login



Psychology, Counselling and Social Work in South Africa



Work with social workers who provide Counselling services to people in need of support owing to emotional problems. These can include marital and family stress, depression, mid-life crisis, divorce counselling, HIV-related counselling, conflict management and parenting.

The Society (FAMSA - Families South Africa) is very much family orientated, serving to help resolve family problems and disintegration. It is one of a chain of Centres throughout South Africa. You'll learn a lot about all the areas of counselling and social work that they deal with.

This is Work Experience/volunteering rather than an Internship.

List of ALL PROJECTS in South Africa CARE Projects in South Africa BOOK NOW  

Start Dates Available all year round (except between 15 December and 15 January), you choose your start date
Duration From 4 weeks to 6 months, subject to visa requirements
Requirements You should be studying, or be qualified in, Social Work, Psychiatry, Psychology or Counselling, or a related subject. Minimum age 21. 
Price Full Price List
What's included Arranging your program,
Full pre-departure support and assistance,
Payment Protection insurance

Meeting you at the nearest airport
Transfer to your accommodation
Transport to and from your project
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support.
Certificate of Completion
What's not included Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas (if a visa is required), Return transfer to airport.
Who can do this Project? This project is open to all nationalities and all ages over 21.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in gaining overseas work experience.
Also suitable for anyone just wanting to study abroad and learn about Social Work practices overseas.
Please see "Requirements" above.


  • An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten adventure into Africa and the many diverse cultures in South Africa

  • The enormous satisfaction of helping people and knowing that you made a difference to them.

  • New skills, more confidence, a greater understanding of a different culture, invaluable personal and professional development.

  • An entry on your CV or résumé that will put you head and shoulders above most others in the job market.

  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!

"The volunteers we receive through Travellers Worldwide add a special dimension to our activities. Some come with the enthusiasm and youth of being newly qualified and others with a wealth of experience, having practiced and worked for many years." Excerpt from Project AGM Minutes

Book this Internship

Social Work with Families in South Africa with Travellers Worldwide

Your role and the types of work/activities you are given may vary and may depend on certain factors such as what’s required at the time that you're there. You'll work as part of the team and may spend various periods of time during the day counselling adults and couples, families, groups, adolescent groups and teenagers.

You'll assist in some or all of the following services:

You could assist with many areas of counselling, from marriage preparation and enrichment, relationships, individual, family, re-marriage and divorce counselling and mediation. You'll assist the Counsellors in group counselling (not one-to-one counselling). Due to the nature of the work, counsellors themselves have to undergo compulsory counselling and regular evaluations.

Trauma Support
This can take place either at the FAMSA offices or at the local police station. FAMSA provides a 24 hour/7 days a week trauma counselling program to victims of crime and violence for the South African Police Force at the local police stations. Other forms of trauma support you might be asked to assist with are sickness, accident, rape, death/loss, family violence and abuse, and HIV/AIDS counselling.

FAMSA offers various forms of training that you can get involved with, from basic counselling skills, debriefing, group work training, stress management, life skills, personal growth and domestic violence. These are aimed at local volunteers to give them the tools to be able to assist with counselling

Parenting support
Counselling is often given to parents to help them deal with difficult behaviour in children, assisting them with effective parenting skills training and addressing specific problems in groups and individuals. Please note that only adults are counselled, but children can be referred to Child Psychologists in the area, if needed.

FAMSA runs various different programmes giving support and assistance to groups and individuals. These include the Life Skills program and the “Women in Need’ program. These are programmes for men and women which are aimed at starting up support groups that can self-sustain victims of domestic violence to enable the victims to generate an income and thus become self-supporting. This can be in the form of a cooking or sewing group, for example.

There is also a Prison program that has been set up where counsellors go into the Knysna prison and offer group counselling and assistance. They try to impart life skills and information to the prisoners, thus assisting in rehabilitating and empowering them.

A Parole Counselling program is also being set up to assist ex-prisoners who are re-entering society. It is aimed at helping them to enter the job market and thus hopefully staying away from a life of crime.

Fundraising: If you have any skills in fundraising, you'll be welcomed with even wider arms! As with any work of this type, funds to support it are always difficult to come by, so any help that can be enlisted is always very deeply appreciated.




