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Jessianodel
07-30-2011, 06:21 AM
Quick background on the world - it's inhabitated by weres, people who can change into a specific animal. The Sanctuary is a place where kids get sent to learn to control their transformations and you can choose to stay there or try to hack it in the "outside world" when you graduate. Some families live there, some leave their kids like at a boarding school. They also have a large forest where students are allowed to go, where dryads (plant weres) have a hidden school/town place too called the Plantation.

Anyway, in my WIP I have a few scenes where my MC talks with a guidance counselor, and I have no idea what the counselor would ask or say! So, I'm leaving that up to you, if you would be kind enough to help me out. If you were the guidance counselor, what would you ask?

MC's backstory - he's a were-panda and has very few friends. He was left at the school when he was ten by his parents. Four years later they died. Now it's been three more years and he consistently runs off for a few days, leaving without telling his one friend where he went. His latest disappearance (two days in the forest) went down worse because his friend pulled the equivalent of a fire alarm so she could escape and search for him, because she was worried. They come back, his friend is pissed at him (for other reasons), and he has a month and a half of detention. And he's banned from the grounds because everyone thinks his dryad girlfriend (whom he met in the forest) actually put him under some sort of a love spell. He was sent to the counselor to find out a way to get him de-spelled, I suppose.

Sorry for making it so long :D.

So, what would you ask?

Snick
07-30-2011, 06:58 AM
The people who get into that line are perfectly clueless, so the counsellor will talk about career plans and preparation for college and a career. The counsellor might want to point out that there are plenty of jobs in machine set up, and that the MC should take a course in programming.

The counsellot would know nothing at all about spells or despelling. It could be a very funny section.

PinkAmy
07-30-2011, 04:31 PM
Guidance counselors aren't therapists. I'm a child psychologist so I could help you out with that, but guidance counselors aren't the same as school psychologists or private psychologists. Guidance counselors provide basic, support and assistance with school related issues like scheduling and colleges. They aren't licensed, nor do they have the malpractice coverage (nor does the school) to do what you're suggesting (think avoidance of lawsuits by the school and individual as a HUGE motivator against practicing outside the range of expertise;).)

Becca_H
07-30-2011, 04:40 PM
In my stories, I tend to find any scene involving a guidance counsellor works better using a teacher instead. The teacher will know the kid better, which enables the scene to run much smoother.

Jessianodel
07-31-2011, 05:03 AM
Maybe I'll do it with a teacher instead...Thanks for helping guys!

Chase
07-31-2011, 05:20 AM
Maybe I'll do it with a teacher instead.

Bump your werepanda up to be a college instructor -- or at least a teacher in a prep school operating like a college. That way, he'll be a teacher with counseling duties as a faculty adviser of several students assigned to him.

I, myself, had duties to advise college beings which were mostly animals and only somewhat human (freshmen). Some in fraternities and sororities were total animals most of the time. Sophomores were about half and half. Juniors and seniors usually only turned shaggy at full moons.

Kitti
07-31-2011, 06:08 PM
While I agree, high school guidance counselors are primarily there for helping students with scheduling/college searches/existential crises of "what to do when I grow up," at the primary school level, counselors do more "counseling" in the sense of psychology/therapy.

I vividly remember my elementary school counselor's room - lots of pillows and stuffed animals scattered all over the place, and she did almost all her meetings on the floor with the kids. We kids who were isolated in the GT system (same classmates for 4 years, instead of new classmates every year) had mandatory play dates with non-GT kids to make sure they were socialized properly (yes, seriously). So if your school is geared for all ages, K-12, instead of just high schoolers, you could end up with a well-meaning counselor who knows more how to deal with "I'm homesick for mummy and daddy" than your MC's issues, which would be funny in a different way. "I'm sorry you're having such a hard time today, would you like a warm fuzzy (http://www.wikihow.com/Image:041---Warm-Fuzzy.jpg)?"

Becca_H
07-31-2011, 06:48 PM
It's funny, because only a few UK schools have any form of guidance counsellor. Only a select few even have psychological counsellors.

Everything is done by the teachers. Advice on which courses to take, which universities to apply to, how to make applications look strong etc. There's normally one designated 'pastoral care' teacher who's responsible for students' emotional and personal wellbeing, but in these cases, kids normally talk to the teacher they get on with the most and bypass pastoral care.

