Papua New Guinea
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Lae school counsellors upskilled

Following a request by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (ELC PNG), Men of Honour program manager, Stanley Bakere, is in Lae to train the school counsellors.

The training is being conducted at ELC PNG’s Ampo headquarters and consists of 20 teachers and chaplains.

Training covers topics on how to spot the signs of alcohol and drug abuse, and the best way to treat and monitor the concerned individuals.

“For the majority of them, this is the first counselling training they have attended so I have had to work slowly with them in introducing them to the whole counselling skills,” said Bakere.

“All of them are teachers, first and foremost. And the second part of their role is to be school counsellors. And one of the things I’ve spoken to them about is the difference between being a teacher and being a counsellor.

“We were also looking at ethical issues involved when you provide counselling.”

Bakere, a counsellor by profession was the MoH Season 7 ambassador and emphasised on confidentiality throughout the sessions, which started on Monday 25 September and will end on Friday 29 September.

“That’s a big thing because if you maintain confidentiality, it’s easy for the students to disclose their issue. And confidentiality also builds trust; students will be able to trust the counsellor.

“A lot of times when students go through abuse, they find it hard to talk about it. But one of the things you will see is, they display it through their behaviours. So, it’s important that they be able to be observant, look at the symptoms and one of the indicators is the sudden drop in grades. Student is coming late all the time, or is in the classroom but is not paying attention, is sleepy all the time; so there could be issues there.

“By talking to the student and asking the student, they’ll be able to find out what is actually happening.”