Elementary Counsellor

What is the role of the Elementary Itinerant Counsellor?

 The focus of the Elementary Itinerant Counsellor is to enhance student development, create an enabling school culture, and empower students toward positive change.

The Elementary Itinerant Counsellor provides a continuum of preventative, developmental, remedial and intervention services and programs, and facilitates the referral to community resources. The counsellor’s role includes counselling and school-based consultation, co-ordination and education. The counsellor does not discipline, but rather helps in the development of effective behavioural change.

The counsellor:Promotes personal and social development appropriate to developmental stages;

Counsels students, their families and the community to foster growth in the students’ self esteem, individual responsibility, and in skills such as decision-making and social skills;

Ameliorates factors which may precipitate problems for students;

Enhances students’ educational achievement through goal setting, assisting with the development of IEPs and activities such as promotion of effective work and study habits;

Provides appropriate interventions to assist students with school-related problems and issues;

Facilitates the goals of career education by assisting students and their families to explore and clarify the student’s career options, through developmental activities that stress decision-making, personal planning and career awareness (at the Secondary level)

The following information was taken from the Ministry of Education’s document “Special Education Services: A Manual of Policies, Procedures and Guidelines”(2013).

Counselling is Confidential

The counsellor provides a confidential, safe, non-judgmental environment where a therapeutic relationship can be formed to facilitate emotional healing, empowerment toward positive change, development of coping strategies, and awareness of developmental issues.  Confidentiality means that what a child talks about and shares in session is private between the counsellor and the child.  This statement applies equally to interview notes, test data, and any other documents used to assist in the counselling process.  Notes are to be kept as part of the counsellor’s record, but not part of the records kept in the office of the school.

Confidentiality is one of the most important components of counselling.  The exceptions to confidentiality are as follows:

Exceptions:

  1. Consent: With the consent of the student, the counsellor may divulge information received through the counselling relationship.
  2. Potential Harm: If behaviour of the student threatens potential harm to him/herself or another person, the counsellor shall take appropriate action to protect the student and/or the other person.
  3. Child Protection: A counsellor who has reason to believe that a child is or might be in need of protection shall forthwith report the information to the appropriate authorities in accordance with legal obligations pursuant to child protection legislation.
  4. Consultation and Collaboration: A counsellor may consult and collaborate with other professionals for purposes of more effectively helping the student. The teacher-counsellor shall share only such information that will serve the best interests of the student.
  5. Legal Requirements: A counsellor may be required to provide records in compliance with the law.

Informed consent for counselling

In School District No. 83, parental permission is required for elementary and middle school aged students to see a school counsellor on an ongoing basis.  A secondary aged student has the right to seek counselling support without a parent’s expressed consent.

Qualifications

Counsellors must possess a Master’s degree in Counselling Psychology or a related field from an institution recognized by the College of Teachers, with training in school counselling theory and techniques.  School counsellors must also possess a professional teaching certificate, and be full members of the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation and College of Teachers.

Access to school counselling services

If you feel your child could benefit from counselling services, please contact the school directly.

Mental Health Resources

In addition to school counsellors, School District No. 83 work with many community agencies to support positive mental health for students.  Community agencies can provide families with support and intervention for mental health concerns.  Families should access these agencies directly.  If a parent has a concern about their child’s health, contacting their family doctor is always a recommended place to start.