It is third term, a promotional term to the next class, and candidates focus on their next education level requiring sufficient excellence. Parents and guardians ensure timely clearance of fees so that nothing may come between the learner’s concentration and their terminal achievement. Teachers strategize to enhance each learner’s potential for excellence. Administrators ensure no stampede develops negative energy against the year’s harvest. The short stressful term grips tight on all the stakeholders in school.
Age, training, experience are among factors which differentiate how we respond to stress. Responses range from constructive, palliative to destructive (the dreaded response directed to either self, others or property, often manifesting in behavior). Institutions ingrain counseling systems in organograms to manage psychosocial needs. Some, lacking specialized counselors, a requirement by the ministry of Education and Sports, have either assigned the role to the Chaplain (if existent), the Careers Teacher, the Senior Man/Woman Teachers, the Deans/ Wardens/ Matrons/ Preceptors or sometimes any other teacher with or without specialized training in guidance and counseling. In other institutions, no one is specified to attend the role. So anyone is at liberty to approach anybody for a confidant through a given challenge.
Stressors may be ignited at school or retrospective from home. The school environment fuels them up or suppresses them. A failure to overcome evil with good (Romans 12: 21) has often resulted into indiscipline, suspension, expulsion, low grades, punishment, fines, abuse, moral decadence and suicide among others. Building a counseling system is a stitch in time. Visiting counselors or counseling psychologists may routinely support peer counselors and para counselors for serenity.
Abuse is apparent in our institutions, often perpetuated by those who stand in positions of trust (as counselors). The rapidly deteriorating moral standards necessitate these guidelines for personnel who must counsel clients of the opposite gender or those of the same gender as the counselor yet with expressive traits of wooing for homosexuality.
- Have company of your spouse, church leader or other trusted staff when calling on the counselee of opposite gender.
- When counseling a client of opposite gender in office, leave the door ajar or better, use outdoors.
- Desist from counseling a client who desires counseling within a car or under clandestine circumstances.
- If a client manifests affection and mourns that his/her spouse/ boyfriend/ girlfriend or parent does not love them neither sympathizes with them, do not try to supply this lack. Keep your sympathy to yourself. Point such counselees to the Burden Bearer, the true and safe Counselor (1 Peter 5: 7).
- Keep your hands off the opposite gender. A pat or slight squeeze anywhere, innocent though your intentions may be, will spark a disastrous chain of events.
- Choose words carefully. Frivolous conversation, seemingly innocent at first, leads to problems later. Joking is used to break down barriers!
- Discourage counselees from divulging details of sinful episodes they experienced.
- Rebuke the client of opposite gender who praises your smartness, holding your hand as long as they can retain it in their own.
- Never divulge any of your failings, secrets, or the intimate personal details of your own intimate/marriage relationship.
- Direct clients of opposite gender with sexual problems to a counselor of similar gender (for schools with both male and female counselor), your spouse (in a church setting) or some competent teacher/ staff of your opposite gender known to be spiritually sound.
The Writer, Elina Nakayima Rwanga is Leader of Young Women for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Uganda. Young Women regional Leaders across the nation are committed to partner with institutions in worthy mentorship of the learners in our institutions and in our communities.
Tel. +256 777 865628