In this assignment, we will find out what methods are used for counselling in primary schools and what methods are really useful. There are many different ways of counselling in primary schools and one of them is play therapy. I am going to discuss how kids react to play in situations and how their brain works and how play can help them demonstrate their issues and their attitudes and behaviors towards specific situations and as per their response a counselor can derive a conclusion and plan his or her work on that basis.
Counselling is a process that helps an individual look into his or her own self by the help of counsellor that they somehow are not able to look at. Counselling is also a process that helps an individual change his or her behaviors and attitudes that are challenging in their present life or possibly their future. Primary school counselling is a process that helps students overcome their social, psychological and educational challenges that can affect their future. School counselling plays a critical role in helping student solve their issues and concentrate on their studies and choose the stream that would possibly work best for them as per their interest and hobbies and their skills.1
A counsellor is a psychological doctor in learning the nature of a human being and learning about the issues or problems they must be facing in their lives just like a medical doctor tries to understand and help solve physical issues. A counsellor is professionally trained to diagnose people, predict and understand the situation, interpret the trouble that someone is dealing with and not understanding and able to fix it, and plans a solution that can fix the issue for the future of the individual. It is best if the issue is detected and counselled at an early age so that when a child is growing up, he is not suffering with poor mental health. This is why school counselling is considered an important element. School counselling helps improve and evaluate the psychological health and fitness of a child.2
Another reason behind primary school counselling is to guide and assist kids in a direction that is right and which they can benefit from in their later life. When we look at the example of Mental treatment facilities and prisons in Nigeria, they are full of individuals who had issues and questions in the early part of their life and if they would have been helped out and guided, their situation would have been so much better. If someone is guided properly at an early age, many crimes and issues from major to minor like gun shooting, lout and thug, riots, drug addiction, abusive behavior, bullying or issues like these can be controlled. These issues are the outcome of many untreated social, psychological, educational or broken family issues that have been left untreated in the early years of an individual and when that person is guided or helped with these issues he/she acts such.3
Primary school counsellors help children focus on their hidden skills and evaluate it and flourish themselves by the strength of that skill or quality. Many children experience issues like depression, broken families, abusive parent/s, trust and relationship issues, medical issues, frustration, lack of emotional needs, bullying and so on.4
Play therapy in Primary school aims to provide assistance in psychological, emotional, behavioral, social and physical development. Play therapy involves toys. Different types of toys are used to interpret different types of behaviors and natures of different kids. In Primary School, children themselves are not matured and comfortable enough to discuss their issues with the therapist or counsellor. Teachers usually collaborate with the counsellor and they work together to solve issues of kids and find out what type of nature they possibly have. Young children can’t usually describe their feelings and emotions in words rather play method can really be helpful to find out how they demonstrate things and then a conclusion can be derived accordingly. Children play what they are thinking, how they are thinking, how they see people around them behave, how they see people close to them and around them react to different situations and how they are treated on their actions. It is easier to diagnose and solve issues and guide young kiddos in appropriate way at an early age, so that they can have a good understanding of what is right and what not.
Many studies have been conducted to see what are the conclusions of these play therapies and almost all researches and studies found out that play therapy is a long term process but it does make difference in the behavior of kids. e.g. kids showing tantrums due to attention deficiency, lack of emotional support, rebellion, bullying, etc. Play therapy not only reduces such aggressive behavior from kids, but also reduces the tension and stress from parents.5
A play therapist observes a child playing with toys. Let’s look at a couple of examples below.
- Kids being in abusive households or being rebelled most of the times – when such kids are given permission to play with toys, they go to guns and stuff because of the anger and aggressiveness built in them.
- A boy growing up in an household where men don’t study much and he is said that even if you get low marks, it is okay, no need to take stress and he tries to keep distance from books and school environment and feels like it is okay not to study because that gives stress.
- A little girl being sexually harassed, picks up a doll and undresses the doll and does what has happened with her with the doll and the therapist immediately gets the problem.6
These problems affect the psychological issues and they are inter connected with their impact on studies. That is why counselling is an essential part of schooling and more importantly primary school.
Kids are emotionally very tender when they are little, they pick up things very fast and they act upon the things they see around them. They act just how they are being treated. And they cannot verbalize every emotion. So it becomes necessary for us to find out what is making them nervous or why do they act in a particular way and counselling in primary schools help a lot with filtering negative effects from kids.
- British Journal of Education – Vol.3 No.6 July 2015 Need for Guidance and Counselling At The Primary School Level : Early Intervention Strategies for School Children. Page 3-4 By Dr. John O. E. Egbo
- IOU – Guidance and Counselling (EDU 206) Modules 7-8 slides : Why the Primary School Child needs Counselling – pages 16-19
- Thespark.org.uk – Children + Young people : Counselling in Primary Schools
- British Journal of Education – Vol.3 No.6 July 2015 Need for Guidance and Counselling At The Primary School Level : Early Intervention Strategies for School Children. Page 13-17 By Dr. John O. E. Egbo
- Whiteswanfoundation.org – Healing through play : How does play therapy work