The Role of the Counsellor
In Sweden all schools have a counsellor who works with students and staff. The counsellor’s main task is to promote a good psycho-social work environment for students in the school. Activities include work to prevent bullying and to promote effective communication. The Counsellor aims to support the achievement of a balanced school life for all students.
A lot of the counsellor’s work involves conversation. The talks can take place with individual students, with student groups or classes, with parents and with staff. The talks can be off different nature. The talks may be supportive, motivating or about feelings and thoughts that students may have.
School counsellor is bound by confidentiality, which means that he or she cannot tell anyone what was said during the talks. The counsellor can only share information with teacher or other authorities, e.g. BUP if there is an agreement with the student or/and parents. The counsellor can have talks with a student without consent from the parents if the student is 12 years old and depending how matures the student is. With younger students the counsellor must have consent from parents. The counsellor has the right to withhold information from the student's parents if there is a risk that the child may be put in a danger, e.g. suspected child abuse. The confidentiality can be broken by a so called notification to the social services of that a child is suspected to be threatened, suspects of any kind of abuse or if the student are treated seriously ill in any way.
Duty to Report
According to the law of social service (SoL) Chapter 14, § 1 is a counsellor guilty to notify the social service if there is a suspicion that a child are mistreated. It may be a suspicion regarding, e.g. physical or psychological abuse, sexual abuse, that a child doesn’t get their basic needs such as lack of food, clothing and care. This also applies to other staff at the school.
The Counsellor’s Role at ISÄ
• The counsellor is available primarily for students, and for staff for consulting and or coaching regarding students.
• If a situation occurs, teachers try to resolve the situation first, because it is the teacher who has the most contact with the student and is the person at school who knows the student best.
• Parents should first turn to the teachers regarding situations that affect their children. If the teacher sees a need for a student to have talks with the counsellor, the teacher can suggest this to parents and obtain consent for the talks with student under the age of 12 years. It is good to inform parents that their child needs to see the counsellor even if the child is older than 12 years because it is always good to have the parents onboard.
• The counsellor will be involved when the teacher feels that they cannot handle a situation, on request of the principal and the parents or if the student comes to the counsellor on their own.
• To be able to know group dynamics, the counsellor can be present in the classroom, to look at interactions between students and/ or between students and staff.
• The counsellor should socialize with students during breaks and at other times where it's possible for students and counsellor to get to know each other.