Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chapter 5: Current Trends and Issues in Guidance and Counseling

Among the many issues facing the school counseling profession are the following three: what are the professional title should be, how counselors should be evaluated, and to what extent counselors should work on prevention instead of remediation.

Professional Title. Some professional in the field prefer to be called guidance counselor, while an increasing number prefer the term  school counselor. The growing trend is for counselors to be seen as professionals in a large system, working fluidly with all aspects within the system. The expected duties are more extensive than those practiced by vocational guidance counselors of the past, hence the feeling of many school counselors that the name of the profession should reflect is expanded roles.

Evaluation. A major trend in education is the demand for accountability and evaluation. School counselors have not been immune to this demand.
1997 – the ASCA (American School Counselors’ Association) adopted the National Standards for Professional Counselors.
Prevention versus Remediation. The Growing trend in the field of counseling is the focus on prevention instead of remediation. In the past it was not uncommon for counselors to have interactions with students only after some crisis had occurred.
Gangs. Students as early as third grade are being taught gang-type activities. Students are more likely to end up in a gang family members and peers are already involved in gang activity. It is difficult for children once they have been actively involved.
Dropouts. In many metropolitan school districts, over 25 percent of students do not complete their high school education. Premature school termination is becoming an increasingly more difficult problem as more careers require education well beyond the high school level.
Teen Pregnancy. Teen pregnancy continues to be a social concern. Precipitating factors are visible prior to middle school. Counselors are often the liaison with community agencies that work to prevent student pregnancy and assist with students who do become pregnant.

Substance Abuse. Drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, continue to be a serious problem for youth. The counselors are also essential in developing substance abuse prevention programs in school.
School Violence. School violence can range from bullying to gunfire. Trainings are being given to teachers and students in cases of violence and establish violence prevention programs.
Diversity. Tolerance of diversity is an important goal in a multicultural society.
Child Abuse. Many states have mandatory reporting laws concerning child abuse.
Terrorism. During the 21st century it is an increasing problem worldwide and children are affected both in massive and small-scale acts.
How are other countries providing counseling? It is clear that school counseling has made significant progress in the United States. Political, social and cultural factors are deeply embedded in the way a given country addresses the educational needs of its populace.
Japan. The goal of the high school counseling is to help every student develop abilities of self-understanding, decision-making.
France. Secondary school counseling started in 1922 and by late 1930s was adopted by the educational system and seen as a necessary part of the institution.
Thailand. School counseling often incorporates advice-giving by teachers.
Europe. The Transnational Network of National Resource Centers for vocational guidance was established to share information, include businesses and social agencies, and improve counseling methods and materials.
Don C. Locke
Multicultural has been defined as the fourth force in psychology, one which complements the psychodynamic, behavioral and humanistic explanations of human behavior.
Pederson (1991) defines multiculturalism as “a wide range of multiple groups without grading, comparing, or ranking them as better or worse than one another and without denying the very distinct and complementary or even contradictory perspectives that each group brings with it”
In the narrower view, it is “the racial/ethnical minority groups within that culture”.
Regardless of how they define such term,  Hofstede (1994), identified four dimensions of cultures.
1.       Power
2.       Uncertainty Avoidance
3.       Individualism
4.       Masculinity/Femininity
The 1980s have witnessed a resurgence of interest in and demand for counseling services, particularly in the areas of mental health, family concerns, and adult agency counseling. Four critical issues brought up by that increased demand are: (1) computers in counseling; (2) students at risk; (3) pre-college guidance; and (4) career guidance. These are discussed in detail in this report. A review of research on the use of computer-assisted and computer-supported guidance shows the positive reactions of students and the ambivalent feelings of counselors. Three types of programs that have demonstrated effectiveness in dealing with at-risk pupils are discussed. Pre-college guidance is a short-changed area, despite the evidence that counseling interventions make a difference in who has access to college, who attends, and who stays in and does well. Areas in which guidance programs must be strengthened are discussed. The history of career development theory and practice, its roots and future are summarized. The major focuses of guidance and counseling in the near future are pinpointed [1]

There are a number of issues facing school guidance and counseling. Here are two.
1. The issue of Position v Program: Although most professional school counselors ascribe to the ASCA national model or at least use the common language associated within the model which describes guidance as a program, many school professionals--teachers and administrators view guidance from a position orientation. When viewed from a program orientation, school counselors have content to deliver that revolves around the academic, career, and personal/social development of all students, and a method to deliver that content through a guidance curriculum, individual planning, and responsive services. There is also a framework and structure to manage and evaluate the program through system support. When viewed from this perspective, guidance and counseling has a clear role to play in supporting the overall mission of a school. From a position orientation, you have a system where all sorts of duties may be assigned that may or may not have anything to do with the work of the school counselor. It is essential that we begin to understand guidance and counseling from a programmatic view that will address the academic, career, and personal/social development of all students and assist schools in improving student performance
2. Another issue is accountability Guidance programs have for too long have focused on process as evaluation--a summary of what school counselors do. It is an important aspect of evaluation as it helps programs stay focused on the important work of the school counselor. However, it needs to be taken a step further. We now need to address what IMPACT school counselors and their programs are having on relevant student behavior such as performance, attendance, behavior, etc. There is much work still to do in this area.[2]
There are characteristics of a good and effective counselor. They are as follows.
1.       Express respect for the client in a manner that is felt, understood, accepted, and appreciated by the client.
2.       Feel and express empathy for culturally different clients.
3.       Personalize his/her observations.
4.       Withhold judgment and remain objective until one has enough information and an understanding of the world of the client.
5.       Tolerate ambiguity.
6.       Have patience and perseverance when unable to get things done immediately.
The Multicultural Awareness Continuum (Locke, 1986) was designed to illustrate the areas of awareness through which a counselor must go in the process of counseling a culturally different client. The process consists of the following:
·         Self-Awareness

·         Awareness of one culture

·         Awareness of Racism, sexism and poverty.

·         Awareness of Individual Differences.

·         Awareness of the cultures.

·         Skills/Techniques



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