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Your counsellor can help you overcome difficulties, says Jitendra Nagpal

education Updated: Feb 04, 2010 13:20 IST
Jitendra Nagpal

As teenagers, or rather, young adults, you are the most important asset of any country and the most important human resource for overall development. Schools are one of the settings outside the home where you can acquire the knowledge and the skills to grow into productive citizens who can help their communities to prosper.

Schools play a crucial role in the development of cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional and moral functions and competencies in students, and they can also act as a safety net, protecting students from the hazards that affect their learning, development and psychosocial well-being. Schools are crucial in building — or undermining — a teen’s self-esteem and sense of competence. As students, this is what you should expect:

. Sensitivity of your school to the growing need for comprehensive counselling.
. Nationwide streamlined structure and guidelines for counselling.
. Centres of excellence of health research in partnership with the education system.
. Your school’s link with the local/regional mental health services

The present-day school counsellor is an integral part of the whole school community. Your counsellor should help you face challenges, tough classes, peer pressure, friendship problems, depression and more — all that can be roadblocks to your future success and global excellence.

A school counsellor should also help you improve your ability to establish and maintain relationships. Adolescence is a difficult time and many of you may have problems relating to other people, especially if you have a poor self-image. A counsellor must help you overcome this.

Enhancing coping skills is another important function of counselling. For a variety of environmental, biological and psychological reasons, you may find it difficult to cope with everyday life. Your mental stress may manifest itself in problems like frequent headaches, inability to sleep, etc. Your counsellor can help you counter this stress. Part of the strategy is honing your decision-making ability so that you can seek clarity and sort out emotional concerns.

A professional school counsellor has a primary obligation to every student, who is to be treated as a unique individual. S/he (the counsellor) is concerned with the educational, career, emotional and behavioural needs of each student. The counsellor must not consciously encourage a student to accept values, lifestyles and beliefs that represent the counsellor’s personal orientation. S/he is responsible for ensuring that the rights of the students are adequately provided for and protected.
A counsellor must also establish a collaborative relationship with parents to aid the maximum development of the student. In keeping with laws and local guidelines, s/he assists families experiencing difficulties that may interfere with the student’s welfare.

In school, a counsellor protects the educational programme against any infringement that may go against the students’ interests. S/he must inform the authorities of conditions that may be potentially disruptive or damaging to the school’s mission.

The author is a senior consultant psychiatrist with Moolchand Medcity and Vimhans, New Delhi. Send him an email at hthorizons@, marked ‘Dr Nagpal’