The school guidance counselling service is administered by a professionally trained School Guidance Counsellor. The SGC, as part of a school team, focuses primarily on the personal and social, educational and vocational development of his/her students. The aim of the service is to professionally answer the guidance and counselling needs of the student (the central figure in the learning process) in the context of the overall school mission.
The Guidance Counselling Service includes:
Counselling 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. Moreover, the availability of a counselling service can support individual students inside/outside the classroom context, the pastoral and the disciplinary structures in the school. Competitiveness, bullying, social exclusion, family crisis, scholastic under-achievement, abuse, homophobia, peer pressure, substance mis-use and racism are some of the problems which can be assisted with the support of counselling.
Individual Counselling - is an interactive process, which facilitates meaningful understanding of the self and environment and/or clarification of goals and values for future behaviour. Group Counselling - is a broad term covering 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.
Peer Counselling - occurs on limited and well prepared occasions where pupils help and support each other on topics educational and vocational but not necessarily on personal issues. 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 Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and 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 prioritised and their rights protected. The service would be both reflective of, and in line with, the Dept. of Health and Children's National Guidelines for the protection and welfare of Children Children First (1999) and with the recent Dept. of Education and Science Guidelines on Child Protection (2004) DEVELOPMENT The SGC along with other specialised teachers i.e. Religion, SPHE, Year Heads, Class Tutors, TY and LCVP Co-ordinators facilitate and partake in developmental programmes designed to help students with their personal/social, educational and vocational development. In personal/social development the programmes would include personal and social skills, self-awareness, decision-making skills, planning and health promotion. In educational development the programmes would include subject/course/level choices, motivation and learning and study skills/exam techniques. In vocational development the programmes would include employment opportunity awareness. Educational and training courses, higher and technical education choices and job search skills.
CONSULTATION SGC consultation is provided by and to significant adults in the student's life. These adults include the school principal, the deputy principal, year heads, pastoral team, external agencies and parents. These consultations - advice, information or counselling -must always recognise the primacy of the student's integrity and the need to maintain appropriate confidentiality.
All students have a right to confidentiality in their dealings with the SGC. The right is not universal, however, and there are some cases in which - for the student's best interest - 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 should make the student aware that confidentiality could not be guaranteed in any of the above cases and that information of this nature would have to be referred on. In short, students who meet with the SGC will be informed of the following 1) All things discussed are confidential between the student and the SGC except when the student himself or another person is at risk 2) Any information which highlights that the student or another person is in danger. 3) If the student is in danger of doing grievous harm to himself.
Ethical awareness is a prerequisite for the SGC. He/she is obliged to operate, in policy, process and practice in an ethical manner. The SGC's primary focus is the welfare of the student and he/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 his/her profession. The SGC is expected to be competent in and mindful of the legal and ethical responsibilities of his/her work. Furthermore, the SGC is ethically obliged to seek out new developments in the personal, educational and vocational fields with a view to improving the overall counselling service to the student.