About Guidance and Counseling Guidance and counseling is something that appears to be critically missing in our school system. In places like the US, UK and Canada, guidance and counseling is intricately woven into the educational system. It becomes all the more poignant when viewed in the context of pressures, issues, challenges and problems that youth and students of today have to cope with.
A comprehensive guidance and counseling program includes four components. These components encompass services and programs ranging from school-wide developmental programs and services (primary prevention) to individual interventions, which include counseling, team consultation, and referral to specialized student services and community resources (secondary and tertiary prevention).
The four components are: 1. Counseling 2. Prevention 3. Developmental Guidance Education 4. Consultation, Planning and Coordination
Benefits of guidance and counseling
1. Support students in school, classes and exam questions. 2. Guide students in the quest for internships, part time and full time employment. 3. Share knowledge about any sector and the possible opportunities. 4. Support students in discovering themselves and conducting SWOT analysis. 5. Offer answers to questions about academic life. 6. Guide students in where and how they can find answers to their questions about business in general. 7. Guide candidates on life, relationships and other issues 8. Help candidates in discovering themselves 9. Help them in discovering the reasons for some of their problems 10. Help proffer solutions to some non medical problems 11. Help in adjustment and self discovery
Now what are some of the common concerns needing guidance and counseling? Here are some common concerns:
Personal Issues • Crisis situations when life gets overwhelming (including feeling suicidal and all other mental-health emergencies) • Adjustment to college life • Emotional distress (anxiety, stress, grief, depression) • Low self-esteem - feelings of inadequacy • Relationship issues (family, pre-marital, marital, friends, roommates) • Issues of past, recent, or present physical, emotional, or sexual abuse • Past or recent losses or trauma • Academic challenges • Spiritual challenges • Body image, eating, and nutritional concerns • Eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia) • Addictions (alcohol, substances, pornography) • dating, • roommates, • friendships, • co-workers • And many other unique issues specific to each person
Family issues • Marriage expectations • Personality issues • Communication • Conflict resolution • Financial management • Leisure activities • Sexual issues/expectations • Children and parenting • Family and friends • Relationship roles • Spiritual beliefs • Conflict with parents and/or other family members • Issues with in-laws • Parenting concerns • Issues pertaining to a family member living with a chronic mental/physical illness • Family stress • Divorce and remarriage, step-parents
Critical issues in counseling 1. Assure the candidate of strict confidentiality. In a manner consistent with ethical standards and the laws of the State of the country, assure the student and client that no client information will be released on or off campus or to anybody whatsoever without informed written consent of the client, in order to maintain confidentiality. The only exceptions been as required by law. Such exceptions include:
a. When you believe that the candidate is at high risk for suicide or
b. when you hear a direct, specific homicidal threat from a client to another person.
The counselor must explain these exceptions to the candidate prior to treatment disclosures
2. Counseling is not a one off affair. To be very successful, you may have to see the candidate again, at least as a follow up.
3. In order to best support student responsibility, encourage continuity of counseling treatment even when the candidate fails to show up on scheduled appointments.
4. You need to design and get the candidate to complete a set of forms which will give you a background on his person and put you in position to offer the best counsel and advice. Some of these forms are: a. Information and consent form. b. Intake Questionnaire c. The confidentiality agreement/ notice d. And perhaps, the notice of privacy practice where necessary.
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QUALITIES AND FACTORS IN COUNSELING
In conducting guidance and counseling sections, you first need forms which has to be completed by the students and candidates prior to the counseling section. The essence of this is to give you some background information and knowledge concerning the candidate, his family, his experiences, his fears and belief and circumstances that had confronted him/her in the past now influencing his behavior.
As the counselor, you have to go through and analysis the information prior to the section proper.
During the guidance and counseling section you must: 1. Be Friendly 2. Not express fear or anxiety 3. Never speak in a harsh tone 4. Be conversational 5. Ask leading and viewpoint questions 6. Be a good listener and speak less 7. Let the candidate do most of the talking 8. Not appear better or condemnatory of the candidate 9. Not express shock at whatever the candidate had informed you about. 10. Assure the candidate of confidentiality of all information 11. Make good use of eye contact and nod as the candidate speaks 12. Speak reassuringly to the candidate 13. Follow a good sense of morals and ethics 14. Be truly genuine
Other factors to take into account when counseling: 1. An effective and competent counselor will believe his candidates and clients. 2. Share information about the process of counseling and change. 3. Fully respect your feelings, beliefs, and values. 4. Acknowledge gender, culture, and religious differences. 5. Encourage you to do things that you feel are helpful in your healing journey. 6. Encourage you to build relational support outside of counseling by connecting with supportive and respectful people and groups. 7. Offer you new skills to help you move towards your goals. 8. Invite your feedback regarding the ways in which counseling isn't helpful. 9. Make it easy for you to discuss any concerns you have about counseling. 10. Not force or pressure you into doing anything you don't want to do. 11. Assist you in deciding when counseling
The main questions you should consider as a counselor are. 1. Do you have the necessary experience and personal qualities that your clients would want from a counselor? 2. Do you adhere to a professional code of conduct? 3. Is there a complaints system of redress for your clients if you break that code? 4. Do you have recognized academic qualifications in counseling?