07:00 Wake up, wash and get ready
07:30 Breakfast
07:50 Leave for project
08:00 Arrive at project
12:00 Lunch (this can differ day to day)
12:30 Back to work
16:00 Finish for the day at your project
16:30 Arrive home, shower, relax
18:30 Dinner
19:00 Relax , watch DVD’s, read, contemplate the meaning of life


You may also have the opportunity to provide help and support to the local community through the various afternoon activities we have to offer. This is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the African culture, but most importantly to give a caring hand to the local community. The activities could range from helping out at;

  • The Children's Home:Make the afternoons fun and exciting for these lovely children by playing games, helping them with homework and just being there to give them the attention that they so appreciate.
  • After-school drama or sports - Take some time out after school to set up after school sports or drama clubs, the children love it and it's a great way to get to know them better in a relaxed and fun environment. If you'd like to set up a drama or sports club, please let us know when you apply so that we can arrange it with the school before you arrive.)
  • Other community projects  - Past volunteers have helped to paint the outside of a crèche that was in desperate need of a lift. The crèche is now looking very cheerful with brightly coloured walls. A jungle gym was donated to this orphanage and volunteers also helped to put it together for the crèche too! There may be other similar projects available at the time you're there that you might want to participate in.
  • Township soup kitchen: On days that your school roster might allow you to finish a little early, our volunteers sometimes help at a local township soup kitchen. The soup kitchen is open on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The project may possibly be extended to involve local unemployed people, or street kids, or even elderly people or children's orphanages. These are just a few ideas and it may be that some volunteers will have more ideas that will help to make this project a worthwhile one that will benefit the community for a long time to come.

Counselling Room

Street Collecting for funds to support the Social Work with Families in South Africa with Travellers Worldwide
Street collecting for funds to support FAMSA in their social work with local families and children


The volunteer house in Knysna is within walking distance of the town, yet set against a natural green belt. The bird life is prolific and often the local Vervet monkey troop comes to visit to entertain the volunteers with their antics. The sunset views from the top balcony of the volunteer house of the Knysna lagoon are beautiful and great way to relax after a day working at your placement or to catch up on your tan in the summer. See photo on right-hand side.

The house is large and spacious and also has a self-contained flat  downstairs for couples and families. y volunteer placements. The bedding in the two same sex dorms and the towels in their ensuite bathrooms are changed regularly every Friday by our much loved cleaner, Pretty, and there is plenty of cupboard space to store your clothing.

Facilities include a kitchen kitted out for cooking, dining area, a few bathrooms, TV, DVD player, free Wi-Fi, garden and several wooden verandahs.

There is an outside courtyard and garden in the secure grounds where you can have a typical South African barbeque known there as a ‘braai’. Make sure you try the local spicy sausage known as ‘boerewors’ and the Karoo lamb chops are to die for on a ‘braai’, but if fish is more to your taste then a fish ‘braai’ with South African ‘snoek’ is a must.


You'll be given a food budget which will cover your basic essentials (but not extras like alcohol, snacks and eating out). The kitchen has all the cooking amenities that you might need to take advantage of preparing meals with some of the great seafood, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables South Africa has to offer.

There are supermarkets and local shops where you'll do your food shopping.

There are plenty of excellent restaurants within walking distance that offer the most incredible local and international cuisine which our volunteers rave about. Knysna is also famous for its oysters and even has an annual Oyster Festival where everyone eats and drinks far too much!

The waterfront and marine is beautiful and full of restaurants and cafes with cuisine that ranges from breakfast, coffees, cakes and snacks, through to sumptuous meals and various different nationality menus.


Volunteer house in Knysna

View from the house overlooking the lagoon

Got any questions? Please email us: info@travelersworldwide.org

Assist the staff in counselling families and adults in the beautiful coastal resort town of Knysna. Any person from any type of background could need assistance and counselling, regardless of background. The counsellors help people from Knysna’s more wealthy areas as well as from the very large disadvantaged township surrounding the town.

The FAMSA (Families South Africa) Center's counselling programmes include a wide range of methods and techniques by which clients are helped :

  • Resolve personal and inter-personal problems

  • Select and adopt more constructive attitudes and skills of relating

  • Enhance their functioning in significant relationships and other interpersonal transactions

The Center's motto is ‘We believe in every person’s potential to solve their own problems. We give support and guidelines for optimal functioning.’ They have centres all around South Africa and in Knysna they are supported by the Department of Social Development, the Knysna Municipality, the Lotto and various members of the public and businesses.

The services provided by the Center can be split up into five areas:

  • Counselling,

  • Trauma support,

  • Training,

  • Parenting support and

  • Various programmes that they run.

All counselling is done by appointment only and takes place in the office at the Center. The appointments last for an hour each.

If you're qualified and have experience, the Center would be especially delighted to have you as there is a massive shortage of qualified Psychologists, Counsellors and Social Workers in South Africa, so your assistance would be very valuable indeed!

Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular program (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

As with all our destinations, the culture and heritage is different to what you're used to ... which, although one of the most exciting aspects of travelling, should be borne in mind.    Self-reliance and independence are highly appreciated in all our destinations and will help you to make the most of this wonderful opportunity! 


On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country: When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of our South African staff who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

"The area is beautiful and travelling is easy. The house we stay in is lovely and the Travellers workers are such kind, loving people which really makes it feel like a home away from home. What with all the other volunteers and the Travellers staff, it really does feel like our own little family ... well, our own very big family, I suppose!!" Luke Brennan


Feedback on Care Projects in South Africa

Volunteering in South Africa, volunteers on a trip

Photo Galleries
Knysna Diary
Wildlife Rehabilitation Diary
Wildlife Expedition News!


While on your placements, you can also book some Optional Add-Ons to make the most of your Travel Experience. The most popular choices are the safari trips from Cape Town and many volunteers use these as their means of travel to arrive at their project in Knysna..

Wildlife Safaris & Adventure Tour Combos
4-Day Surf Safari and Wildlife Adventure
1-Day Adventure Activities in Cape Town
1-Week Wildlife Rehabilitation

1-Week Whales Sharks Dolphins
Cage Dive with Sharks

This project can also be combined with any of our other projects in South Africa, or you could even do a second project in a different region of the country, thus doubling your adventure and enjoyment!


The best advice you'll get from us is to try to see some of the country while you're in South Africa. It's big (huge!) and each different region is exciting and very, very beautiful. Cape Town is probably the most beautiful city in the world (I can say that, I grew up there :-)  KwaZulu-Natal comes a very close second, albeit very different. Knysna is where South Africans go on vacation, which gives you some idea of how lovely the region is. When you lie on the beach and watch dolphins jumping the waves, you'll think you're in Paradise.

is approximately 500km from the beautiful capital city of Cape Town  and voted South Africa’s favourite town 4 years in a row! Its mountainous backdrop, impressively sized estuary and indigenous forests really give the town a natural feel to it. Although it still has that ‘small-town’ feel, Knysna is growing rapidly, and has all the amenities you could ask for such as banks, hotels, internet café’s, cinemas and shopping malls.

About 20-30 minutes' drive away from Knysna you'll find Plettenberg Bay (better known simply as Plett), which is a bit smaller than Knysna, but equally stunning.  Its' pure white beaches stretch as far as the eye can see and there is a lot to do, from whale and dolphin watching, to hiking trails and awesome nightlife.

The Garden Route is famous for all sorts of activities from adrenalin sports such as bungee jumping, skydiving and shark cage diving to more relaxed pursuits such as hiking, quad biking in the forest or visiting one of the many animal sanctuaries in the area. Your local Travellers liaison will be happy to assist you in finding interesting things to do and places to see so make the most of it!

Knysna nestles on the banks of a beautiful lagoon in the heart of the ‘Garden Route’ of South Africa. It is surrounded by a natural paradise of lush indigenous forests, tranquil lakes and golden beaches, making it a real natural wonderland.

Knysna is a vibrant town, buzzing with creativity and energy, and the pulse of good music. It's a place where the you can enjoy the mellow atmosphere of street cafes, watching the world go by. The main street is very leafy with trees along the pavements and it has a wonderful vacation atmosphere with sun umbrellas everywhere.

Most cafes have outdoors seating areas overlooking the street or on the pavements, with colourful sun umbrellas - a perfect place to sit with the sun on your face, watching passers-by ambling along, sipping a steamy cappucino or staving off the heat with a cold drink.

Read more about Knysna and its attractions

To read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country, please click here.

Support & Backup: To read about the excellent Support & Backup we provide before you leave and during your program, please click here.

Teach and Care for Children with Autism in Cape Town in South Africa (Ver)
Work in a Center and Hostel for children with Autism, as a classroom and hostel assistant. You may help where children need special attention, or to work with a small group while the teacher works with another group. School work varies with different age groups, but is based on the normal school activities – a great deal of one-to-one attention is needed and children learn basic skills

The Street Kids Project in South Africa Street Kids Project: Social Work / Care in a Youth Development Center in Knysna, South Africa (Sineth)
Helping out with anything from basic schooling, such as reading or writing, to community projects and life skills lessons. Your work will combine many aspects that all help to provide a caring environment where guidance and assessment is offered to children living on the streets and children at risk. The purpose is to prepare the youngssters to re-enter mainstream schooling and domestic home life again. A very worthwile project.