Consultant's beliefs and characteristics
1. Based on your own belief systems, educational background and work experience, which personal characteristics as a helper do you think you can critically contribute to the success of the consultation or collaboration. Provide clear elaboration of how each characteristic facilitates specific consultation/collaboration processes.
Sensitivity is one characteristic that I think is very crucial for the success of the given case. Just like in counseling, it is important that you know how to hear out what your counselee is saying and of course, to know where the counselee is coming from. In the case above, the unit head asked assistance to help counsel the victims of bullying. Also, help was sought in developing a proactive intervention to train the identified bullies. It is important that a helper be sensitive because he must be able to understand the needs of both the victims as well as the bullies. The victims need to be empowered but of course, it is important to look into their experiences and personalities to know how they could be helped. The bullies also need to be listened to. As counselors, it is understood that the reasons why people bully is that they are bullied themselves. For example, it is possible that at home, they are bullied by their older siblings. One cannot be judgmental. Sensitivity is needed because they need to be listened to as well. One must not be clouded by judgment when they are dealt with.
Another characteristic would be being knowledgeable on the matter. Of course, in order for one to help, he should be aware of the facts and to know what the matter is all about. In the case given, it is essential that the person know what brings about gang related violence. This comprises bullying and recruitment of gang members. This means that the violence itself should not be the only concern. It is also imperative that the underlying concern behind school violence be also looked into. As mentioned above, bullies themselves are sometimes victims of other bullies. This is something that one should be aware of. One should be knowledgeable about the nature of gang membership in order for him to be able to handle the situations efficiently. Also, with regards to the collaboration, a helper must know the information about the incidents involving violence in the school. Given that the counselor believes that the numbers are not accurate, it is important that they examine this carefully.
It is also vital to be organized as a helper in any situation. One should know how to integrate the facts so as to be able to come up with a good decision on how to go about the matter. In the example case, one should be able to see the facts about school violence as well as the working relationship within and outside the school. Given the facts that the guidance unit is in good terms with administrators, knowing how the school system works and knowing about the demographics of the school, all of these would be beneficial in coming up with an intervention. One would know how to go about the problem given the facts mentioned. A knowledgeable helper would know how to make use of those facts in coming up with solutions that would benefit the school. Before one tries to solve a problem, it is a must that all aspects be looked into first.
Lastly, confidentiality in handling the matter is important. Particularly in this case, wherein gang related violence is the main concern, it is important that one practice utmost confidentiality especially when he has to deal with the perpetuators and the victims. Just like in counseling, the counselor holds a big responsibility in handling cases and in keeping the details confidential except of course, in some times that one must break that rule such as matter of life and death situations.
2. Which intervention will you use, consultation or collaboration?
I will use collaboration in this case because it would entail an equal share of dealing with the situation between the consultant and the consultee. The guidance head renders service for the stakeholders and the consultant would be offering his services for these stakeholders/ clients which are the students. The consultant would also be rendering direct service to the clients which would involve providing counseling to the victims of the bullies and in training the bullies in changing their behavior. Additionally, collaboration may also be done with the nearby city government since the school could also involve them in preventing school violence such as gang recruitment and bullying. The city government would be able to watch closely the school due to its proximity. Since the location of the school is near an urban poor resettlement community, as well as an idle land with informal settlers, it could be the area where most children from the said communities would be studying and the same children could be members of the gang. The school would be a perfect location for gang members around the area to look for vulnerable students whom they might be able to recruit as members. These gang members might actually be the ones spreading fear and violence in the same surrounding communities too.
2.1. What specific consultation/collaboration model will you use for the identified case?
For this case, I believe that school-based collaboration would be the effective model. This model aims to improve school functioning under offices such as the guidance office by implementing programs. In the case given, school violence in the form of gang recruitment and bullying is seen as a concern by the school. This concern is being handled by the guidance office which is in need of assistance from a consultant. It is the aim of the collaboration to be able to find solutions to this matter to achieve school reform. Since it is a reality that problems such as bullying and gang recruitment are encountered in the school setting, the school-based collaboration would be the most fitting model since it focuses on the needs of the students and in societal matters that affect them.
