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Re: “Guidance counsellor is an outdated job

Mr. Adams makes some interesting points about the social, emotional and educational needs of today's youth. I would agree that many young people today face a multitude of challenges, which may include mental health and involvement in the criminal justice system amongst many others. In Nova Scotia schools today many supporting staff and programs are available and offer a wide variety of help. There are African support workers, school social workers, school psychologists, mental health clinicians, youth health centres, youth advocate workers, Bridges to Learning, Schools Plus and others... I strongly believe that we need to support youth in a variety of ways today to help them cope with the wide gamut of needs.

As Mr. Adams mentions in his article, many students who are facing challenges may be poor attenders for various reasons, such as mental illness, incarceration etc.. Therefor the services we offer need to go beyond the walls of the school and some supports that I have mentioned above do that, such as Bridges to Learning and community outreach workers.

What would be helpful to students who face the most challenges would be promoting better communication, understanding, sharing and sense of team work between these various supporting parties. All of these people and programs have valuable services to offer inside and outside the schools, but if they are working in isolation from each other their services may be overlapping or counter-productive to each one another.

One prime example of this lack of understanding would be Mr. Adams' lack of understanding of the educational background and role of guidance counsellors. The guidance counsellors who work with students in todays schools possess a Masters level degree in counselling and are therefore fully qualified professional counsellors, familiar with all theories of counselling and psychotherapy. Many guidance counsellors in Nova Scotia schools today are certified with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association of Canada. Some are also registered with the Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapists. Furthermore, they engage in continuous professional development opportunities and upgrading. So Nova Scotian schools already do have "real" counsellors. There are also actual psychologists who work in schools to help support students' needs. These services are free to students. What would be great is if we had more supports like this for youth. In fact I have to completely disagree with Mr. Adams' point that "Guidance Counsellor is an outdated job". I think that guidance counsellors are more needed today than ever. They provide invaluable services to students. They take the time to build rapport with students, engage with students on may levels; counselling individually, in small groups, by running valuable programs, as chaperones on field trips, as coaches, etc.....Every school should have a fill time guidance counsellor. Many guidance counsellors' assignments currently involve classroom teaching and not every school has a guidance counsellor.

As a guidance counsellor myself who has worked in HRSB schools for over 23 years, from grade primary to Grade 12 and in rural, suburban and urban communities, I can attest to the fact that some students who would not have succeeded on their own have sought out help from me. I have helped students who needed urgent and immediate interventions, I have helped students and their families make contact and referrals for vital mental health support. Additionally, as I member of the school planning team, sometimes students are referred to me from other teachers or administration and I make a point of meeting them, whether they actively seek my help or not.

The fact remains, there are more needs out there that we can properly address. There are long wait lists for mental health services. We all have a role to play in helping today's youth. We need to work more collaboratively, support and understand each other as professionals so that we can provide the best support possible to young people.

9 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Denise MacPherson Friars on 10/13/2014 at 5:23 PM

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