Conselling in Schools

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A critical examination of Person Centred Counselling and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy applied to a secondary school context. This piece of work will aim to also consider how aspects of these two approaches of counselling could be applied to support students during their journey through adolescence as well as secondary education. The role of the teacher is one that is very complicated. Often the person who stands before a class of students must wear many different hats if they are to be regarded as a good teacher. OfSTED have tried numerous times over the last two decades to describe what an outstanding teacher is. These judgements have often been based on an impromptu visit to a school once every three to five years where they visit a teacher for up to 20 minutes. Although the inspection criteria have changed somewhat since its initial implementation, it still remains, in my view as a teacher, very staged. In a review of Counselling in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, William Baginsky comments in retrospect that the Education Reform Act 1988, has resulted in teachers and pupils being valued in terms of performance indicators and a move away from a concern with pupils’ personal and social development. Robson et al. (1999), Teachers are acutely aware of the emphasis on the academic side of the curriculum-their (students) whole life seems to be pressure, course work, test, homework. McLaughlin (1999) The role of the teacher often extends beyond lesson observation criteria where they can be labelled one of four levels. What OfSTED are unable to measure in a quantifiable manner is the complex relationship between the member of staff and the students. Often in my practice I wondered how come some teachers were just better at controlling a class or they seemed more “liked” by the students. I would listen in amazement in the staffroom how some teachers had a wonderful working and purposeful relation with some students yet I had very little success with them. Having reflected on these stories I found a similar pattern. These teachers were displaying counselling skills that allowed them to build up a trust and understanding with the students. What I was not sure of was whether they were using these skills naturally or if they had developed them. I have a belief that with time teachers do develop sound counselling skills in order to support the students they work with. In the paper by McLaughlin (2007) her literature review discusses evidence to suggest that that all teachers should have first-level counselling skills, i.e. should be able to listen to pupils and to react to and respond in the emotional domain (Lang, 1993; Hamblin, 1978). Others would suggest that teachers sometimes use the word counselling to encompass activities that professional counsellors would surely not consider to be counselling at all. These include careers interviews, ad hoc advice, and crisis conversations in the corridor (Mosley, 1993) The purpose of this paper is to consider two types of counselling approaches and consider how elements of these approaches could be developed in my role as a secondary school teacher. To Carl Rogers counselling is about a special relationship that is established between the counsellor and the client- where two people sitting in the same room, the client ‘struggling to be himself’. Rogers C (1942) Rogers then goes on to suggest that counselling is about ‘the intricate, delicate web of growth which is taking place with the emergence of a self, person’. This idea of growth and actualisation was based on the humanistic approach of Maslow who is famous for his hierarchy of needs. The Actualising Tendency complements Maslow’s hierarchy of needs by attempting to explain the motivation behind a person’s desire to better their self. Rogers stated that the person-centred approach is built on a basic trust in the person (It) depends on the actualizing tendency present in every living organisms’ tendency to grow, to develop, to...
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