Seeding Hope Services - SHC (Counselling Centre & SHAPE)     

Objectives of the Practice

The Context

The students of Sacred Heart College are from the rural areas, so the need for counselling and guidance is quite high. Most of the students registered with SHC are first generation learners; and from a low socio economic profile. Many students have unhealthy parenting styles, alcoholic or abusive parents, disturbed study environment, dysfunctional family setup etc. Coming from such an environment, students need guidance in psychological and academic areas for which the counselling and mentoring services are beneficial. Students, who face age related/family/peer group issues, find it difficult to concentrate in academics; such students with the guidance of mentor and counsellor will be able to cope better in academics and personal life. A student's success lies in the health status of his/her physical and psychological well-being, which can be taken care through the process of counselling and mentoring.

The Practice

The Seeding Hope Services at Sacred Heart College consists of two services, namely CC (Counselling Center) and SHAPE (Sacred Heart Accompaniment Program of Education). First year UG students under the SHAPE program are placed under one mentor for personal guidance in academics, whereas issues related to personal and psychological matters are taken care by the counselling centre. All the 1st year students are given individual orientation about the Counselling Centre and the SHAPE Programme at the commencement of the semester.

Students those who have arrear papers are given remedial coaching and counselling. Family members of the students also utilize the counselling centre of Seeding Hope Services - SHC. Outreach programmes to students addressing psychological issues are conducted in-campus and for schools/colleges around Tirupattur through the CC. Past pupils are given the privilege to use the CC services. Phone counselling is also offered to students who feel uneasy to reveal their identity.

The issues that come to the centre through SHAPE and class teachers are mostly related to relationship, academics, and psychosocial aspects. Such issues include students getting confused with infatuation and love having difficulty in marking boundaries in boy-girl relationship. Such students are facilitated to understand the differences between the two and made to be aware of healthy boy-girl relationship.

Psychological techniques such as Catching oneself, Disputing irrational beliefs, Changing one’s language, Cognitive homework, Self-verbalization, Behaviour change, Relaxation training, Scheduling activities, Graded exposure, Systematic desensitization are practiced. The factors that serve as an obstacle to students’ academic performance identified are….

Students with such issues are identified through SHAPE (Sacred Heart Accompaniment Programme of Education) or the management and are immediately sent to the CC. This approach has helped so many students to cope up with their studies and reduced the rate of drop out. The above concerns are dealt based on individual needs taking into account the personality factors and the available resources the students have. Individuals are not given advice whereas they are empowered and facilitated to tackle the current problematic issues on their own. The students are empowered in such a way that they become independent of the Counselling in the shortest time possible.

Evidence of Success

Scientific research was undertaken to study the effectiveness of Seeding Hope Services CC (Counselling Centre) and SHAPE (Sacred Heart Accompaniment Programme of Education) as one of the best practices of Sacred Heart College.

CC

A tool was developed and tested using a ‘Likert’ scale. The reliability of the instrument was found to be .793 Cronbach's Alpha. The study revealed that a vast majority (67.6%) of respondents stated a high level of satisfaction with regard to the Counselling process carried out at Sacred Heart College. The study also clearly highlighted the fact that the “Seeding Hope Counselling Centre” played a significant role in its outreach to the student community in rendering better guidance, influential motivation and effective problem solving strategies.

SHAPE

An instrument was developed and the reliability was found to be .799 Cronbach's Alpha.  The study revealed that majority of the respondents stated that they have been given proper academic guidance with regard to their studies and have benefited from the aforesaid programme. While, understanding the composition of the programme, it is revealed that though the students are from a rural background, the programme has catered to make a difference in majority of students in making them confident individuals in enabling them to solve their day to day problems.

Problems Encountered and Resources Required

Obstacle 1. Stigma related to utilizing Counselling Services: As students had no awareness about the concept of counselling, it was thought that counselling is just getting advice and people with problems only go to counsellor. Visiting the counsellor was seen as a stigma and students who went were identified as people with severe problems.

Strategies adopted: Since 2014 it was made compulsory that all the first year students must meet the counsellor individually. The sessions, were targeted to spread awareness on the real concept and essence of counselling.

Obstacle 2. Change of mentor annually: Students have to start fresh every academic year.

Strategies adopted: A mentor assigned in the beginning will guide the student throughout the graduate programme.

Obstacle 3. Visit limited to monthly once: Students were not able to seek the guidance of mentor on regular basis.

Strategies adopted: Students can now visit the mentor as per their convenience.