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IMPACT OF THE COUNSELLING DEPARTMENT

Background information

Counseling-refers to helping process that uses the safety of a special relationship between the counselor and the counselee-who together explore the thoughts, feelings and counselor attitudes of the counselee with the objective of tapping the resources within the counselee to effect healing and change.

 

Objectives

The project objective for counseling in Ruben school is being achieved as it was planned for the period it has been implemented. Counseling department main goal is to providing professional help to pupils with social and psychological needs within Ruben school and its environs. The services ranges from; group counseling therapy, formal counseling  services, life skills ,play therapy, information/education communication, HIV education, social and academic needs, behavior change and character modification, personal hygiene ,sanitation and self-awareness.

The core objective of counseling department is to enhance the moral, social, educational and spiritual wellbeing of Ruben school children.

Role of the counselor

The school counselor is an integral system support for the school-family, community relationship that meet the personal/social, academic, and other needs of a large number of students, parents and the entire community.

Apart from school the counselor offers services to parents, social cases clients referred by the social workers, patients from the clinic, give seminars to special need parents and Vocational training department.

Presenting issues

The evaluations from intake files and the face-to-face interview with the pupils in Ruben School has presented feelings of apathy, fear and secrecy because the presenting problem on record shows other issues, but on exploration, in therapy, it has been evident that, the main problem this kids are experiencing  is abuse of different forms. One of the characteristics of an abused child is fear of expressing self and anxiety. Hence the presenting problems come out in form of behaviors like:

·         Truancy and poor school performance

·         School related problems e.g. drug abuse at school, teacher student relationship.

·         Poor relationship with parents/ aggression/attention seeking

·         Thieving which was rampant in second term

·         Adolescence problems/ personal growth

·         Sickness like headache

·         Sexual, physical, child neglect and emotional abuse

Others presenting issues from adults

ü  Domestic violence/ marital issues

ü  Rejection/ Relationship related issues

ü  Poor parenting/low self-esteem

ü  Financial/economic drain

ü  Suicidal/suicidal attempt

ü  Bereavement, PTSD and stress related issues

ü  Violence

 

Counseling Session;

According to the annual counselling report covering From 15th June, 2016- November 2016, the total number of sessions held were 611, these included;

203 Pupils Individual child counseling between the ages of 7-16 years, 6 Group counseling between 8-12 clients, 207 Grade 7 parents seminar on parenting, 100 parents individual counseling, 28 special needs parents (workshop/seminar) July and November, 25 vocational training students 1 hour every Monday, 16 adults referred by the social workers, 11 cases referred by the hospital administration manager, 15 Teachers from Mukuru informal schools during one day workshop in the month of September 2017.

Other Areas

Apart from normal sessions that are carried out when school is on the following are some of the sessions that I undertake during school holidays

·         Mentorship programme in collaboration with guidance and counseling for teachers.

·         August and November holiday programme for primary and high school students with attendance of an average of 150 students.

·         Net-working with other organization would go a long way in helping in referrals e.g. Wangu Kanja Foundation; on domestic violence cases, police referrals, child welfare officer.

·         Home visits with an aim of family counseling/re-uniting the clients with their families etc.

·         Hospital visit and referrals e.g. two cases we refereed to Mathari Mental Hospital,

·         Intervention of two cases in collaboration with Kenyatta National Hospital social workers.

Methodology used

·         Individual counseling, small group counseling and classroom settings.

·         Play therapy

·         Showing informative and relevant DVDs to support a given topic of discussion

·         Life skills

·         Academic excellence

Collaborators

·         School administration

·         Class teachers

·         Parents

·         Social workers

·         Other stakeholders

Achievements

Counseling is a vital therapy that helps an individual to feel cared for and important, for instance when pupils undergo counseling, they feel closer to the teacher thereby establishing a teacher to student relationship, and they also realize the consequences of his or her misbehavior, in the process positive discipline is ensured.

It also helps the pupil to develop competencies in academic achievement, personal and social development, as well as developing the necessary skills, such as organizational, time management, communication skills, rise of self-concept/self-awareness, and confidence among the pupils. Some children have reported a feeling of being in a friendly school, safe environment and being protected.

As guidance and counseling team, we have helped some pupils/parents to overcome obstacles that that have been barriers to learning by helping them respond to issues such as death in their family, separation etc., as well as developmental issues, typically childhood and adolescence. And also after evaluation as an office we have noticed the following: a healthy teachers/parent/child relationship is on progress, adhering and fostering child protection rights, and in addition there was a 2 site child-welfare team that attended the child protection workshop at Demese Spirituality Centre organized by the Christian brothers.

