Explained: Should schools encourage weekly counseling sessions in academic settings?

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By India Today Web Desk: The advice is an expert opinion. The primary motive behind school-level counseling is to meet the emotional, social, and behavioral needs of students.

And to create a homogeneous and friendly environment to help each of them with different approaches.

All children would be helped if they were supported with strategies for making and keeping friends (social and relationship skills), managing strong emotions (self-management with strategies), adding perspectives and accepting points of view through social consciousness.

Anticipate a situation and work on it. Kindness, gratitude, and a growth mindset are skills and life qualities that every child should slowly develop. All students are in a school counselor’s overview. Regular weekly counseling sessions for a class, the entire student population is required. Students’ unmet mental health needs can be a significant barrier to students’ academic, professional, and social/emotional development and even compromise school safety.

School counselors advocate for the mental health needs of all students by providing instruction that enhances mental health awareness, assessment, and academic, career, and social/emotional development; short-term counseling interventions; and referrals to licensed therapists outside of school for long-term support.

It would be great if there was a school counselor for every class, or for every hundred children, but the best thing to do is to systematically reinforce the life skills of the youngest until they are in high school. Ideally, a trusted adult classroom teacher will lead the SEL lessons and help children become a “better version of themselves”.

Although school counselors do not provide long-term mental health therapy in schools, they do provide a school counseling program designed to meet the developmental needs of all students. In this program, school counselors work with other educators and community service providers to meet the needs of the whole child.

A counseling session on a weekly basis tends to cover the following:

1. Implement educational guidance programs that promote the academic, professional and social/emotional success of all students.

2. Giving instructions to raise awareness about mental health; promotes positive and healthy behaviors; and seeks to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health issues.

3. Meeting the academic, professional and social/emotional needs of students.

4. increased disciplinary problems at school, problems at home or with family situation (eg, stress, trauma, divorce)

5. Teacher communication about issues in school related to existing mental health issues

6. Provide short-term mental health counseling, such as grief or difficult transitions.

Have a dedicated, scheduled lesson on SEL (social and emotional learning skills). A weekly program would slowly build on life skills. SEL classes are taken by a classroom teacher, which includes regular emotional check-up, mindfulness to be calm and in control, and activity to build on, from self-awareness to social awareness.

Life skills are an empowerment system that has five components. They start with self-knowledge, to know themselves better, their strengths and their weaknesses; leading to the management of these emotions through self-management skills, which leads to responsible decision-making, knowing right from wrong, and taking responsibility for the decisions made.

Relationship skills are learned when communication, empathy, and responsible decision-making occur. By learning and mastering all these life skills, the child or adolescent finally looks at the problems faced by the world around him and becomes socially aware.

Life skills ensure cognitive, socio-emotional, emotional health and academic success. Learning life skills builds self-esteem, reduces rates of mental illness or chronic stress, and improves attitudes toward and success in the world around them.

There are five core skills and sub-skills that students need to thrive.

1. Self-awareness
2. Self-management
3. Responsible decision-making
4. Social awareness
5. Relationship skills

SELF-AWARENESS

Self-awareness is the ability to identify and evaluate thoughts, feelings, and values, and how they interact with behavior. Children can identify their strengths and weaknesses with a balance of accuracy and positivity by recognizing their stress triggers while appreciating their hardworking personality.

After assessing their strengths and weaknesses, the goal is to create a “growth mindset”. Students with strong self-awareness skills generally make better choices that reflect ethics and altruism than those without life skills training.

Self-knowledge skills include:

I. Identify emotions
ii. Accurate self-perception
iii. Self-confidence
iv. Recognize strengths
v. Self-efficacy

SELF MANAGEMENT

Along with self-management skills, children also have a greater capacity for stress management and impulse control, as well as self-motivation. Beyond emotional self-regulation, self-management also encompasses positive goal setting; develop willpower, organizational skills and daily habits.
Self-management sub-skills include:

I. Personal motivation
ii. Stress management
iii. Goal setting
iv. Pulse control
v. self discipline
vi. Organisational skills

RESPONSIBLE DECISION-MAKING

Responsible decision-making is the ability to make positive and constructive choices about your behavior and social interactions. These decisions are based on situational factors such as personal morality, safety concerns, or prosocial behavior.

Responsible decision-making sub-skills include:

I. Analyze situations
ii. Evaluation of results
iii. Identify and solve problems
iv. Personal reflection
v. Ethical responsibility

SOCIAL SKILLS

Relationship skills teach children how to get along and make meaningful connections with the people in their lives. They can communicate, listen, validate their emotions, resist social pressures, and use conflict resolution methods, among other social skills. Another crucial part of this skill is learning to ask for or offer help when needed.

Relational sub-skills include:

I. Verbal and non-verbal communication
ii. Team work
iii. Social engagement
iv. Relationship building

SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS

Interpersonal skills and social awareness go hand in hand. Social awareness is the ability to take the point of view of others and empathize with them, as well as to learn social and ethical behavior.

Social conscience also implies an awareness of and tolerance towards diversity of origins. This appreciation can come from the recognition of similarities but also from the respect of possible differences.

Social awareness sub-skills include:

I. Empathy
ii. perspective taking
iii. The respect of others
iv. Diversity Awareness

HOW LIFE SKILLS DRIVE CHILDREN’S SUCCESS

I. Work towards a better version of yourself
ii. Develop confidence and self-esteem
iii. Less emotional distress

Storytelling sessions should be part of life skills lessons. Bullying rates drop when students learn to regulate their feelings and behaviors. Using the five essential life skills helps children thrive throughout their lives.

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