Challenges of school counselors in the provision of psychological services in high schools.
Zurakat, Ganiyat Olushola.
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Access to a variety of psychological services that cater for the emotional, psychological, personal/social and other needs of learners within the school setting no doubt enhances their academic and general achievement in life. This is why there is a need to focus on barriers that might mitigate against the availability of such services. This study explored one such barrier, in the form of challenges to school counsellors in the provision of psychological services in high schools. Positioned within the interpretivist paradigm, the study adopted a qualitative method, using semi-structured interviews with four counsellors from four schools within the Durban metropolis, to investigate the challenges of the counsellors and their coping mechanisms. The ecosystems theory and transactional model of stress and coping served as frameworks for understanding the phenomenon under study. Findings from the study indicated that top among the challenges which school counsellors experience are time and financial constraints, lack of support from the Department of Education, parental involvement, and challenges emanating from their teaching colleagues. On the other hand, enthusiasm and passion for helping, support from the school head/management, organisations and professionals, improvising and adapting to the situation as it is, are some of the major coping mechanisms counsellors reported that they adopted to manage the situation. Based on these findings, the appointment of individuals whose sole duty would be counselling, establishment of discussion forums for counsellors and strategies for involving parents are some of the recommendations made to reduce, if not completely eradicate, the challenges.