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Counselling services at the junior high school level : a study of counselling problems in a Vancouver sample school and their social work implications McCubbin, Frances Amy

Abstract

Many years ago, the provincial Department of Education recognized that adolescents have special needs and problems. As a consequence, junior high schools have been instituted In British Columbia to meet, not only the academic needs of adolescents, but some of their social and personal needs, as well. To this end, also, counselling services became a part of the program of secondary schools. Counselling program and practice have changed over the years from group guidance on educational and vocational matters to an individual counseling service primarily Intended for vocational counselling but, in practice, extended to many other problems. Current conceptions of counselling also appear to have some relationship to those of casework practice meriting clearer definition. In order to determine the implications of school counsell-in for social work, the counselling program and process in a sample junior high school in Vancouver were studied, by use of structured interviews with counsellors, general interviews with other members of the school staff, School Board employees, and staff members of agencies whose clients were pupils at the school which was studied. The classification developed to examine the "counselling area" was: (a) minor problems; (b) problems related to educational and vocational guidance; (c) problems related to low academic achievement; (d) problems related to school discipline; (e) personality and school adjustment problems; (f) problems related to the home situation. The counsellor's role in helping with problems in each of these areas was distinguished by relating the counsellors duties and responsibilities, training and qualification to the way in which specific cases were dealt with, either by the counsellor alone or with assistance from other people or groups. It was concluded that counsellors provide valuable assistance on an Individual basis to children with problems, where the basis of the problem is not an emotional disturbance stemming from personality or environmental factors. The study indicates, however, that counsellors are obliged to deal with the latter kind of problem, to some extent, despite the fact that they are not trained to do so. Reasons are advanced for proposing that the treatment of emotionally disturbed children in the school should be carried out by properly qualified social caseworkers, who could work with counsellors, each in their respective areas of competence, to give help to the adolescent in school.

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