Need Of Counseling In Bhutanese Schools

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The UK’s NHS website defines counseling as “a talking therapy that involves a trained therapist listening to you and helping you find ways to deal with emotional issues.” Counselling is the development process in our Bhutanese school setting where it has fully established in our country. Guidance and counselling is essential tools and technique to enhance the students’ need and aspects and to bring the changes in clients in fruitful aspirations. If all individual understands the needs of counselling in Bhutanese schools then it is going to upgrade the students to lead in a proper direction in everyday activities. It is one of the helping ways in many dimensional for all human beings’ need and aspects to show the best medicine to the problems. All those ways will be changing and developing the growth of the students in the schools who seek help from the counsellor. In every school all over the globe and in our Bhutanese context, counselling play major roles in curriculum developments and provide training in various activities in school. By having counsellor in schools, the counsellors will be counselling to understand the students and school matters as a responsible person when they have a limited resource. According to Hohenshil (2010), “the growth of counseling around the world is one of the major and most exciting emerging trends in the counseling profession.” Therefore, it is well know the importance of counseling’s effectiveness and roles and major aspiration carried away by the counseling in the schools and the community as a whole.

In the Bhutanese school setting counselor’s roles is to deal with the students who is undergoing mental issues, using technologies at younger age and putting them in high rest engaging social activities.

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Implication of counselor are to understand students/ schools from their internal frame of reference, culturally responsive counseling skills and interventions are essential, some issues are universal across cultures, be spontaneous and creative when there are limited resources, consider the impact of globalization when conceptualizing the clients and concern, consider how counseling may need to be adopted to fit with the student’s/ school’s cultural frame of reference and remember the importance of advocacy, consultation, and collaboration. (Lorelle & Guth, 2013, p. 8).

The counselors in schools must be aware of new issues that constantly arise around the world that influences students learning environment and school as a whole. In school, counselor tries to help students at the very crucial point of their life because most of the students are diverting their mind in different directions and into not so important activities where they could get lost from track. Words from the counselor are helpful to the student’s life to improve their outlook in the school, society, family and future. The counseling is given individually and those who seek individual counseling are maintained confidential between counselors and counselor seekers. As of now in the Bhutanese school system most of the students are referred to counselor when they have behavioral and attitude problem and mostly difficulties when they faced in studies. As the counselor is resources person, he should advocate the students well beings for their educational achievement and enhancement. Counselor should listen to students issues and problems they faced and help students them from bullying, any kind of social issues, communication troubles and poor academic performance. They give counseling in order to change or develop student’s misbehavior and attitude to resolve their problems like conflicts, decision making, communicating, and creating positive environment learning which the students feel interest to learn. Counselor should understand clients/students/school systems from their internal frame of reference; culturally responsive counseling skills and interventions. Counseling need to be adapted to fit with the student’s/school’s cultural frame of reference.

Counseling can help the person to deal with wide range of problems. In Bhutanese school most common problems that student undergoes are behavioral problem, addiction, difficulties in coping up with rapid transition of life, changing environment and setting, unaware of one’s own potential and difficulties in decision making. Counseling can help students to overcome all those problems. With the help of councilors one can facilitate behavioral change in one’s life. As Rogers (1961, p. 23) stated that behavior changes as a necessary result of counseling process, although specific behaviors receive little emphasis during the counseling experience. For instance, students are seen spending most of their free time watching television. They come across protagonist having all sorts of fashionable looks and showing dangerous stunts. Being immature this is the image of hero for them and they try to act like them. But this kind of behavior is not accepted in Bhutanese schools and it causes trouble for them as there is pressure from school and parents. Being immature they don’t have the ability to reflect on their behavior but councilor uses different theories and techniques to draw out the best choice from the client. Students can differentiate between right and wrong. Without using physical force the students will be able to get the right discipline and behavior in them.

The major problems and social issues with the students are with addictions to drugs or dependent students on drugs. As Hamilton, Noah and Adlaf (2009) claimed that Children and adolescents living in low social economic status where mostly in urban environments have a higher exposure to substance use and are at a higher risk for substance abuse. Some students may realize its bad impact and want to come out of addiction but it is out of their control by then and some of the addicts are advised by teacher to see the counselor. Most of the reasons for addicts are due to increasing pressures in academic, difficulties in adjusting with parents, teachers and peers as well as adjusting themselves in the rapid transition of life. The substance like alcohol, drugs and substance abuse can be openly discussed with counselors but not with parents. In this case counselor will be the best to help them out. As asserted by Mclaughlin and Vacha (1993) that the bond created by school counselors with students who are at risk for substance abuse can sow a climate of trust and assist these students with enhancing protective factors. Drugs and alcohols are strong ongoing substances which can make its user the urge to use again and again. Counseling helps those people to escape the carvings for those substances. Cognitive behavioral therapy would be best in this case. CBT teaches how to recognize moods, thoughts and situations that fire up drug carving. Counselor teaches them how to avoid these triggers. This will help them replace negative thoughts and feelings with healthy ones that will help them stay clean.

