Student Counsellor’s Role:
A Student Counsellor is one who provides a listening ear, a helping hand and unbiased guidance to enable students (and their parents) to help themselves. The student is valued as a person capable of helping themselves. Thus, we provide support and encouragement to them when they feel helpless, confused or when facing difficult circumstances. The help that students would seek pertains to emotional and psychological well-being, the daily struggles of life at a particular stage of life, academic-related issues such as concentration difficulties, lack of motivation, achievement and family related issues.
In the process of offering guidance and therapy to the students, there are certain guidelines I follow while the students approach me. The students between the age range of 3 to 10 years are helped in a different step-by-step process from those between the age range of 11 to 18 years. This principle applies across all the branches of the Bethany High School.
The students aged 10 years and below (below Std. V) can avail of counselling services in the following mandate of order:
A referral from the parents, class teacher or the HOD of the concerned department is required at first. Following that, I would either call for a session with the parents for information-collection about the child or I would go to the class of the child for 2 to 3 observational sessions on a weekly basis so as to understand the child’s behavior and academic performance. It must be noted that the observation takes place through an indirect interaction with the teacher and I would participate in the classroom activity without any intentional interaction with the concerned child. This helps in noting the characteristics of the child in an unpretentious manner.
Thereafter, the parents are offered sessions to bring in a few changes in the child’s home environment through parenting skills education, discussion of family dynamics and roles by both the parents as well as development of a disciplined lifestyle. The teachers are also informed if they need to adopt a different approach in teaching or interaction to cater to the child’s needs.
Follow-up sessions for the parents are conducted with the HOD and class teacher in taking important decisions such as assessments, special educational classes for reading, writing and arithmetic as well as individual therapy for the child.
In essence, the students of Std. V and below are helped through a co-operative effort from the parents, teachers and the counsellor. Only when it is required as per the child’s issue, will individual therapy be provided to the students directly.
The students from age of 11 to 18 years (Std. VI to XII) can avail counselling services in a different manner. The order of the process is as follows:
The students are informed at the beginning of the academic year on the role and significance of counselling, pertaining to various areas of their life. They are informed that they can approach the counsellor directly when they face issues of academic, personal or familial nature.
Referral by the HOD, teacher or parents is an alternate first step by which they avail counselling. They are told that it is not compulsory for them but they are informed of the concern that the individual authority or parent has for them and offered help based on their requirement.
The next step is that students come to the session with a signed permit slip from any subject teacher or their HOD, for safety and informational purposes especially if they come for sessions during class hours.
During the first session, sufficient information is gathered on the student to understand their issue holistically.
Thereafter, they are recommended follow-up sessions on a weekly basis. The no. of sessions would depend on the intensity and complexity of the issues faced. It would also depend on their need and desire to get help.
Sessions are then terminated, providing closure to the student after they have achieved their goals or once suitable and satisfactory coping strategies are developed and found practically useful on a long term basis.
To conclude, I would state the outcome from the counselling process and the progress of the student. For those from Std. VI and above, they are collaboratively helped in knowing and understanding themselves, their family and the school at greater depth. In arriving at solutions or coping methods the student and the counsellor together come up with suggestions or means to improve certain areas of their life. The end result of counselling is in seeing the student more independent and confident of facing life through the thick and thin and enabling them to believe the same.