ERG SES D 02, Psychology and Education
Counseling services emerged as a "vocational guidance" movement in the late nineteenth century (Ozguven, 1990). Psychological counselors who work for many years in the schools are sometimes perceived as a doctor, sometimes a teacher, sometimes an officer, sometimes a member of a disciplinary board. The confusion of identity causes the client to fail to provide quality services. It does not only lead to an identity dissatisfaction for the consultant, but also poses an academic threat to the students. In this study, schools in lstanbul were determined as the sample population and the periods of participants' experience were taken into account. In this research, the problem of psychological counselor’s role and identity confusion are addressed. Psychological counsellors aim to deal with social and emotional obstacles related to students' learning process. Some students have emotional and behavioral difficulties with self-control in their social relationships. Moreover, during the high school period, school counselors lay the groundwork for career development so that high school counselors direct their students to plan their path to the business world (Grimes, Bright, & Whitley, 2017). So, students need psychological help for academic achievement (Vail, 2005). However psychological counselors are often drowned in off-duty tasks and cannot fulfill their actual duties such as individual session because of the problems like identity confusion. Also, counselors should not do any extra jobs that are beyond their job description to serve effectively (Yuksel-Sahin, 2008).
The task definition of the psychological counselling profession is not still clear in some societies. There are differences between the definitions of "guide teacher" and "psychological counsellor." In addition to identity confusion, school managements might have insufficient information about the definition of duties and responsibilities, and this may damage the relationships with counselors and management. Some prejudicial expressions such as "doing nothing", "just sitting in the consultancy room", "not entering the classroom" trigger professional alienation and put counselors in a defensive position (Cokomay, Kapci, & Sever, 2017). Moreover, systematic progress will not take place unless an unprejudiced understanding is basically emphasized (Baker, 2011).
Another reason why counseling services cannot be provided at a sufficient level is due to the lack of support from management and school staff. In addition to that, the inadequacy and imbalance in the distribution of psychological counselors to schools are still a significant issue (Yuksel-Sahin, 2008). The other findings like in China are also supporting this study. There is a shortage of psychological consultants in the population. In China, a psychological consultant serves approximately 1360 students (Wang, Ni, Ding, & Yi, 2014). In Turkey, some subject teachers were assigned as psychological counselors, and this caused injustice and poor quality of service. Such practices also cause psychological counseling and guidance services to be perceived as ordinary services (Yuksel-Sahin, 1997). Eliminating the existing chaos and deficiencies in the system is crucial for the future of the new generation of students.
Purpose of the study
According to ACA code of ethics, counselors must to enhance the quality of life in society by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession. Regarding the quality of service in developed countries, the underlying causes are likely to be sociological rather than political. As in Italy, the development of counseling perception has been greatly influenced by location, history, peoples, religious heritage, culture, politics and living conditions (Remley Jr., Bacchini, and Krieg, 2010). The aim of this study is to create universal awareness, focus on the role of high school counselors by finding answers to these questions;
- What is the role of psychological counselors in schools?
- What are the needs of psychological counselors for a better quality of service?
The design of this study was a qualitative research tradition. Psychological counselors from five different high schools volunteered to participate in this research and answered the open-ended interview questions. Comprehensive interview questions on professional satisfaction, effective service, acquired duties and relational attitudes were prepared. Some topics in the interviews are as follows: " Relationships with school staff and colleagues " Relations with administration " Effective service " Vocational rights " Satisfaction of academic credentials These questions were reviewed by experts and psychological counselors who did not participate in the research. Moreover, this interview method was helpful to address the issues in-depth, and to develop relationship (it increases mutual understanding and cooperation between parties). Convenience sampling method was used in this research. The reason for choosing this method was mostly about the difficulty in getting into schools and having permission to talk openly. Some psychological counselors refuse to participate in the interview due to confidential concerns and administrative pressure. So far five psychological counselors participated in the study and 30 pages of qualitative data have been collected along with visitation notes. Obtained data were analyzed by content analysis, and patterns are emerging.
Preliminary findings show that most of the problems are derived from the confusing effects of teacher identity on psychological counselors, the disagreements with administration and inadequate, unsatisfactory working conditions. In addition, unbalanced distribution and inadequacy in schools were observed in psychological counselors. According to the findings, administrators, as well as the school staff and the teachers, are approaching the psychological counseling profession with prejudice. For instance, psychological counselors who has been doing this profession for a long time complain about the position they are in, and the problems they have experienced with the administration as well as their unclear identity. Participants reported that the problems and views of the past have not changed greatly. They remarked in a striking way that they tried to do her job under difficult conditions. Psychological counseling profession now includes school counseling, community counseling, mental health rehabilitation counseling, marriage and family counseling, career counseling, gerontology counseling. So, just as in the USA, psychological counselors should be named according to their job descriptions in every institution like school psychological counselors, not the guidance teacher (Ozguven,1990). Another critical issue that needs to be addressed is the out-of-field assignments. One of the participants gave a disappointing example about a 'counselor 'who was not trained as a psychological counselor and have a student with a hearing impairment. Because of some misunderstanding and communication difficulties, it caused a disabled person to be exposed to malpractice. For in order to avoid such malpractices, true guidance, and commitment to ethical rules, those who are well-educated, qualified and graduated from the field should be assigned and constantly evaluated. When the data collected are complete and analyses are concluded by the conference date, more in-depth discussion and implications will be offered.
American Counseling Association (ACA). (2014). ACA code of ethics. Alexandria, VA: Author. Baker, S. B. (2011). The state of primary prevention in the American school counseling profession: Past, present, and future. Turkish Psychological Counseling & Guidance Journal, 4(36), 105-113. Cokomay, G., & Kapci, E., & Sever, M. (2017) Problems Encountered on School Mental Health Services: School Psychological Counselors' Opinions. Elementary Education Online, 16(4): 1395-1406 Grimes,L.E., Bright,S., Whitley,N.C., (2017).Why the work?: School Counselors and Their Role in Helping P-12 Students Learn About the World of Work by. Career Planning & Adult Development Journal, 2017-Section 2: Clinical Considerations for Understanding an Individual's Work Purpose Chapter 5 -S1 Malikiosi-Loizos, M. & Ivey, A. E. (2012) Counseling in Greece. Journal of Counseling & Development, 90, 113-118. Özguven, E. (1990). The past and the present of psychological counseling and guidance activities in our country. Journal of psychological counseling and guidance, 1(1), 4-15. Remley, T. P., Jr., Bacchini, E., & Krieg, P. (2010). Counseling in Italy. Journal of Counseling and Development, 1, 2010 Vail, K. (2005). What do counselors do? As programs face the budget ax, school counselors work to show how they promote student success. American School Board Journal, 192(8), 24. Yuksel-Sahin, F. (1997) Effect of communication skills, F.(2008) Evaluation of Psychological Counseling and Guidance (PDR) services according to the opinions of students in secondary education. International journal of human sciences, 5(2). Yuksel-Sahin, F. (1997) Effect of communication skills training within a group upon communication skills levels of university student. Ankara: Gazi University Institute of Social Sciences (Publishing Ph.D. Thesis). Wang, C., Ni, H., Ding, Y., & Yi, C. (2015). Chinese teachers' perceptions of the roles and functions of school psychological service providers in Beijing. School Psychology International, 36(1), 77-93.
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