Role of Counsellors in BC High Schools

Role of Counsellors in BC High Schools

by Susan Huebert
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Suppose that you needed help with planning your future career or with an issue at school. You might decide to go talk to the school counsellor. People in this profession are trained to help students deal with the various problems they encounter. In British Columbia, as elsewhere, school counsellors are important for students’ welfare.

A good school can help students learn the skills they need for the future, whether with learning to read and write, make calculations, or help preserve the environment. However, these skills are only part of what people need to do well in life. School counsellors help students with social and emotional development, mental health concerns, and anything else that they might need.

In addition, school counsellors help older students explore career options and choose jobs that suit them. Often, they suggest courses for students to take so that they can get into the right training after high school. For example, a student who wants to become a doctor or a dentist should take science courses such as chemistry or physics in high school, but someone who wants to become a writer should concentrate on courses like English or history. A good school counsellor can make recommendations and guide students to the best courses for them.

Providing high-quality school counselling requires education and experience. In British Columbia, school counsellors must have a professional teaching certificate, as well as a master’s degree in a field such as counselling psychology. They should also have some experience in teaching or working in other roles in schools so that they know how the system works and the kinds of issues students normally have.

Many factors affect student’s needs, including family income, community support, and health. Issues such as depression, divorce of parents, loneliness, lack of self-esteem, stress, and substance abuse are some of the most common problems that students face. In many schools, bullying is a major issue, and some students are even driven to suicide. A good school counsellor can help students work through their problems before they become very severe.

Often, school counsellors work with individual students to help them deal with whatever situations they are facing. Sometimes, however, they might work with groups of students or even teach classes on various issues. If anxiety about the future is a problem for many students, for example, a school counsellor might teach a class on job search skills or environmental protection. Classes on understanding emotional or mental health can also help students understand what they are experiencing.

Being a good listener is an important skill for school counsellors. They need to listen to the words that students are saying but also to understand that much more could be behind the words. Counsellors need to ask the right questions so that they can learn as much as possible about the problem. For example, a normally good student who is failing tests and not handing in assignments might be having trouble studying at home and might need a quiet study space. Another might be dealing with the death of a relative. Working to understand the deeper issues is important for school counsellors.

In BC, as elsewhere, school counsellors have an important role in helping students deal with issues in their lives and in assisting with career planning. With their help, school can be a valuable and productive time for all students.



British Columbia School Counsellors’ Association. “Comprehensive School Counselling Model.” https://supportforlearning.sd61.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/153/2022/11/BCSCA-Comprehensive-School-Counselling-Model.pdf.

Graham-Migel, Janice and Lisa Cheyne-Zanic. “School Counselling in Canada: An Examination of the School Counselling Profession in Canadian Provinces and Territories.” https://www.ccpa-accp.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/School-Counselling-in-Canada-Presentation-CCPA-Conference-14-May-2019.pdf.

Vancouver School Board. “High School Counsellors.” https://www.vsb.bc.ca/page/5131/high-school-counsellors.

Wikipedia.org. “School Counselor.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_counselor.

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