By Jonas Anbazu, Former Assistant Registrar, UDS
Historically, guidance and counselling informally existed in almost every part of the world, even before the advent of civilisation. In Ancient Greece and Rome, guidance and counselling thrived during the eras of the great philosophical teachings of Plato and Aristotle.
As history unfolds many societies have paid dearly for the consequences of youthful misdemeanours for not embracing the opportunities of counselling. In our schools today, the importance of Counselling and guidance have not been fully exploited through formalized clinics to groom our developing youths in their prime. Counselling, generally, is about helping the counselor to navigate situations in school life, the workplace or the wider society or environment, in social relationships, job losses and in many other spheres of life.
In Counselling, the process is a living and active discerning of thoughts and intentions of the heart. Going to Guidance and Counselling clinics is not about discipline, wrongdoings or investigation, but absolutely to build in us positive assertiveness in life. Growing up as a child, folklore stories were told, that good medicine is found in small bottles. So Guidance and Counselling clinics may seem insignificant to those who don’t understand the value of these emotional and psychological interventions in our lives.
Lions roar when satisfied, so it is gratifying in attending guidance and counselling clinics. Counselling is not an adhoc service. And so, It is not for nothing that there is a clarion cry and calls for counselling clinics at workplaces, schools, churches, our hospitals and every sphere of social interactions. It should therefore be a worry to us as a country why these necessary and important clinics are not available to all across the country.
It is a common phenomenon encountering counselling services on radio and television. Some are problematic and the least said about it, the better. Recently, the country was faced by the appalling conduct of eight SHS students at Chiana Senior High School in what can best be described as culturally reprehensible and abhorrent. The news generated heat and divided national opinions on the punishment meted out to them.
Everything was said and done. But the immediate question that we as a country should be answering is, do we have guidance and counselling teachers in all our secondary schools in the country? The disturbing conduct falls right on the lap of these professionals who should of necessity be found in every school. Cosmetic, comic and short applications of conventions will not resolve and groom the type of future leaders this country needs. We should therefore start a renewed national conversation about promoting and institutionalizing guidance and counselling clinics in the country. Our mindset is the single most important thing we have as a people.
As people of conscience we were all disturbed when these young students did what they did. We bear part of the blame as a society at large for allowing the moral fabric that bond us as a people to be destroyed in the name of modernity and a so-called freedom and human rights. God in his infinite wisdom created us differently for a reason, and it was about time we began to retrace our steps to remain as such.
As General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong once said, the problem of the nation will remain, unless we as a people change from our thirst for greed, avarice and other social evils that affect us. Professional counsellors prescribe or proffer remedies to counsellees and we must begin to groom the youth to embrace positive attitudes and morals that will build the society of the future. The goal of every guidance and counselling session is to help individuals thrive and recognise their strengths, and weaknesses as well as improve on their interpersonal relationships. The multi-million dollar question is where are the professionals?
Yes, Professional Counsellors are responsible for analysing situations effectively and adopting techniques to manage situations, especially what social media and cyberspace are today posing to our society. Was it any wonder that some of these students confessed having copied what they did from social media? The youth are using technology for communication and socialising, and obviously, by premonitions, also put themselves at risk.
“No matter how hard the past was, we can always begin again,” and the time has come to start anew. We shouldn’t also think it is insignificant, lest we be consumed by deviant behaviours in our various institutions.
Emphatically put, efforts must be made to train more counsellors as professionals to practice in every nook and cranny of the country. Most individuals fall victims due to lack of counselling clinics.
Ghanaians must go the extra mile to make guidance and counselling a reality. If all goes well, it will surely and definitely, end well.