We did, however, have a "Careers Adviser" because, of course, everyone knows exactly what they want to do when they're fourteen. I remember walking in there, completely blank with ideas, and she told me about how she became a careers adviser - like that'd help.

My sixth form college (16-18) asked me to see their actual, real, psychological counsellor for twelve weeks. My God, she was useless. And horrible.

Jessianodel
08-01-2011, 06:41 AM
Wow that's...awful Becca lol.

I realized I used the wrong word...it's not a guidance councelor it's pretty much like a therapist? I don't know, my school has them but I've never gone so I don't know exactly what they're called. (I practically live under a rock :Shrug:)

But I've been thinking about it and I think I'm going to change it to a teacher or the principal maybe. Thanks for your help everyone!

Becca_H
08-01-2011, 05:06 PM
Wow that's...awful Becca lol.

I realized I used the wrong word...it's not a guidance councelor it's pretty much like a therapist? I don't know, my school has them but I've never gone so I don't know exactly what they're called. (I practically live under a rock :Shrug:)

But I've been thinking about it and I think I'm going to change it to a teacher or the principal maybe. Thanks for your help everyone!

Lol, I only said that because...yeah, it's shocking what people think they can get away with in a private room without witnesses. Not saying all school counsellors are evil, but she certainly was. It's definitely interesting from a fiction perspective, anyway.

I know you've made your mind up, but just something to think about. Teachers will be quite happy to talk to their kids about university, careers, and in some cases personal stuff like their boyfriend/girlfriend problems, but they'd be very careful crossing into "therapist" territory. Over here, if a child approaches a teacher with concerns over their sexuality, it can cross over the duty of care line if said teacher gives advice about it - because they simply aren't qualified to do so.

In terms of fiction this probably won't matter, but it's worth thinking about whether, if you were the kid's teacher, would you be willing to answer that? Or would you point them in the direction of someone more qualified?

Also, the YA novel, TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD STARLET features quite a lot of student/guidance counsellor dialogue. Might be worth a look.

PinkAmy
08-01-2011, 06:57 PM
Over here, if a child approaches a teacher with concerns over their sexuality, it can cross over the duty of care line if said teacher gives advice about it - because they simply aren't qualified to do so.

In terms of fiction this probably won't matter, but it's worth thinking about whether, if you were the kid's teacher, would you be willing to answer that? Or would you point them in the direction of someone more qualified?


This can get into slippery legal territory, if the parents are homophobes. I watch a weekly gay news show where they sometimes tell horror stories of injustices like parents try to get a teacher brought up on sex abuse charges for talking to their kid about sexual orientation (and probably preventing the kid from committing suicide.) Teachers have to be so careful in the USA at least, especially if they live in a conservative state where politicians who say gay folks are depraved and immoral routinely get reelected.

I don't think a teacher with empathy needs any special training to talk about sexual orientation, sometimes kids just need a sounding board and to know that they are "okay" and "normal," but there are probably some teachers who don't believe that.

A guidance counselor is qualified to do some screening to see if a child needs to be therapy. They're trained in psychological testing, as are some master level teachers.

Becca_H
08-01-2011, 07:08 PM
This can get into slippery legal territory, if the parents are homophobes. I watch a weekly gay news show where they sometimes tell horror stories of injustices like parents try to get a teacher brought up on sex abuse charges for talking to their kid about sexual orientation (and probably preventing the kid from committing suicide.) Teachers have to be so careful in the USA at least, especially if they live in a conservative state where politicians who say gay folks are depraved and immoral routinely get reelected.

I don't think a teacher with empathy needs any special training to talk about sexual orientation, sometimes kids just need a sounding board and to know that they are "okay" and "normal," but there are probably some teachers who don't believe that.

A guidance counselor is qualified to do some screening to see if a child needs to be therapy. They're trained in psychological testing, as are some master level teachers.

Yeah, it's the same over here, too. It's a sad situation that teachers have to watch what they say, just in case, but it happens.

We teach PSHE/citizenship (name varies) which has sex and relationship education, but parents have the right to withdraw their kids from it. I don't see that happening often, though.

Teachers can tell kids that it's okay to be gay and they are normal, but so often kids will ask, "Am I gay?" "I feel like this towards guys, what does this mean?" And this is where the problematic boundary lies.