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Counselling but unqualified

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Catlover1974, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. Catlover1974

    Catlover1974 New commenter

    Hi all

    I have been asked to offer counselling to a group of students with mental health issues. I don't actually have any qualifications to do this but it does sound interesting... Are there any guidelines for this? And is it OK for me to do it?!

  2. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    Use circle time resources if there's no way out from this situation. Alternatively ask the local union representative for advice if you're in a union.
    caress, jlishman2158 and pepper5 like this.
  3. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    I did this once at the behest of the DH (as the students named me as someone they would be comfortable talking to). It all started out well but then I realised that there were some serious issues with the students and I spent a good chunk of time trying to get them professionally referred via the exhausted pastoral services. I guess what I'm trying to say is: be prepared for it. They may disclose things which are uncomfortable, disturbing or distressing. When I started out, the SEND etc. were very encouraging but not so helpful when I needed them to step in! [note: I kept up the counselling so I didn't 'abandon' the students; I just knew that they needed professional help].
    thekillers1 and mothorchid like this.
  4. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    And ask for training. It could be part of your CPD, and it sounds like something you're interested in.
    Many years ago I became involved in something similar at my school, and eventually followed up with counselling training, which I really enjoyed. It is now a significant part of my work outside teaching.
    However, do get support and advice if these are genuinely serious MH issues. For that you need help. If it's just they're worried about exams or some such, then you can't go too far wrong with comon sense. It's a matter of degree, really.
  5. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    you need training and qualifications
  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Don't do it without training fir tbe reasons already stated.
    jlishman2158, thekillers1 and CWadd like this.
  7. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Just say no.

    The school have no right to ask you to do this. You are not qualified, and if their parents want them to receive counselling, maybe they should pay for it.
  8. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I'd be wary of it being called counselling - too much risk that someone thinks you know what you're doing, and that proper counselling is not sought. Call it a support group or something that doesn't imply that you have any expertise. And request some training - I would have thought that a couple of hours with an expert might give some very helpful advice and dos/don'ts.
  9. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    I agree with this.
  10. thekillers1

    thekillers1 Lead commenter

    My advice is inaccurate. Follow everyone else's advise and avoid the councilling sessions to protect your mental health. Apologises for the poor advice provided by me earlier.
  11. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    To @thekillers1 - not poor advice, if the OP is in a situation they cannot refuse. I'm wondering if this is a case of semantics. The school say counselling, they mean mentoring. But under safeguarding, protect yourself, even if that means saying no.
  12. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Occasional commenter

    You can refuse on the grounds that anything you say will have an unpredictable effect on the students since you have no training in this.

    If your advice led them to complain that you weren't 'curing' whatever the problem is or, god forbid, one of them did something to themselves/others while under your 'counselling' you'd never forgive yourself and you could easily face gross misconduct for safeguarding charges.

    ONLY a qualified therapist should be dealing with the mental health issues that young people face today.
    caress, agathamorse and jlishman2158 like this.
  13. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    The OP could, of course, research full time courses in counselling, cost their attendance at one, and reply saying 'Yes, of course I can do this.... providing you support my attendance on the attached course. Once I have completed the course I will be happy to start counselling sessions in the school....'. ;)
    Sally006, caress, agathamorse and 3 others like this.
  14. Catlover1974

    Catlover1974 New commenter

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to comment and being so helpful.
  15. princesslegend

    princesslegend Occasional commenter

    Unless they are going to give you specific training, say No.
    Just another example of adding to workload.
    I have a Level 2 Counselling certificate and I still would never do anything like this.
    jlishman2158 and agathamorse like this.
  16. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    If the powers that be want a counsellor in their school they should buy in a properly trained and qualified professional.

    Don't do it.
  17. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You can call it a support group or talking circle. Coping strategies. Morning meeting. See how it goes. If you're interested. But it's PSCHE by another name. Whether or not it's good to put your vulnerable guys together in one group? No idea.

    But it can and does work. Depends on you and them. You don't sound that confident though. I'd be well up for it. My kind of thing. But it wouldn't be called counselling.
    jlishman2158, agathamorse and caress like this.
  18. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    "PSCHE by any other name."

    Not if SLT mean the OP to perform counselling, as in "assisting people to overcome personal or psychological problems with the provision of professional guidance and assistance", it isn't.

    Key word is professional. The OP is a trained teacher. Not a trained counsellor. If parents and SLT really want a counsellor for their children, perhaps they'd like to pay for one who is actually trained.

    Don't put yourself at risk. Its a safeguarding minefield. If these kids have mental health problems then you could potentially do more harm than good.
  19. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Depends on the phraseology used. Are you telling us you have been specifically asked to provide counselling? Or is that how you are interpreting what you have been asked to do?

    A lot of staff will tell you they do counselling. They don't. They mentor kids or whatever. That's fine.

    But working as a counsellor in so many words? Different animal.
    jlishman2158, agathamorse and caress like this.
  20. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Which is my point.

    The OP needs to determine what the SLT mean.

    If they're not comfortable doing it, they refuse. What other people do is neither here nor there.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
    jlishman2158 and agathamorse like this.

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