2.2. What are the advantages of using your chosen model compared to other models?
The school-based model would be the suitable one for this situation since this collaboration would focus on a school concern which is addressing and preventing school violence, particularly gang recruitment which leads to bullying. The consultant should be trained for a school-based setting since the concern is something that is experienced by all educational institutions and the people who would be involved in the process would be from the school. These would include the school administrators, counselors, teachers and the parents. All of them would have to collaborate with each other as they each play a specific role in the lives of the students. Most especially the parents, they should be well-informed of the possible scenarios that their children may be involved in. It is important that they be aware what their children could go through as they grow up. This is also why it is important to have parent education and training. This could be done through talks and seminars organized by the school to disseminate important information to the parents. All of these are under the school-based mode.
2.3. In relation to the entry stage, what necessary steps will you take?
Before I actually engage in the actual collaboration, it would be important that I first determine if I am the right consultant for the situation. I should have a clearer view of the purpose of the collaboration itself. In this situation, I think it would be appropriate that I meet with the guidance head first in order to know if we should push through with the collaboration or not. I will weigh my knowledge and skills with regards to bullying and then decide what should be done next.
Furthermore, I will familiarize myself more with the system of the school. Even though some details were already provided with regards to the school system and the working relationship among its employees, I still should explore more by asking the guidance head about other facts such as the philosophy and vision-mission of the school. In order for me to be able to fully immerse myself in the system I should be aware of the school's culture. Next would be to ask the guidance head about what they have done in order to address the perceived problem about bullying. I may ask how the school administrators dealt with it, for example, by clarifying rules and sanctions of the schools regarding bullying, if the teachers have tried incorporating values in their lessons and if the parents were given talks and seminars regarding bullying. I may also ask if the city government has been involved in this matter and or if there are other ways they could assist in addressing the situation. I may also ask if the interventions done by the school were deemed successful and if not, try to analyze the reasons with the guidance head for it not being successful. Based on these pieces of information, I may have an initial assessment on the situation.
If guidance head and I have agreed to push through with the collaboration as we have seen it feasible, I will then agree proceed to contracting. A formal contract may be prepared just to make things more organized and structured. In this contract, negotiations will be done such as the expectations and obligations, the time frame which will include the schedules of future meetings along with what specific services would need to be rendered by both parties. I may inform the guidance head that I will need to conduct interviews with the counselors and probably get responses from the students as well in order to see their views about bullying. Since this is a collaboration, both sides will partake of our own responsibility over the case. The guidance head will be informed to gather pertinent data from the counselors such as the number of incidence of reported bullying and may compare the data among each level/batch. By doing this, the head would be able to see if there is a trend and if there is a particular grade level that has the most number of incidences and associate it with the level's developmental stage and needs. Both the guidance head and I will need to have a clear understanding of what are expected to happen once the collaboration begins.
When I plan to physically enter the system, I would meet with the parties involved with the collaboration. This will include the guidance head, the school counselors, representatives from the school administration and probably student leaders. Here I will clarify the physical setup of the collaboration. Prior to the first meeting, I will remind the guidance head to inform the people concerned of my entry so that they would have an overview of what is to happen next. During the initial meeting, I will discuss what I plan to accomplish which includes conducting interviews as well as other data gathering means. I will also clarify the matter of confidentiality. Also, I will be gathering information with the people present in the meeting in order for me to have a feel of how things would work between us.
As I psychologically enter into the system, I may pay a visit to the counselors and mingle with them first. I will let them share their experiences working as a counselor and get a feel of how a typical day of work is for them. I may give some examples that I had with regards to bullying and if share my knowledge about its nature and effect on the students. I will also mention that this is a matter that should not be taken granted of. This would entail the end of my entry stage.
2.4. Given your model and in relation to the diagnosis stage, what additional information will you ask/will you need? What specific information will you collect? How (specify data collection procedures), from whom (specify informants) will you collect the information? How do you intend to use the collected information?
General demographical information of the gang members as well as the students being recruited would be of great benefit in this situation. Basic information of the gang members and student being recruited like the sex, age group, civil status, economic status or monthly household income, as well as conduct records and information regarding their and their parents' educational attainment would be gathered. Knowing which sex or age group is more prone to join a gang, we can focus on giving the talks/information/pamphlet to that group and educate them about the disadvantages and dangers of joining gangs. We can suggest to them alternative groups that they can join in order for them to be able to spend their time more productively, instead of partaking in violence.
