Counselling in post-primary schools - a teachers' perspective

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McHugh, Mary
Issue Date
BA Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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Adolescents experience several stresses in today's world. Counselling in post primary schools has shown to be beneficial in dealing with these various stresses. This in turn allows adolescents to focus better on their studies. Research in the UK has highlighted the importance of the receptivity of teachers in schools to the concept and practice of counselling. There is limited research in Ireland that examines teachers' attitudes towards the therapeutic aspect of counselling in schools. Therefore this study aimed to examine the attitude of teachers towards this aspect of counselling in post primary schools in Ireland. The researcher focused on the personal and social aspect of the guidance counsellor's role and the therapeutic counsellor's role. Six post primary school teachers, one male and five females participated in this study. A purposive and snowball sampling method was used. This study availed of a qualitative approach using semi-structured recorded interviews to gather data. The data was analysed using thematic analysis. The main findings of this study confirmed previous research on counselling in schools. It identified that most teachers were positive towards counselling and that it proved to be beneficial for their students and the school. This study highlighted problems such as lack of resources, training issues for teachers, confidentially issues, communication problems and abuse of the system by some students. It concludes that additional resources and training is needed to meet the demands in relation to the emotional and psychological wellbeing of students. Better communication methods and protocols in relation to confidentiality and the referral process are deemed necessary. Finally more research is needed on how other staff members, parents and students feel towards the counselling service in their school.