The Jamaica Association of Guidance Counsellors in Education (JAGCE) and CHOICES Career & Education Advice have started a series of “REACH OUT” Zoom Sessions to help and support counsellors, parents and students during the Covid-19 crisis.
At the first of these initiatives, over one hundred guidance counsellors representing schools across the six educational regions in the island met virtually to discuss strategies to deal with the impact of Covid-19 on their students and parents.
Guest presenter at the online event was Dr. Karelle Hylton, a counselling psychologist and herself a guidance counsellor at the secondary level, who addressed participants on the subject “Helping Students & Parents Through The Covid-19 Disruption”.
In her presentation Dr. Hylton went through means for counsellors to equip themselves in order to get the minds of people adapted to the reality of life before, during and after Covid-19.
According to her, with Covid-19 changing what we accept as normal to a new paradigm, “We are in a valiant fight for a sense of normalcy. Our equipment to fight is our training and our unique ability to empathize with our clients. We are very important change agents”. As examples of this she cited how persons are now expected to interact with each other and the cultural changes we now see in how funerals, marriages, social gatherings and even with education now being online.
She referenced the 4F’s – family, food, friends and fitness – as being of utmost importance. Also under discussion for them, along with individual representatives from St. Kitts-Nevis and Grenada, were personal self-care tips for themselves in view of the fact that as counsellors this group are the front-runners in the psychosocial, emotional and cognitive war against Covid-19 and so must put themselves in a position to manage and assist others.