A qualified counsellor is contracted by Our Lady of Mercy Catholic College, Burraneer from Centacare to work with staff, parents and students four days per week, