Instead of improving mental health, some students are saying their mental health has deteriorated since seeing their school counsellor. These negative experiences call into question the quality of counsellors MOE are sending to schools.
Some of these negative experiences shared by students include:
- Counsellors reporting the students’ problems straight to their parents i.e. betrayal of trust and lost of confidence in counsellor
went to see my school counselor once to rant about my parents, the next thing she did was call my parents to snitch, never saw her again after that, just learned to “not think about it”____________________________
did some pretty horrible stuff to myself, one of my teachers noticed it, referred me to the school counsellor.
i honestly gave it a chance bcos i knew i needed help. but the counsellor didn’t really understand me and told my parents that the reason for my bad health was the situation at home, whereas it was a variety of reasons?? after the counsellor called my parents, she stopped looking out for me and getting me to come to counselling sessions and basically just left me to deal with my parents 🙁
was a really bad situation and if anything, my mental health got way worse____________________________
- Not recognising bisexuality
Can confirm, it sucks. I’ve once confessed to my (sec school) counsellor that I’m bisexual. Instead, I was told I wasn’t bisexual because I don’t have a crush on my female schoolmates.
What the hell? Then by her logic, I’m not straight because I don’t have a crush on my male schoolmates either. Also, most of her advices she has told me don’t even work, lol.__________________________________
- Not giving helpful responses to students’ problems
Was in tears after my PSLE results, didn’t dare to go home to face my parents. Looked so miserable that I was sent to the counsellor’s office for a suicide-prevention chat.
Then, the counsellor asked me, “Are your parents happy with your results?”____________________________
I went to counselling cause i was suffering from early symptoms of high functioning depression. I basically had alot of suicidal tendencies, i was constantly ruining my own life and much more. When i got there, the counselor just said that i was experiencing hormones and puberty. Even after many sessions of going counselling, he repeated the same reason even when i had mental breakdowns/meltdowns everyday in school. It took me close to 2 years to actually get a proper diagnosis on my mental health.________________________________
I went for counselling in J2 once because I was stressed out and want to make sure my emotions are normal and not something clinical. The counsellor was just not helpful. The things she told me felt like a Google search ans, which was not what I was looking for. She did check on me occasionally but I was quite disappointed in the counselling n never returned____________________________
My friend said that when she told the counsellor that her parents and grandmother beat her as a kid, the counsellor said they did it because they loved her. She never went back after that.____________________________
So what actually are the prerequisites to be a counsellor? Do ex-teachers who know nothing about counselling qualify to be a school counsellor?
Turns out applicants for the role of MOE school counsellors do not actually need to have any relevant professional qualifications. MOE’s posting for the position of “School Counsellor (Untrained)” says: