In the conduct of the various roles as a school-counseling teacher, various factors apply about perceptions, roles and their effectiveness towards achieving those roles. Counseling personnel have a difficult time in the execution of their tasks owing to the intimate nature that they relate with their subjects. Occasions, demands of a changing society and the change in demographics over time are some of the factors that counselors have to consider in modifying their approach in handling different scenarios.
This thesis paper concentrates on the challenges faced by a school counselor, with a specific interest with the comfort levels enjoyed with the various respondents by counselor in a school situation. The Columbine school massacre will serve as the backdrop for this paper. The columbine school massacre is an important backdrop in the sense that it was an unprecedented act of terrorism by students on their fellow students and faculty. This incident shapes the entire relationships between counselors and all the stakeholders in the school setting, their approach to handling their matters and the comfort levels of profitable interactions with them.
Counseling is a matter of creating relationships. Relationships on the other hand rely on the ability of the parties to communicate. The level of communication between two parties determines their level of comfort in dealing with each other. Communication has five distinct levels with each advanced level showing a more intimate level of intimacy in communication and increased levels of comfort between the parties.
Comfort levels in the various respondents in a situation such as the columbine massacre
- Level 1 – These are the most uncomfortable relations as they deal with facts. The people who would be the most uncomfortable to deal with would be state investigators who would be in pursuit of the cold facts of what I knew of the perpetrators. The need by investigators to require facts for the putting together of a reasonable case puts them in a non-compromising position and assume an interrogative rather than a conversational tone to their relations.
- Level 2 – The second most difficult group of people to deal with are the ones who rely on information gathered from what others are saying. in this case, the media works to a large extent on speculation and require only a limited amount of information to pronounce their own version of the events as the truth. In this regard, they do not seek a genuine position of matters but pressure a respondent to verifying their position.
- Level 3 – The levels three to five apply to the internal stakeholders of the organization and apply interchangeably with regards to the scenario. Level 3, which involves opinion and judgment, is what most parents would fell in bitterness for the loss of their children, or the jeopardy the school has been put in to. They would therefore vent their anger on the school management, where the counselor has a duty to take initiative and informs the parents of his opinion on their expected contributions in abetting and their failures
- Level 4 – This level of interaction involves feelings and this level also includes teachers, students and the parents of the institution. Interactions with these parties would explore on their feelings and the possible remedies for them. This interaction is highly private and intimate and requires high levels of trust.
- The final level is where the counselor is a position of exposing their needs and far as. This is a highly improbable scenario as in most cases the counselor has to be a level ahead to provide a sense of safety and assurance to his clients. A client who exposes their fears and needs the highest level of assurance on the other hand
Columbine High School News - The New York Times. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/columbine_high_school/index.html
Mastrogianis, L. S. (1998). Grief counseling training strategies: The effects of experiential and skills-based death education modules on the death anxiety, death competency, and level of grief counseling comfort of beginning counselors. S.l: s.n.