How to make the most of your Guidance Counsellor.

The role of the Guidance Counsellor must be the most misunderstood and undervalued of all the roles in the school.  My colleagues frequently comment on how my job must be so difficult as they wrongly assume I counsel students through their problems all day long. Counselling is an important aspect of the job but the remit of the Guidance Counsellor’s work stretches far beyond the realms of personal counselling.

Guidance Counsellors work within the boundaries of personal, educational and careers counselling; this in itself is a broad remit. They play an important advisory role in the management of the school but the main focus of this article is clarifying what service the Guidance Counsellor can provide directly to the students of the school.

Students are continuously reminded that the Guidance Counselling Department is an available supportive service for them to turn to but there is some confusion over ‘why’ a student would seek the assistance of the Guidance Counsellor. Due to  the need for confidentiality within the guidance role their seems to be a shroud of mystery cast over the work that Guidance Counsellors do. So let’s drop the shroud and reveal the many and varied reasons why a student may call to a Guidance Counsellor’s door. Consider some of the following areas that Guidance Counsellors are trained to work with students on and ask yourself ‘could I benefit with help working on these areas?’

  • Learning about yourself
  • Discovering your strengths and weakness
  • Exploring your careers interests, skills, values
  • Goal setting and motivation
  • Decision making
  • Subject choice
  • Choosing the correct Leaving Cert programme
  • Study – creating a study routine, learning study tips and techniques
  • Course and Career Exploration
  • Making a college application
  • Applying for an Educational Grant
  • Applying for Access routes to college (e.g.HEAR/DARE)
  • Writing up a CV
  • Interview skills
  • Work experience placement
  • Exploring the jobs market
  • Job application

These are some of the most common areas that Guidance Counsellors are skilled to work in. Now can you find a reason to make an appointment with your Guidance Counsellor?

As well as having expert knowledge in these areas Guidance Counsellors also organise trips to college Open Days, Careers Fairs, arrange for guest speakers from industries or from colleges and universities to speak to students, administer aptitude assessments and interpret results,  and the list goes on. As you can see the role of the Guidance Counsellor is extremely varied and multi-layered.

There are so many exciting aspects to the role that I feel confused when my colleagues refer to it as an emotionally draining job. On the contrary I feel it is invigorating and exciting. Meeting new people and helping them to learn about themselves must be one of the most rewarding jobs one could be in.  So allow your Guidance Counsellor to help you. Make that appointment and start your journey of inner exploration to find the information you need to make decisions to move on in your life and start your career journey.

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