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Counsellors for schools?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by monicabilongame, Oct 21, 2015.


Should schools/LAs employ counsellors?

  1. Yes, for the students

    0 vote(s)
  2. Yes, for the staff

    3 vote(s)
  3. Yes, for the students and the staff

    12 vote(s)
  4. Yes, but who will pay for them?

    4 vote(s)
  5. No

    1 vote(s)
  1. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    We have seen the levels of stress and anxiety experienced by teachers.
    The average teenager now experiences the same levels of anxiety as a psychiatric patient in the 1950's.
    Should schools or LAs employ counsellors to help students and/or staff to lower stress/anxiety/depression etc. in schools?
  2. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    The last school I taught in did have a counsellor - but only for the pupils, not the staff.
  3. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    I get a bit of private counselling work from teachers. Even if they could access a service from the LA some prefer not to.
    Flere-Imsaho likes this.
  4. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    'The average teenager now experiences the same levels of anxiety as a psychiatric patient in the 1950's.'

    Says who? How is this measured?

    With testing and constant assessment and the proliferation of social media, few could disagree that teenagers today have more anxiety than the teenager of the 1950s. However, back in the day there was far less awareness and certainly less 'acceptance' of mental health issues.
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  5. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    In the states it's pretty standard.

    One thing we could happily americanise a bit perhaps…
  6. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I think there has to be greater focus on mental health, especially youth mental health, in the nhs. Referrals to child mental health services are going through the roof.

    At a school level, not for me, no. I don't think it is cost effective for a school to employ them. They would end up dealing with a few legitimate cases but too many low level ones such as exam stress that do not require counselling.

    Staff don't need councillors. The army, maybe. Police and fire service, maybe. Not teachers. It is not the solution to workplace stress.
  7. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Please tell that to the teacher who just wrote 6 serious child protection reports last week and dealt with three agencies to find those children urgent help, the one who works in a prison with young offenders, those who role involves teaching terminally ill children who rarely get to examination age, the colleague who accepts a level of physical assault on a daily basis because they work with high level special needs… not to mention the humble hum drum mainstream ones who suffer from work related stress and anxiety….
  8. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    In fairness you mention those working with/in

    Teaching of terminally ill children, probably in hospital
    Special needs school.

    I was talking mainstream schooling really. With regards to writing child protection reports, I am not sure that a councillor is the right person to help with this process. A social worker maybe. Again, I do not feel that counselling is what is required to solve work place stress. There needs to be a focus on prevention in the first place.
  9. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    I was indeed raising that teachers work in capacities well beyond mainstream schools. Though the examples given were experiences and situations I experienced and had while working in a 'mainstream' school… you see schools deal with those issues within their own cohort.

    I wasn't suggesting a counsellor ai the composition of a child protection report…. rather than the content of such reports can prove quite absorbing and distressing. Allowing an outlet to debrief would prevent a lot of issues.
  10. rustyfeathers

    rustyfeathers Occasional commenter

    We have a counsellor for the students. We're a small school, so he's able to support students in lessons, both to help them with the lessons and to build a rapport with them - as well as gaining an understanding of what the students are like across the school. This works fantastically for our pupils but does mean that even if it were an option, I'd be very unlikely to feel comfortable seeing him myself!

    I have used a counsellor before as a council employee and feel that's an incredibly useful thing to have. It was crucial that this was someone I wouldn't see in my working day and that my employers didn't know I was attending, much less anything I said. How this would work in (eg.) academies, I don't know.
  11. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    @DYNAMO67 said "A social worker maybe. Again, I do not feel that counselling is what is required to solve work place stress. There needs to be a focus on prevention in the first place."

    Social workers have regular supervision sessions in which to offload. Regular supervision sessions, with someone not linked to SLT, for teachers could be useful, particularly in the early years of teaching - might head off some of the attrition we are experiencing in the profession at present.
    ilovesooty likes this.
  12. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    My other half @snowyhead is a social worker. Supervision is not meant as an opportunity to unload any more than a staff meeting in school is. It is about putting next steps in place for the caseload
  13. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    I have supervision on a regular basis in my job now and it's a collaborative and supportive experience. I think it would be very helpful to teachers.
    snowyhead likes this.
  14. ejclibrarian

    ejclibrarian Established commenter Community helper

    We had a counselor at the sixth form I used to work at. She was there mainly for the students but staff were allowed to book sessions too (for free). They were strictly confidential and what you said to her was never repeated to anyone else. I found it useful being able to talk to someone when I needed to without having to get a lengthy referral from my GP. It really helped me having her there.
    monicabilongame likes this.
  15. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    That's a pity. When I took part in supervision sessions (working in the 'not for profit' sector) I found them a useful opportunity to discuss how contact with certain clients had affected me on an emotional level.
    ilovesooty and monicabilongame like this.
  16. Anonymity

    Anonymity Occasional commenter

    There would have to be complete and utter confidentiality and no chance of that altering.

    The way I feel about work at the moment, I just would not trust that something said wouldn't be used against me. (Either work related, or offloading about pressures from above ie SLT)
  17. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    Any counsellor who didn't respect confidentiality would be breaking all ethical requirements. There are certain rare reasons why counsellors have to break confidentiality and using information against their clients isn't one of them.
  18. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Safeguarding would be the only thing I can think of that would require breaking confidentiality.
    ilovesooty and snowyhead like this.
  19. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    @monicabilongame - We should hope that up-to-date safeguarding training would ensure no member of staff used a supervision/counselling session to reveal safeguarding concerns that they should have previously reported to the DSL.
  20. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    @snowyhead - I was thinking more of something that a member of staff disclosed during a counselling session about themselves that constituted a safeguarding issue.
    ilovesooty likes this.

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