Why ask for counselling at school?

Being able to imagine and feel emotions with in-depth understanding is what makes human beings different from all other creatures on the planet. We react according to situations; various scenarios impact us differently. Considering a particular situation, our thoughts or feelings can have an emotional effect on us. Counselling is a listening space that encourages people (students, but not only, as we’ll see in this article) to address any issue they are facing with the eventual goal to overcome the problem.

At our school a counsellor (who is not a member of the teaching staff) is available to students and their families.

Why ask for counselling at school?

Students or parents can talk to the counsellor to discuss problems or doubts concerning academics, relationships – either friendships or teachers-student ones – career, future, or anything else.

We interviewed Elisabetta Ratti, Deputy Head of the Middle School Department, about the function of the counsellor at school. She shared a very interesting image:

“In emergency situations, the figure of the counsellor is comparable to that of a life buoy. It allows those who need it to cling on. It’s as if the person in need thinks: “I can swim, but right now I’m going under. I’m struggling more than usual, I’m drowning.”

How does it differ from psychological counselling?

“The counselling service is used on an as-needed basis. It does not involve a course of action, which would be necessary with a psychologist. Sometimes just one meeting is enough to receive the right advice for the moment; other times, however, they meet again and evaluate together any changes that are taking place. Furthermore, the counsellor does not make any kind of diagnosis.”

How are parents involved?

“At the start of Middle School, every family is invited to meet the counsellor so that she can introduce herself and her role. After that, parents are involved only if the counsellor thinks it is appropriate (after talking to and informing the pupil). Of course parents can also lean on the counselling service, either at the school’s suggestion or on their own initiative. Let’s say that this stimulus to turn to the counsellor can come from any of the parties involved.”

“Of course not. The counsellor becomes an alternative for those who want to look at things from another point of view. It can be a listening space that does not necessarily involve the teacher and the parent: sometimes it’s easier to talk openly to someone who is not so close to you, especially at that age.”

In the spirit of full collaboration, the counsellor may ask the teachers for information – although for professional confidentiality she would not talk about the contents of any meetings. She could also decide to share her thoughts about strategies, in virtue of a benefit for the student and consequently for the whole class.”

The well-being of one is the well-being of all those who interact with him: we firmly believe in this.
To return to the “aquatic” image from the beginning of the interview, let’s think of a pond and the ripples that propagate when we toss in a stone: from a very small circle a very large one can be generated.
This is true for both good and bad; if someone is suffering and does not find help or does not know how to change the situation, the ripples could have a negative impact on the larger circle. If, on the other hand, ripples of help, understanding, support and empathy come from the small circle, the whole community will benefit in a positive circle resulting in the well-being of each individual.

This is why counselling is a fundamental part of the PSE (Personal Social Emotional) Curriculum, which has always run across our activities here at BBSchool.