The Bare Essentials A counselor must be able to show a positive, unconditional regard for the well-being of a client, if a successfully progressive counseling relationship is to be formed. It is the basis from which a client can explore their thoughts, feelings and experiences, and develop an understanding and acceptance of their emotions. Without this unconditional support a client will feel inhibited and unable to express their true personality, difficulties and emotions.
Whilst maintaining a professional focus a counselor must be able to show a genuine openness, within the counseling relationship. A client must feel comfortable, safe and confident that confidentiality will be maintained at all times, and also that the counselor is committed to helping, encouraging and supporting.
Empathic understanding, and the ability to see things from the client’s perspective is also important, as is the counselor’s ability to demonstrate an investment of their time and full attention.
How to Show Warmth and Understanding Showing empathy and genuineness encourages a client to relax and trust. It also encourages client self-disclosure. Maintaining warmth and understanding, without being judgmental, provides the client with a comfortable foundation within the counseling relationship. A counselor should also show their own personality and ensure there is a friendly atmosphere and attitude, in order for the counseling relationship to grow.
Conveying warmth through body language – using posture, maintaining eye contact and personal space – encourages a client to trust. Counselors should also be aware of the way they speak – the tone of voice, speed of speech and delivery – as the words used should be in agreement with the way their body language provides reassurance.
Warmth should be handled with care however, as a client who exhibits feelings of unease, distance and mistrust may feel initially threatened by sympathetic behavior.
Demonstrating Positive Regard Valuing and respecting a client is of vital importance in a counseling relationship. Demonstrating a positive acceptance of the client is the key to encouraging interaction and disclosure. Unconditional positive regard creates an opportunity to explore change, and provides a client with acceptance and genuine caring.
A counselor must not judge in any way. This may be difficult in some situations, but is the basis of a counseling relationship built on trust. Accepting a client shows the individual that you value them and are there to support them through the counseling process, regardless of their weaknesses, negativity or unfavorable qualities. – Enoma guidance and counseling
MORE ON STUDENT COUNSELING. The American School Counseling Association (ASCA) outlines more requirements for counselors. ASCA’s position statement, The Professional School Counselor and School Counseling Preparation Programs, states that school counselors should articulate and demonstrate an understanding of:
I-A-1 The organizational structure and governance of the American educational system as well as cultural, political and social influences on current educational practices I-A-2. The organizational structure and qualities of effective school counseling program that aligns with the ASCA National Model I-A-3. Impediments to student learning and use of advocacy and data-driven school counseling practices to act effectively in closing the achievement/opportunity gap I-A-4. Leadership principles and theories I-A-5 Individual counseling, group counseling and classroom guidance programs ensuring equitable access to resources that promote academic achievement; personal, social and emotional development; and career development including the identification of appropriate post-secondary education for every student I-A-6. Collaborations with stakeholders such as parents and guardians, teachers, administrators and community leaders to create learning environments that promote educational equity and success for every student I-A-7. Legal, ethical and professional issues in pre-K—12 schools I-A-8. Developmental theory, learning theories, social justice theory, multiculturalism, counseling theories and career counseling theories I-A-9. The continuum of mental health services, including prevention and intervention strategies to enhance student success
I-B: ABILITIES AND SKILLS An effective school counselor is able to accomplish measurable objectives demonstrating the following abilities and skills. I-B-1. Plans, organizes, implements and evaluates a school counseling program aligning with the ASCA National Model I-B-1a. Creates a vision statement examining the professional and personal competencies and qualities a school counselor should possess I-B-1b. Describes the rationale for a comprehensive school counseling program I-B-1c. Articulates the school counseling themes of advocacy, leadership, collaboration and systemic change, which are critical to a successful school counseling program. I-B-1d. Describes, defines and identifies the qualities of an effective school counseling program I-B-1e. Describes the benefits of a comprehensive school counseling program for all stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers, administrators, school boards, department of education, school counselors, counselor educators, community stakeholders and business leaders I-B-1f. Describes the history of school counseling to create a context for the current state of the profession and comprehensive school counseling programs I-B-1g. Uses technology effectively and efficiently to plan, organize, implement and evaluate the comprehensive school counseling program I-B-1h. Demonstrates multicultural, ethical and professional competencies in planning, organizing, implementing and evaluating the comprehensive school counseling program I-B-2. Serves as a leader in the school and community to promote and support student success I-B-2a. Understands and defines leadership and its role in comprehensive school counseling programs I-B-2b. Identifies and applies a model of leadership to a comprehensive school counseling program I-B-2c. Identifies and demonstrates professional and personal qualities and skills of effective leaders I-B-2d. Identifies and applies components of the ASCA National Model requiring leadership, such as an advisory council, management system and accountability I-B-2e. Creates a plan to challenge the non-counseling tasks that are assigned to school counselors I-B-3. Advocates for student success I-B-3a. Understands and defines advocacy and its role in comprehensive school counseling programs I-B-3b. Identifies and demonstrates benefits of advocacy with school and community stakeholders I-B-3c. Describes school counselor advocacy competencies, which include dispositions, knowledge and skills I-B-3d. Reviews advocacy models and develops a personal advocacy plan I-B-3e. Understands the process for counselling