There were home visits and family counseling. Another achievement was the successful April and August mentorship program for both primary and high school students which positively impacted on the students.

Team work being an essential way of achieving objectives, in our program we worked together as a team with other educators to ensure that the school counseling program helps fulfill the mission and vision of the  school, as` well as its goals.

To provide solutions to help curb rates of school failure and dropout by addressing broader contexts that includes personal, social, emotional development.

Confer with the teachers and parents to evaluate children’s strength, problem, or special needs.

I have worked directly with pupils/parents through individual and small group counseling.

Offering counseling for Vocational training students in areas of self-awareness, sexuality, risk behavior and other related topics. And we had successful cases of re-uniting family members in Nairobi, Machakos and Kisumu.

 

 SUCCESS STORY

Ruben Centre has been taking care of various community needs, this time reaching out to a new Partner- Mwangaza Rehab Centre for young boys between the ages of 14-18 years who are under drugs.

After attending Partners Meeting in the month of May this year, 2017, Ruben Centre was given 6 slots for boys using drugs, between the mentioned ages, who are willing to be helped through rehabilitation program.

Back to the community, we announced this free service to Ruben Parents during school meetings, we too met individual parents who had shared with the Counselling Office of the challenges their sons are going through, lastly, the interested boys who came to register with the Counselling Office, as well shared with their friends whom they are in the same problem. So the boys were coming to see Sisters for this help.

After sharing with each boy, we were bringing the parent in, helped the parent to understand without putting pressure on son so as to provide the necessary support. We prepared the right documents needed at Mwangaza: letter from the chief to acknowledge that this boy comes from his location, a photocopy of parents ID, and a referral letter from referring agent, that is Ruben Centre Counselling Office. Then we were given the reporting date which was 17/7/2017. 

At 10am, all the boys were at Ruben ready with their parents who were to accompany them to the Rehabilitation Centre to go knowing where the boys were to be for 6 months. 

On arrival, we were well received and boys were done some checks in case they had money, drugs or any other unaccepted thing. Admission was done and boys became officially part of Mwangaza family.

A meeting was done between Mwangaza staffs and Ruben parents to know each other and to be told what is expected during the rehabilitation period. One boy disappeared from the rehabilitation Centre as soon as the parents left for home. The parents and our counselor were advised to get the boy some medication in order to assist him to calm down and they were able to return him to the rehabilitation Centre.

We later left the boys happy and looking forward for a new future, a new life.

Evaluation of Counseling Intervention Outcome

Through the sessions the children are able to understand that their feelings, behaviour and physiological well-being are derived from their thoughts. Therefore they learn how to identify thoughts that are irrational.  Majority are able to start smiling again, and willing to talk about their issues without any difficulty. Some have showed remarkable improvement.

The counselling services at school have increased the coping ability in the students, helps in rooting out mental traumas, problems, helps in establishing healthy relationships with the family members, teachers and friends.

In area of sex education and transition the counselor helped the pupils in understanding the changes that is happening to them with the age and thus helps them in adapting to it. It also helps in the development of behavior and character.

In the sessions the counselor used the core skills of congruency, listening, empathy and being non-judgmental in order to make the clients feel accepted. Other techniques used included active listening, body language, tone, open ended and closed questions, paraphrasing, summarizing and homework.  In addition, considering the fact that one might not see the client on a weekly basis, solution focused therapy is also used to meet the client’s needs especially those referred from the clinic.

The conducive environment given, a well-equipped counselling room and self-driven working condition, support from the School management and overall Centre manager contributed to the holistic achievement and wellbeing of all involved. 

 Future objective

·         To Network-with other learning institutions in Mukuru community

·         To open support groups in the community

·         To organize more parenting counseling

·         To Mentor the children to promote Advocacy, networking and increase life skill awareness

·         Reaching out to parents with special children

·         More home visits/family counseling

·         To hold parents/children meetings and follow up

 

Conclusion

The children in schools especially the adolescence find it difficult to cope with the challenges that come due to their physical, psychological and emotional changes coupled with the rapid changes in the society. It is often difficult for them to make formative decisions. Since the traditional setting is no longer in place. Therefore it is necessary to assist young people to be able to deal with challenges and realities they face in their ever changing environment, understand themselves, their academic social and physical environment, realize their potentials, as well as identify opportunities.The impact is huge and the success stories are what keeps us going.

Report compiled by- School counselor