It is tough being a young person in this modern fast-paced, high pressured world. Not only are adolescents bombarded with messages from society about what they should ‘look’ like and how to be successful, but their brains are also undergoing significant re-modelling. This adolescent brain re-modelling can make managing any school day or life event a challenge as our emotions get amplified during this period of change. However, adolescence is not all doom and gloom!
Young people who are feeling wobbly, out of sorts, or stuck, can with support understand how their brain works and makes them react a certain way. They can then learn skills and strategies to handle their changing social and emotional landscape. Guidance counselling supports a young person to make sense of their world, identify the problem and the desired solution.
Our counselling practise is guided by Te Whare Tapa Wha, a Màori model of health. We believe this gives value to the whole person and looks at health in all five areas of well-being.
Click to view Hauroa Wellness Goal Setting
Essentially this means “the relationship”. A counsellor has a range of approaches (narrative, person-centred, psychoanalytic, CBT) for working with a client. However, if they are unable to engage effectively and listen to the identified problem, then the situation for the client will remain unchanged.
The Aquinas College team are structured, client-centred, and goal-focused counsellors. Our practice is based on a collaborative framework which empowers the client as the expert in their life.
We collaborate with clients throughout the counselling process and work together to decide which task, or tasks, to try first. We discuss resources, people, supports, inner strengths. A focus on what they decide to act on is followed by planning in detail how to begin and when.
An example of working with inner strength is asking “how did you get through that moment”? It is often by highlighting these moments or exceptions to how they dealt with their issue as a way of moving forward. When working with anxiety, for example, by helping the client to make room for their anxiety it helps them to break down the fear that feeds the problem.
The graphic (above) guides the way we work with clients, and we offer a range of approaches that sit within the frame. The client chooses which method is the best fit for them. Some strategies we use include:
Mindfulness is a mental state of awareness, openness and focus. Mindfulness skills can be learned and can effectively help the client reduce stress, enhance performance, manage emotions and generally improve life quality.
Both ACT and Mindfulness are complementary therapies.
Often the young person is the identified patient of a family issue. Therefore working with family or individual relationships within the family (young person and a parent/s) can have better outcomes for the young person. Effective family systems have a set of helpful and useful values, and this type of therapy helps promote flexible thinking and opens up opportunities to interact in other ways with each other that helps bring positive change.
All of our physical sensations (body), everything we do (behaviour), everything we feel (mood) and our thinking (mind) are all inextricably linked to the brain. And all of these interact with the world around us (environment). CBT looks at what changes the client wants in their lives. However, a lot of the time, we cannot change reality because the truth is what it is. CBT then helps the client learn skills for how to evaluate the fact:
– Peer Relationship Glitches or Fallouts
– Low Self-Esteem
– Low Mood
– Depressive Thinking/Suicidal Ideation
– Family Changes
– Relationship Abuse
– Unhealthy Behaviours – Drugs & Alcohol dependence
Student Programmes run through Guidance Faculty: – Pro-social Guidance programmes
Self-referral: Either email Mrs Gilbert firstname.lastname@example.org or Mr Syme email@example.com or come to the Wellness waiting room and fill out a yellow slip and insert into the confidential silver box.
Parent Referral: A parent can refer their child to counselling, but the child must agree on this before contacting the counsellor.
We do not call any students to counselling who do not know why they are there. Please have the courage to chat with your child about the concern you have and how it could be useful to reach out and accept professional help.
Staff-referral: Staff often notices when something is not okay with a student, and they can refer the student to counselling.
Our teaching staff are trained to have a ‘noticing’ conversation with a student. They also know to get consent from a student before referring to counselling.
“I feel fortunate to be a counsellor at Aquinas and to have a role supporting students understand their inner world which is often hijacked by a drive to be highly successful and continuously performing at an elitist level, usually at a personal cost.
Before completing my Masters of Counselling, I taught Health and PE for ten years at Aquinas – a decade before the gym was built, and I wore gumboots each day! I enjoy working with young people and find their outlook on life to be enriching. I have a keen interest in the teenage brain and helping students understand how they are wired and how this influences thinking.
I also work closely with girl’s peer relationships, student anxiety, low mood, depressive thinking, and see real benefits from working with whānau. I fully embrace contributing to the life of the school as a whole.
A keen sportsperson, I coach and am involved in sports administration and am grateful for the impact sports have had on my life. I like to encourage young people to get involved when sometimes it may seem easier to opt-out for the couch or gaming options.
I enjoy entering all staff and student events and love a good dress up!
Kristen Gilbert DipTchg; BEdu; MC (Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri) firstname.lastname@example.org
“I do not enjoy people having a difficult time, but I do enjoy helping people, and get a high level of job satisfaction working with students and whānau at Aquinas College.
I am pleased to be able to assist youth with living mentally healthy and balanced lives. As a nation, I feel we have a lot of development to occur in this area and particularly the improvement of male health and wellness.
My counselling interests include using Solution Focused Therapy (SFT), Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in a client-centred and directed collaborative approach and working with Te Ao Maori models of Hauora.
I also teach in the Physical Education and Health Faculty. I enjoy eating, sport, travel, adventures, and the outdoors, particularly ocean-based activities such as fishing and surfing.
I also coach sports at Aquinas College and see the value of the physical activity as well as the skills we develop when we work in a team and face challenges that we strive to overcome.
Mauri tu, mauri ora (an active soul is a healthy soul).”
Alan Syme: DipTchg; DipAgBMgmt; BSpL; MC (Monday-Friday) Alan also teaches Outdoor Education. email@example.com
Student Welfare during Exams
We care about the health and well being of every student at Aquinas College. Please take time to read the attached Exam-Stress-and-Anxiety-Booklet for tips on how to cope with stress.