The data will be gathered through different means such as questionnaires, interviews, surveys and observation. With regards to questionnaires, they could be given to the student population. The questionnaires would include non-threatening and generic questions about their views on gang membership. This would give me an idea of the students see it as an asset and if it is some sort of status quo. It would also give me an idea if the students are concerned about the gang memberships. It would be seeing if there is a relationship between gang membership and having the need to belong. Also, interviews would be conducted with school personnel such as the administrators, counselors and teachers. The administrators, being the leaders of the school, would be of great importance and as they are implementers of school programs and advocates for reform. The counselors are also important as sources of information since they are the ones who make sure that the students are holistic individuals. The teachers, too, are the second parents of the students and should make sure that their students are not just performing well academically but at the same time are in appropriate behaviour. Also, given that more than half of the teachers are living near the vicinity of the school, they should be proactive in handling the situation, given that the location of the school is prone to recruitment in gangs and violence.
In addition, I think it would be important to also involve the parents more since it was mentioned that the parents are only involved in Christmas and graduation parties. As parents of these students, they should be aware of school concerns such as gang membership that leads to violence such as bullying. Parents should know if their children are involved in such situation and be educated about them.
Moreover, I also think that observation in and out of the school grounds should be done so that I would have an idea on where the students usually gather. It would probably in these places that recruitment happens. If there was proper collaboration with the school personnel, especially the school guards, as well as the local units then they could be more informed about what is happening and could help in providing helpful information about these recruitments. By doing so, there could be a decrease in the recruitment as well as the violence that corresponds with it.
Based on the information that will be obtained from the questionnaires, interviews, surveys and observation, all these data will be analyzed in order to know which information are significant in analyzing the situation. In addition, these data will be incorporated so that interventions could be implemented. These may include education and information dissemination in the school and to the parents about the reality of school violence and implementing programs within the school to address the problem.
Professional and Ethical Practice
3. What ethical issues do you think would arise if you were to take the case (given your personal qualifications)? Elaborate on the nature of the ethical issues and specify ways on how to address them. Organize the discussion of ethical issues under the following sections:
3.1. Consultant competence
With regards to my personal qualification, there would be issues that would arise with regards to my competence in consultancy. First of all, I do not have any appropriate license yet that would make me qualified and at the same time, I have not earned my Masteral degree. Also, I do not belong to any professional organization. With regards also to my limitations, I am personally aware that I am not very knowledgeable in the topic. Given those conditions, I would address them by making sure that I disclose my self appropriately to the parties concerned. I will make them aware of my current qualifications as well as my limitations because according to the Code of Ethics for Counselors and the Counseling Profession (2006), there is a professional responsibility of limiting practices within the professional competence, educational background and personal experience as what the laws, rules, guidelines, accreditation and credential are concerned. Also, it is mentioned in the Code of Ethics that referrals must be made if the professional is aware that he cannot handle the matter. It would also be beneficial if I attain more training and education that would make me more qualified to practice consultancy.
3.2. Consultant-Consultee-Client relationship
An issue that may arise with regards to the consultancy relationship would be confidentiality. Since it was requested that counseling be given to the victims of bullying and that a program be developed to help change the behavior of the bullies, these clients would be disclosing confidential information and it may be possible that the school would be asking what has transpired during the sessions. The clients are entitled to confidentiality so I should not be divulging any information unless it would be to prevent danger to them. I would clarify to the parties involved how my work entails confidentiality especially that I will be conducting counseling sessions. Another issue would be of informed consent. Since the students are minors, their parents or guardians should first be informed regarding their participation in the process. I am also not obligated to force participation from the clients if consent was not granted.
3.3. Ethical issues in intervention
Regarding ethical issues in intervention, I would think that a possible issue that would arise would be if I were to use data from psychological tests of the students to go about with the process of the consultation. As mentioned, these students are minors, which means that consent of the parents is a must before I would proceed with what I am supposed to do. At the same time, I would have to make it clear to the parties involved that if I have to use those data that it would only be for the purpose of the consultation and not for any other matter.
Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association, Inc. (2006). Code of Ethics for Counseling and the Counseling Profession. available: http ://www. mavec. com. ph/code %20of% 20ethics%20for%20counselors%20and%20the%20counseling%20profession.html