The Guidance Counselling Service encompasses:
This is an interactive learning process between counsellor and student, whether individual or group, which approaches, in a holistic way, personal, educational and/or vocational issues. The availability of a counselling service can support individual students inside/outside the classroom context, the pastoral and the disciplinary structures in the school.
Personal Counselling – is an interactive process, which facilitates meaningful understanding of the self and environment and/or clarification of goals and values and behaviour.
Group Counselling – Is a term used to describe types of counselling for more than two people. In group counselling members listen to, support and challenge each other and thus, learn to be open, constructive, assertive and to experience how others see them.
It is essential that a counselling service within the school operates in collaboration with processes within the school, which promotes the wellbeing of the school, particularly pastoral and disciplinary teams. Working within the requirements of The Institute of Guidance Counsellors Code of Ethics for legitimate practice, ensures that the service is properly supervised and monitored so that the student needs are placed at the centre of all considerations and interventions.
The Guidance Counsellor,along with designated colleagues in student support i.e. Religion, SPHE, Year Heads, Class Tutors, TY facilitate and engage in developmental programmes designed to enhance personal/social skills, self-awareness, decision-making skills, planning and promotion of wellbeing.
In the area of educational development, programmes include subject/course/level choices, motivation and learning and study skills/exam techniques. In vocational development the programmes create employment opportunity and sector awareness.Educational pathways and training courses at all relevant levels of the QQI are presented in class .
The Guidance Counsellor recognises and supports students’ right to confidentiality.A contract is established at the outset of any given session that confidentiality can be maintained within certain parameters. Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed e.g. in the case of abuse, bullying, and risk to another student’s life. In counselling the student, the counsellor is clear in her outlining of such considerations. To summarise, students meeting with the Guidance Counsellor are made aware of the following:
a) Matters discussed are confidential between Guidance Counsellor and student except where the student herself or another person is at risk.
b)Any information which highlights that the student or another person is in danger would necessitate a seeking of support outside of the counselling session.
The Guidance Counsellor recognises her obligation to uphold the code of ethics of the IGC. Her primary focus is the welfare of the student and she is ethically bound to act in the best interest of the student. The counsellor must act within the law and within the ethical guidelines as outlined by her profession. She is mindful of the legal and ethical responsibilities of her work. Additionally the Guidance Counsellor is ethically obliged to keep abreast of personal, educational and vocational developments with the aim of continuing personal and professional development so as to maximise best provision of service to the student.
Information is an essential remit within the role of the Guidance Counsellor.As such, the gathering, organisation and dissemination are all key aspects of her day to day. The ultimate goal of the above is to provide as much information as possible on the widest range of options open to the student.
Whole School Guidance
The Guidance Counsellor is part of an educational team and pastoral structure which includes subject teachers, class tutors, year heads, deputy-principal, principal, specialist teachers P.E. Religion, Learning Support.
In conjunction with staff and management, she will be supportive of pastoral teams and policies which attempt comprehensively to deal with in-school issues e.g. anti-bullying, substance abuse, crisis response, bereavement and child protection.
Referral is a two way process. The Guidance Counsellor receives referrals may refer and she may refer outwards. Referrals may come from any of the parties in education. Counselling is a co-created collaborative venture and as such students attending need to be willing to work with the Guidance Counsellor for meaningful outcomes.
In consultation with the relevant parties – parents, principal, staff, the Guidance Counsellor may also refer a student to an external, appropriately qualified professional. A legitimate referral (one made with the received permission of the necessary people e.g. parents) may occur after the Guidance Counsellor has made an informed decision that the student’s situation requires assistance beyond her professional training. Assistance for students may be sought for learning difficulties, substance abuse, addiction, bereavement and personal crisis from agencies such as the student’s GP, NEPS, Educational Welfare Officer ,CAMHS or counselling/psychotherapy practices.
* Parents must be informed of and permission sought for a referral by the Guidance Counsellor to an external agency.
Psychological and educational assessments/tests are useful insofar as they provide information for the Guidance Counsellor and others for whom it is relevant. information is helpful in predicting academic and occupational performance, classifying ability, and gauging support required .In returning the results of a student’s assessment, the Guidance Counsellor is aware of the confidentiality and sensitivities of the student and is mindful of each individual.The Guidance Counsellor may be involved in the administering of Personality tests, Aptitude tests, Interest inventories, school based exam results and state exam results.
Records of counselling sessions , in line with best practice, are kept to a minimum. Student’s privacy is of paramount importance and as such, personal notation is used when records are stored.
ACCOUNTABILITY AND EVALUATION
The Guidance Counsellor is keenly aware of her obligations to management, staff and students alike and recognises that she is responsible for the school guidance service throughout the school. The counsellor discusses with and informs both staff and students of relevant information in the world of careers and education.
INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
Parents are welcome to visit the guidance counsellor. An appointment is advised and can be arranged by phoning the office in school . Alternatively, a phone call from parents over a concern can be accommodated quickly. Our Twitter account is updated daily with the most current developments in education, careers and wellbeing.
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