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"At times I envy the band aid man
Who cleaned my cuts when I was young
While painting me as mercurochrome clown
Before he patched my pain with adhesive
That was security to know he cared and would be around
To fix when possible all the hurts of childhood
That come in growing to be man
His job, I think was easier than mine
For in counseling I cannot always see
Your past wounds scars and might have been
If I could on days like today
I might like the old man I remember
Try with gentleness to cover them
For you sit beside me with tears in your eyes
And I know how slowly it takes words to heat."

From “The Bandaid man,” by S.T. Gladding, 1975 Personnel and Guidance Journal by ACA

I have been very eclectic in my approach and used the approaches that would empower and enable people to find solutions to their concerns. However over the years it’s the Rogerian school of thought that has affected me the most and some fundamentals that I have internalized about human nature are best described by Carl Rogers as – View of Human Nature Implicit in person centered counseling is a particular view of human nature : people are essentially good ( Rogers 19610.) Humans are characteristically positive forward moving constructive realistic and trustworthy Each person is aware inner directed and moving toward self actualization from infancy on Rogers held that human infants possess the following traits:-
  • Whatever n infant perceives is that infant’s reality.
  • An infant’s perception is an internal process that no one else can be aware of.
  • All infants are born with a self actualizing tendency that is satisfied through goal directed behavior.
  • An infant’s interaction with the environment is an organized whole and everything an infant does is interrelated.
  • The experiences of an infant may be seen as positive or negative according to whether the experiences enhance the actualization tendency.
  • Infants maintain experiences that are actualizing tendency.
  • Infants maintain experiences that are actualizing and avoid those that are not.

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Counseling is often known as counseling psychology wherein the counselor offers suggestions that are not meant to cure the mental problems in a person. These are constructive suggestions which are suggested by the counselor after understanding the problem or basic situation.

The duty of a counselor is to highlight the positive strokes in a person and enable the coping skills to deal with the current situation. These could be daily ongoings like coping with stress, marriage counseling, behavioral symptoms and child therapy relating to education, career choice and management. Counselors practicing counseling psychology are different from psychiatrists who deal with treating problems associated with diagnosed mental health.

The process of counseling is firstly based on initiative to over come the problem. This is already considered as the first step when we approach a counselor. Then is the identification stage to understand the stage of the issue. Suggestions, talks, exercises and sessions slowly alleviate the problem by understanding the core psychological issue along with it. There are various streams like education counseling, anger counseling and also grief therapy. Accepting the problem and evaluating the probable solution is a good exercise.

For start ups, working on the models of a standard procedure seems acceptable by the client. Then there is an opening stage where the client suggests certain skills. Many times group therapy opens up creative skills whereby the clients feel elated when their suggestion actually works. Application of these solutions with an out-of-box attitude is very important to break the conservative mould.

What Counseling is not:
Counseling is not giving information, though information may be given. Counseling is not giving advice , making suggestions and recommendations. Counseling is not influencing the client’s values, attitudes, beliefs, interests, decisions, etc. with or without any threat or admonition. Counseling is not for mentally sick people.

Today in progressive schooling set ups, the role of a counsellor has changed drastically and it has evolved as a dynamic multifaceted support system. School counselors are key members of guidance and student services teams. Within the context of a collaborative, interdisciplinary team approach, school counselors play a leadership role in the development and implementation of a comprehensive guidance and counseling program.

School Counsellor’s Roles and Functions :-
  • Development Guidance: As a Counsellor I develop, co-ordinate, and implement various developmental and preventive Program.Life skills program at Heritage that caters to students of 8years to 18 years age group.
  • Individual Planning: As a Counsellor I participate, collaborate and consult as members of the interdisciplinary team to provide support for students' individual performance academic as well as behavioral.
  • Responsive Services: As a Counsellor I provide services to students in need through individual and small group guidance and counseling interventions, crisis intervention, parent out-reach, consultation, referral, and multi-systemic interventions.
  • Systems Support: As a Counsellor I perform various activities intended to support the school's guidance function. Examples include conducting workshops for parents and staff, student placement, research, data collection, community outreach, and program administration.

Counsellors are also in a key position to play a vital advocacy role for students with staff, families, and outside agencies.

Working in a counseling Relationship in schools:
Counseling requires constant sensitivity to the status of the relationship and the client’s ( in our case it is the student ) developmental nature. The counselor must be alert to new needs and demands as they develop.

Child counseling can be a classification of several problems. Solutions are possible for a seeker but in many cases parents need to be open about the problem and hence the approach can lead to solving the issue at the root cause. Most childhood problems are related to behavioral symptoms but mostly patterns also tend to worry about children achieving milestones. A case of dyslexic children or slow learners is a special one where the mode of process counseling is gentle and more focus is given on parents. The therapies associated with child counseling need to be appreciated by parents who are the main role models for a child. Children are subject to physical and mental abuse by many people and here it is important to have a strong conviction to get back to normalcy. A healthy environment is necessary for the child to reinforce his belief in live and grow in a normal manner.

Education counseling for children is a constant process where the counselor at the school associates certain patterns and evaluates the child on his or her progress. This is important to detect certain qualities that enable a child to focus on an aspect he is good at and also overcome certain learning disabilities. Parents and teachers can complement in the progress of the child.

Abuse counseling or certain addictions in children are more of a psychological impact. The counselor gives sessions and usually children are adaptive to overcoming their demerits with distractions. Generating focus and also abling them with certain hobbies is the best remedy given by the counselor. Children with terminal illness also require counseling therapy to cope up with the treatment and develop their willpower.

