Along the odyssey called life, there are situations where an individual often encounters a dead end from where all roads seem to lead him or her to nowhere. Emotionally overwhelmed and wrecked, the person either chooses to suffer in silence or seeks to discover a path that leads to a happier and healthier world. It is the time when one is in search of someone one can rely upon and confide in unconditionally. That is when a person reaches out for a psychological counsellor who provides people with a space to explore their feelings and teaches them beneficial skills and coping strategies. Mental health counsellors can help treat mental health conditions and other sources of distress, such as relationship problems or bereavement.
It is a service sought by people in distress or in some degree of confusion who wish to discuss and resolve these in a relationship which is more disciplined and confidential than friendship, and perhaps less stigmatizing than helping relationships offered in traditional medical or psychiatric settings. Counselling is the application of mental health, psychological or human development principles, through cognitive, affective, behavioral or systemic interventions and strategies. It addresses wellness, personal growth, career development, as well as pathology.
With the objective of providing an opportunity to work
towards living more satisfyingly and resourcefully and to cater
to the emotional needs of the students and staff, Bethune
College took an initiative and the Counselling cell of the
college became operative since 2005.Teachers of the Psychology
department with their experience and skill in counselling, aimed
to extend their help to students, teaching and non teaching
staff of the college.
Across the years, however, the purpose of the Counselling Cell has been to deal with the issues relating to developmental factors, addressing and resolving specific problems, making decisions, coping with crisis, developing personal insights and knowledge, working through feelings of inner conflict or improving relationships with others keeping in mind the client's goals.
The cell has always provided counselling service adhering to the ethics of beneficience, nonmaleficience, autonomy, justice, fidelity and confidentiality etc. strictly. Clients are duly informed about their therapy and are encouraged to take decisions pertaining to it. Identity of the clients is never disclosed and none of the data have ever been used for any academic or other purposes whatsoever.
During the last one year, i.e., 2020-2021, the number of cases has increased drastically due to the insurgence of COVID 19. Fear associated with the disease coupled with trauma and bereavement in the family has interfered with the mental health condition of many. The situation has been made worse with the Aamphan cyclone that literally has shaken the resilience and hope. Post Aamphan trauma, lockdown, having to deal with the new normal, mass paranoia, learned helplessness and perceived lack of social support have resulted in deterioration in coping abilities of many who sought tele-counselling. A marked aggravation in mental health problems has been seen in clients who were already seeking counselling.
Tele counseling was provided to students, teachers and their family members who sought help as per pre- scheduled appointment everyday from 11am to 12 noon in the morning and from 9pm to 10 pm during evening which started from 31st March, 2020.
However since March 2021, sessions are held in the morning according to the convenience of both the counsellor and the counsellee. The evening slot, i.e., from 9pm to 10 pm remains unaltered.
Nature of the problems addressed
The chief complaints centred around the following main issues:-
- Anxiety due to Covid 19 pandemic
- Depression due to isolation as a result of lockdown
- Domestic violence and incest abuse at home
- Marital and behavioural problems
- Lack of adjustment with the parents
- Broken relationships and
- Mobile addiction
Standardized Psychological questionnaires and inventories
have been administered on some of the clients online to assess
their levels of anxiety, stress and assertiveness etc.
Number of cases during 2020-2021
- Number of New clients - 25
- Number of Clients who have been continuing from previous years - 6
- Total number of sessions- Approximately 74 sessions from March 2020 to June 17th, 2021.
In many cases, the clients have been referred to psychiatrists or Psychoanalysists depending on the severity of the disorder.
Feedback from the clients
90% of the clients have reported decline in emotional
distress, marked increase in perceived sense of well being and
development in insight.
The Psychological Counselling run by the Department of Psychology, Bethune College is devoted to facilitate the clients work in ways that respect the client's values, personal resources and capacity for self-determination. Its predominant ethos is one of facilitation rather than of advice-giving or coercion.