Thriving in today’s quickly changing world requires skills rooted in communication, literacy, teamwork and science. No longer is mastering content knowledge sufficient in the modern age.
As students master handling their feelings and emotions, their ability to concentrate helps them learn to read and work collaboratively to solve problems and adapt to a rapidly changing environment. School guidance counselors are key in helping students master the intricacies of handling these emotions and learning to cope with the current world as it is.
With the help of school guidance counselors, students can access the required support for their social, academic and psychological development, especially when dealing with violence, crisis, trauma and other difficulties. If this sounds interesting to you, keep scrolling to learn how counselors are helping young people cope with sudden changes.
Helping students manage their mental health
The importance of good mental health for students is hard to ignore. When mentally sound, students can build positive relationships, learn quickly and manage stress effectively. Unfortunately, the prevalence of mental health illness in young individuals is increasing alarmingly. What makes it even worse is that this issue has been constantly ignored until recently.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one in five children is diagnosed with a mental illness, such as mood, anxiety or behavioral problems or Tourette syndrome. A student’s mental health disorder can cause several issues. If left untreated, these issues can affect their ability to learn in school and manage the rigors of academic work.
Now that the importance of good mental health for students has been established, you might wonder how guidance counselors can help. One way guidance counselors can make an immediate positive impact is to educate students about mental health. Through mental health education, counselors can combat the stigma and common myths surrounding this issue.
In addition, counselors can also advocate for the mental health needs of students by providing instruction that improves their overall wellbeing. Like it or not, most students who lack mental health support do not receive adequate help. A recent study revealed that 20% of students require mental health support, yet only one out of five of these students receives the necessary services.
Thanks to guidance counselors, students can identify and prioritize the knowledge and skills they need to acquire to cope with changes in their lives. Counselors use standardized metrics to evaluate student growth and development and create strategies that support them in achieving their highest potential.
This includes recognizing mental health warning signs such as changes in school performance and attendance, identifying and addressing barriers to accessing mental health services, advocating for the ethical use of reliable screening instruments and adhering to appropriate confidentiality guidelines. When counselors can recognize and respond to students’ mental health requirements, they can promote social and emotional development and ensure young individuals are ready to adapt to changes.
Helping students determine and enhance their strengths
Preparing students for life beyond the school’s four walls is essential in helping them thrive amid changes. While most parents want to raise their kids to be optimistic and caring toward themselves, society often has a bad case of “right intention, wrong direction”. More often than not, parents try to achieve positive results using negative means.
For instance, parents might nag their children about their weaknesses and how they are falling short of their peers to motivate them. Although this is effective sometimes, it can also do the exact opposite and demoralize their kids. Since guidance counselors have advanced skills and training, they can identify and nurture specific strengths in each student and ensure they help them experience accomplishments.
By enabling students to experience accomplishments, counselors can help them feel effective, increasing the likelihood of replicating that feeling by tackling more challenging tasks. Like it or not, students learn about the world in several ways. While this might seem appealing, it also poses a challenge because it makes it more challenging to discover their abilities and learning preferences.
Counselors often adopt a nurturing approach to develop positive relationships that are central to wellbeing and learning. Counselors can establish the relationship needed to promote healthy social and emotional development by acknowledging and nurturing their strengths. When young people experience consistent guidance from key adults, they can develop the desire and skills to explore their environment and engage in opportunities amid a changing industrial climate.
Additionally, counselors are trained to recognize each student’s unique personality and help them better understand the changes they are going through. This also provides a gateway for counseling professionals to provide students with opportunities that touch on the different kinds of learning. In doing so, they can help promote healthy self-esteem and confidence, which are essential to the success of the student’s future endeavors.
The reality is that young individuals improve faster when working on their strengths. This is what psychologists call the multiplier effect. Since strengths have a genetic component, students can enhance their skills quickly and reach greater heights when working on their strong suits than when they work on improving their weaknesses. This also allows students to create healthy habits that can benefit them as they transition into their professional lives.
Guiding students in picking the right career
While many people change careers throughout their lives, choosing somewhere to start is still a big deal. Unfortunately, it is common for students to make inappropriate career choices due to peer influence, limited understanding, lack of self-analysis and lack of awareness of career options. Recent data shows roughly nine out of 10 people aged between 21 and 65 regret their career choices.
Counselors can support students in picking an appropriate career by providing them with the resources to ace interviews and find a position suitable to their requirements and preferences. From learning how to approach a consultation to answering challenging questions with personality and grace, counselors can assist students in calming their nerves to impress potential employers.
Now, how do counselors do it? Do they have some special powers to identify the right career for every student? There are several ways for counselors to match students with fulfilling careers, but everything starts with a thoughtful assessment. This means asking students key questions, observing their behaviors and evaluating the results of career and personality tests.
In doing so, counselors can help students capitalize on their strengths, desires and unique traits. However, it is worth noting that the assessment process goes beyond the student’s passion and tackles their income and financial preferences. Counselors will often help students assess how much financial assistance they need and connect them with organizations to assist them with their desired careers.
When students know what they are doing and what they are expected to do, they can easily overcome the hurdles of their career path and improve their confidence to tackle obstacles in their professional lives. Best of all, it helps them focus more and adjust quickly to remain effective in changing environments.
How to become a counselor
As you can see, being a counselor is a meaningful and rewarding profession. By becoming a counselor, you can play a part in improving students’ lives and help them become the best they can be. Now that your interest has been gauged, you might wonder how to become one.
The initial step to this meaningful career is earning an advanced degree, which first requires an undergraduate degree from an accredited university. While working towards your Master’s degree, typically, you must complete 60 credits of coursework to become a licensed counselor. It is worth noting that some programs are only 48-credit degrees, meaning you’ll need to earn an extra 12 credits before you complete the educational requirements for licensure.
Either way, you must ensure that your chosen program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). This way, you can ensure the degree program aligns with professional quality standards. This also helps ensure you receive the necessary education to help you thrive in the field.
As a CACREP-accredited counselor with a degree from a prestigious academic institution such as Walsh University, you can enjoy a broader range of employment opportunities, a centralized state counseling licensing application process and a key advantage when applying to doctoral degree programs. In addition, completing a CACREP-approved degree program will meet the academic requirements for the National Counselor Examination.
After passing the licensing examination, the final step is to apply for your counselor license. It is worth noting that guidelines will differ by state. Therefore, checking the requirements for the location you wish to practice is a must to ensure a seamless transition.
Start a meaningful career as a counselor
As a counselor, you’ll be able to provide guidance and support to young individuals dealing with a wide range of issues. These are the same individuals who are the future of our great nation. By choosing to become a guidance counselor, you can help shape the future.