Children noted with ADHD or hyperactive disorder can also be introduced to a counselor who will also guide the parents or caregiver according to lessen or channelize the excess energy effectively.

Psychology is the study of people: How they think, How they act, react and interact. Psychology is concerned with all aspects of behaviour and the thoughts feelings and motivations underlying such behaviour. Reaction to being introduced as a psychologist is 'well can you tell what I'm thinking then?' We are all interested in what makes people tick, but beyond this in reality this understanding can help us to solve major problems in society. While studying psychology one has to learn scientific methods of observing, measuring, testing, using statistics to show that what you find is reliable evidence and not just by chance.

Work of a psychologists does not simply collect evidence to explain people's behaviour; rather they use their understanding to help people with difficulties and bring about change for the better. For example, as a counseling psychologists I have been concerned with problems such as:
  • How to build confidence in a child?
  • How should people act so others tend to find them attractive or confident?
  • How can we keep our anger in check on the field or while driving?
  • How can we help people overcome depression, stress or phobias?
  • How can schoolgoing children counter strong bullying?
  • How can teachers or lecturers ensure students are really learning?
  • How can we ease the effect of parental divorce on children?
  • How should children be introduced to talk about sexuality?
  • How can we minimise peer pressure by building positive classroom environment?

I have been employing psychology for working collaboratively with people across a diverse range of human problems. These include helping people manage difficult life events such as bereavement, past and present relationships and working with mental health issues and disorders. As a Psychologists I accept subjective experience as valid for each person, explore underlying issues and use an active collaborative relationship to empower people to consider change. Educators, students and parents all bridge gaps of communication, perception and understanding with a psychologist’s intervention that leads to healthier relations and emotional well being.

It is a matter of common observation that growing persons often encounter problems in their progress towards maturity. They often need help in learning to meet the demands of academics and society,of adjustment to the changing circumstances, to other people and above all to themselves. In this process, some may need occasional help, while others need continuous help; and some may need relatively less help while others may need more help. Counseling consists of essentially the help given to such people to help themselves become self-sufficient, self-dependent and self-directed persons to adjust themselves efficiently to the demands for an effective, better and meaningful life. While it is true that many young people in trouble often need counseling, several others also need it under different circumstances in order to make better adjustments to different situations in life.

Counseling involves two individuals one seeking help and the other a professionally trained person who can help the other one.There should be a relationship of mutual respect between the two individuals. The counselor should be friendly and co-operative and the counselee should have trust and confidence in the counselor.

Counseling helps the counselee acquire independence and develop a sense of responsibility. It helps the counselee explore and fully utilize his/her potentials. Counselor as teacher and model focuses on establishing a relationship with counselee that assists individuals to become psychologically strong and responsible. The goals of person centered counseling concern the client as a person not his or her problem.
Counseling assisstance
Counselor as teacher, a guide and expert assists counselee in following ways :-
 In clarifying goals
 Modifying behaviors and thoughts
 Helps clients make good adjustment,
 Modify maladaptive behavior by learning productive responses
 Establish and achieve specific concrete goals and sub goals
 Change thoughts
 Formulate a realistic plan
 Rationally stress elimination

Counseling involves something more than the solution of an immediate problem; and it deals with individual’s attitude as well as actions.
Counseling Adolescents:
Adolescence is a period when rapid changes occur in the physical and psychological development of an individual. It is considered as a period of storm and stress. During this period adolescents experience a confusion regarding the roles he/she is expected to play. At this stage adolescents need proper care, understanding and counseling from adults. Group counseling may be more appropriate and feasible for adolescents. Individual counseling can be done in specific situations where it is required. Group counseling may co sometimes be successful with adolescents who have not responded well to individual counseling attempts. The interaction which takes place in group counseling offers the adolescent a means of gaining insight into and understanding of his/her own problems through listening to others, discussing similar difficulties. Solution given for a particular person’s problem may be applicable to others also.

The basic aim of adolescent counseling is to help the adolescent to resolve problems in future. This can be achieved by:
 Helping the adolescent to get adjustment
 Helping them to develop rational decisions
 Helping to develop constructive pursuits
 Making them aware about the community sources for immediate solutions
 Helping to correct situational difficulties
 Helping them to increase their personal skills and group skills
 Helping them to develop a desirable value system
Tips on counseling adolescents:
Be open: Adolescents should be made to feel that nay question can be asked. Without nay hesitancy: no question is wrong or stupid. Be flexible. Discuss with the adolescents the issues they want to talk about. Give simple, direct answers in plain words.
Be trustworthy: The clients should be able to trust you. Whatever information you give should be accurate and client should be able to believe it. Stress confidentiality Be approachable. Show respect. Be understanding.

Qualities of good counselor:
 Develop a good rapport with the client.
 Develop good listening skills.
 Observe the counselee’s action.
 A strong self-esteem should be developed by the counselor.
 Confidentiality in counseling is very important.
 Genuine concern for the clients.

Counseling is required for:
Those who have adjustment difficulties.
Those with scholastic backwardness.
Those with character and personality disorders.
Those with specific behavioral problems.
Non - assertive adolescents.

Outcomes of counseling
As a result of person centered counseling person should become:
 More realistic in their self perceptions.
 More confident and self directing.
 More positively value themselves,
 Less likely to repress aspects of their experiences,
 More mature socialized and adaptive in their behavior
 Less upset by stress and quicker to recover from it and
 More like the healthy integrated well functioning person.

Furthermore a fully functioning person develops a greater acceptance of self and others and becomes a better decision maker in the her and now.
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