When student are adapting and coping up in the new setting with new people around the school and places they face difficulties and creates an excessive anxiety in their mind. Counselors can help them cope with different situations they tend to face in their school life. For example that can be related in our daily life like how should the students talk politely or relate the circumstances with their peers. It will give them perspective on how should they behave in certain scenarios. Difficulties in coping up with ones changing body during puberty period and stresses can also be dealt with the help from councilor. When we have a better knowledge of ourselves then we will be able to experience the freedom that we need in our life and then celebrate the uniqueness of individuals. This empowers us to make changes and build on our areas of strength and potentials. But youth these days has formed their imaginary self in the world of illusion and they are not able to discover their potentials and strength. They often find themselves lost and not able to deal with challenges in life. As asserted by Srivastava (n.d) “research shows that self awareness is directly related to both emotional intelligence and success.”

Whenever the students face such issues they should be referred to counselors because counselors can help them the best. Counselor can help them choose the right path to pursue the opportunities that best fit their skills, preferences and abilities. It helps them create achievable goals because they are aware of their strength and potentials. It leads them to greater personal and interpersonal success. For example the school offers wide range of courses and co-curricular activities. Counselors role come here to help students distribute their energies into the learning opportunities available to them. Every student needs help in planning their major course of study and pattern of co-curricular activities. Some students are indecisive. They can never come to conclusion or one decision. It will have impact on their career choice as well due to limited knowledge regarding job trend and indecisive nature of them. Career counseling helps students understand themselves, as well as work trends so that they can be informed about it. As Kabir (2017) stated that “Counselor provides information, clarifies and sorts out personal characteristics and emotions, and even attitudes affecting decision making.” Schools in Bhutan have career class as well which is especially meant for classes 10 and 12. This is a time of many changes taking place in their life such as transitioning from school to college and it is also a time when career decisions are made. Students who do not qualify for Government College and are not able to afford college on their own then they will have to make a career decision. If they are given career education during schools then it will help them pick the right career based on their qualification and interests. It will bring stability in their thought and helps remove career related frustration.

Counseling is very important aspect in our education system. With the work and art of the counseling, many People have a notion that counseling is advice giving. According to my view counseling with skepticism notion such as it does not work; kid would be pampered or spoiled by counseling. In one of the study, Khakpoor (1998, as cited in Alavi, 2012, p. 4788) found out that 2.7 percent of the examined counselors suffered from severe exhaustion and 10 percent of them suffered from slight to average exhaustion. Kuenga Dem shares her experience as a counselor in her research ‘addressing the complexities and challenges of the school counseling community in Bhutan through a critical narrative inquiry’ as very difficult in convincing her principal and colleagues. She mentions about the heavy workload being a lone counselor in the school. Almost every school in Bhutan has only one counselor each. It is difficult to manage alone where there are at least one thousand students in the school. She also points out about the limited skills possessed by school counselors.

“It was more intense whenever I came across a situation where problem of the client seem beyond my capacity or comprehension. In such time, I remained helpless as I did not have any other expert counselors for consultation nor supervision and undermined the quality of my service to the clients” (Dem, 2017, p.13).

However to overcome the challenges and issues first of all counselors should be competent enough with skills and knowledge. They should posses all the basic skills and techniques to help the client or students if in school. For this purpose counselors should be given frequent professional development trainings to enhance their skills. Whiston and Sexton (1998) suggest that counselors should be excluded from leadership role and should be responsible for non-school counseling duties because students should be open enough to share their inner self for the counselors to have appropriate decisions for client. This is because to reduce their work load and help they focus on client. In order to encourage students to avail counseling services they should be convinced that whatever is being discussed between counselor and they will be kept confidential and counselor is well trained to create a safe therapeutic environment with unconditional positive regard and a nonjudgmental atmosphere. Counselor should make them understand that their role is to help them and not judge them.

Therefore, school counselor brings a positive impact in their student’s lives which help them to realize and to see positive change in themselves. Counseling is a learning process in which a counselor helps an individual or individuals learn, understand themselves and their environment and be in a position to choose the right type of behaviors that will help them develop, grow, progress, ascend, mature and step up, educationally, vocationally and socio personally (Egbo, 2013). The counseling program plays an effective role in school climate and in advancing student’s achievements. Education is a major social service and development process in developed and developing countries. Along with the growth and expansion of the education services, the guidance and counseling services as part of this are increasingly being deployed. Today, present practitioners can readily develop a mind set to recognize, understand, manage and contain the challenges in counseling practices in the school context.


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  6. Kabir, S.M.S. (2017). Essentials of Counseling. A bosar Prokashana Sangstha, ISBN: 978-984-8798-22-5, Banglabazar, Dhaka-1100.
  7. Mclaughlin, T.F., &Vacha, E.F. (1993). Substance abuse prevention in the schools: Roles for the school counselor. Elementary School Guidance & Counseling, 28, 124-132.
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  9. Whiston, S. C., & Sexton, T. L. (1998). A review of school counseling outcome research: Implications for practice. Journal of Counseling and Development, 76, 412-426.
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