- People of all professions and calibers seek guidance and counseling as a therapeutic intervention for their various needs and pains.
- Guidance and counseling personnel are crucial in supporting students’ academic success.
- Through regular communication and parental involvement, counselors can ensure a coordinated approach to discipline, promoting consistency and reinforcing positive behavior at home and school.
Statistically, there are rising cases of depression, suicidal thoughts and hopelessness due to hard social, economic and political times, educational pressure, high societal expectations, failed ambitions, peer pressure, and relatable pain.
Other related issues include psychological problems, mental health issues, and a wanting perception of self-image.
They incite the thirst for more and more trained professional counselors to offer much-needed guidance and counseling services in schools, hospitals, and communities.
People of all professions and calibers seek guidance and counseling as a therapeutic intervention for their various needs and pains.
Dexterity Life Skills Institute, located in Kisumu, is one of the leading vocational training centers specializing in leadership training, counseling, life skills training for teachers and effective study skills training, all with certification.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in four people globally, at some point in life, will be affected by mental health disorders.
Guidance and counseling services can help individuals struggling with mental health issues by providing support, coping strategies, and referral to appropriate resources.
Recently, St. Marys Ukwala High School management collaborated with the Guidance and Counselling Department for a two-day training for the department’s staff.
Dr. Sylvester Odanga of Kabianga University, who is also the Director of Dexterity Life Skills Institute, guidance and counseling psychology doyen, and effective learning skills coach, facilitated the training.
It involved 11 teachers.
It was a significant step by the institution to have thought it wise to engage a professional in training teachers on issues G&C.
It was noted that teachers were crucial stakeholders in the process of offering guidance and counseling services.
“Teachers, if not everyone, need the courage to face tons of problems of different learners, colleagues, their families and the general society.
This is about attending to psychological, mental, emotional, and sociological domains of everyone they address,” confirmed Dr. Odanga.
Training guidance and counselors
“Before you start a counseling session, remember you are entering into a contract with a client which should remain confidential.
Don’t imagine disclosing your discussion unless your client wants you to, the court of law compels you, or information revealed by the client threatens his/her own life or that of another,” warned Dr. Odanga.
Even as he highlighted the major reasons for the need to have more trained professionals in G&C.
Increasing demand for mental health services
The demand for mental health services has been steadily increasing due to various factors such as increased awareness, changing societal norms, and rising stress levels.
Trained guidance and counseling personnel are needed to address the growing mental health needs of individuals in society.
Training an adequate number of guidance and counseling personnel allows for proactive prevention and early intervention in mental health issues.
By identifying and addressing problems at an early stage, guidance and counseling professionals can help prevent the escalation of issues and reduce the overall burden on mental health services.
Enhancing academic performance
Guidance and counseling personnel play a crucial role in supporting students’ academic success.
They can provide academic guidance, career counseling, study skills development and assistance, addressing learning difficulties.
Trained professionals in this field can improve students’ educational outcomes and overall well-being.
“Counseling is a healing therapy, learners who are talked to professionally are relieved and healing is achieved,” insisted Odanga.
Guidance and counseling personnel are equipped to address various aspects of an individual’s development, including social, emotional, and personal growth.
Through their training, they can provide guidance and support in areas such as interpersonal relationships, self-esteem, decision-making, and life skills development, fostering holistic development in individuals.
Crisis intervention, trauma support
Trained guidance and counseling personnel are essential during times of crisis or trauma.
They can provide immediate support, psychological first aid, and trauma-informed care to individuals and communities affected by traumatic events such as natural disasters, accidents, or acts of violence.
Supportive school, work environments
Adequate training and availability of guidance and counseling personnel in educational institutions and workplaces contribute to creating supportive environments.
They can promote positive mental health, address conflicts, improve communication, and foster a sense of well-being and inclusivity among students and employees.
G&C in schools and society
“Consider observing various indicators of therapy, such signs as insight, altruism, universality, catharsis, interpersonal action, acceptance, guidance, vicarious learning, installation of hope, and self-disclosure will help you evaluate whether a counseling session is therapeutic or not,” he further advised
Guidance and counseling can significantly maintain discipline, personal growth, and stability among secondary school learners and promote social balance at different levels.
Guidance and counseling can help in:
Psychological problems: Stress and anxiety prevalence have been increasing in modern society.
Guidance and counseling can provide individuals with effective stress management techniques, relaxation strategies, and coping skills to improve psychological well-being.
Similarly, depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Counseling interventions, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), have been shown to be effective in treating depression and reducing relapse rates.
Addressing behavioral issues: Guidance and counseling provides a platform for addressing behavioral issues among students and the general society.
Counselors can identify the underlying causes of disciplinary problems, such as bullying, aggression, or defiance, and work with students to develop appropriate coping strategies.
By addressing these issues early on, counselors can help prevent disruptive behavior and foster a positive learning environment.
Emotional support: Secondary school learners often face various emotional challenges, such as stress, anxiety, peer pressure, or family issues.
Guidance and counseling services offer a safe space for students to express their feelings, receive emotional support, and learn effective ways to manage their emotions.
By helping students develop emotional resilience, counselors contribute to their overall well-being, reducing the likelihood of engaging in disruptive behavior.
“It is common for your client to break down in tears and sometimes cry extremely. Professionally, offer them a serviette or tissue, encourage them to cry it out and only continue with the session once they are calm, don’t break down with your client and cry as well.
Crying is therapeutic, a healing process. The grief helps your client through the healing stages,” he added.
Conflict resolution: Conflicts are a natural part of any social setting, including schools. Bullying and violence have detrimental effects on students’ mental and emotional well-being.
Counseling interventions promote conflict resolution, empathy, and non-violent communication, contributing to a safer and more harmonious society.
Guidance and counseling provides students with conflict resolution skills, teaching them how to communicate effectively, empathize with others, and find mutually acceptable solutions.
By equipping students with these skills, counselors empower them to resolve conflicts peacefully, reducing disciplinary issues and fostering social balance within the school community.
Promoting self-awareness and personal development: “Self-awareness is something touching everyone, including counselors. Counselors should identify their pain, experiences, self-image, body image, ideal self as well as self-esteem in order to see their clients through themselves,” Dr. Odanga pointed out.
Through guidance and counseling, students are encouraged to explore their strengths, weaknesses, interests, and values.
This process promotes self-awareness and personal development, helping students make informed decisions and set realistic goals.
When students have a clear sense of purpose and direction, they are more likely to stay focused on their studies and engage in positive behavior, contributing to a disciplined and balanced school environment.
Building positive relationships: Guidance and counseling also emphasize the importance of building positive relationships with peers, teachers, and other school community members.
Counselors can facilitate group activities, workshops, or mentoring programs encouraging collaboration, empathy, and respect.
By fostering positive relationships, counselors contribute to a supportive and inclusive school culture, reducing the likelihood of conflicts and disciplinary issues.
Social problems such as relationship issues are significantly addressed so individuals and couples can address relationship difficulties, improve communication skills, and develop healthier relationship patterns.
Parental involvement: Effective guidance and counseling involve collaborating with parents or guardians.
Counselors can communicate with parents to gain insight into students’ backgrounds, home environments, and any external factors that may influence their behavior.
Through regular communication and parental involvement, counselors can ensure a coordinated approach to discipline, promoting consistency and reinforcing positive behavior at home and school.
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In schools, by addressing behavioral issues, providing emotional support, teaching conflict resolution skills, promoting self-awareness, building positive relationships, and involving parents, counselors contribute to creating a conducive and harmonious environment for students.