Rev. Dr. Mervyn Fernando, who inspired the formation of a National Association serving counsellors, can easily be named the ‘Father’ of Counselling in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka National Association of Counsellors (SRILNAC) was formally inaugurated at the Family Studies and Services Institute at Paul VI Center, Front Street, Colombo on the 9th September, 1989, with the following objectives in view:
Anniversaries should be occasions for both looking forwards and looking backwards. SRILNAC can claim the distinction of being the first ever organization of counsellors in Sri Lanka. As such it has given an organizational profile to the Profession, even though in a small way. But beginnings are always small and fragile. The pathfinders have to literally “grope” their way in uncharted territory. The going has no doubt been difficult and often discouraging. But SRILNAC has stuck to its task with determination all these years. The office-bearers down the years deserve our warm praise for what they have done to keep the organization going with much sacrifice on their part.
Looking forward, SRILNAC must engage itself in a task of consolidation. The profession of counselling is still building up in Sri Lanka. The recognition and support it deserves is not yet in keeping with the need. One critical task of SRILNAC in the future would be to create an awareness of that need, particularly in schools. It is a pity that in these times of rapid socio-cultural change, youth are left to fend for themselves, with hardly any help from parents, who themselves feel lost and helpless in a new and unaccustomed social environment, so different from the one they grew up.
Another concern of SRILNAC should be the “standardization” of counsellor training. Perhaps in the early stages a certain “Laissez-faire” situation was inevitable. But now I feel it is time to ensure that all training facilities conform to certain standards, which will ensure adequate competence of those who graduate from them, it is both immoral and unjust to let incompetent “Counsellors” loose on unsuspecting clients. The outcome is not difficult to imagine.
So, there is no dearth of work for SRILNAC in the years ahead.
|Rev. Fr. Dr. Mervin Fernando||1985-1988|
|Mr. Godwin Mendis||1988-1991|
|Ms. Ann Abayasrkara||1991-1993|
|Brig. George D. Fernando||1993-1995|
|Ms. Priya Kodippily||1995-1997|
|Sr. Jenet Nethiasinghe||1997-2000|
|Ms. Manel Jayatunge||2001-2003|
|Prof. Charles Senerath||2004-2006|
|Mr. Nilu Fernandopulle||2007-2009|
|Ms. Nandhini Wijayaratnam||2010-2011|
|Mr. Nilu Fernandopulle||2012-2013|
|Rev. K. J. Arulraja||2014-2015|
|Mr. Nilu Fernandopulle||2016-2017|
|Mr. Neville Thilakaratne||2018-2020|
|President||Sr. Janet Nethisinghe|
Mr. J. Neville Thilakaratne
Mr. Allan David
|Secretary||Ms. Sakuni Weerasinghe|
|Asst. Secretary||Mrs. Kusumanjali Thilakaratne|
|Treasurer||Ms. Judith Jayaratnam|
|Asst. Treasurer||Mr. Anil Gomis|
Mrs. Carol Gooneratne A.
Mrs. Beenuka Wickramatunge
Mrs. Jeevani Seneviratne
Mrs. Pavithra Illepperuma
Mrs. Nirmali De Silva
Ms. Shakila Abeysekara
Ms. Fahria Larief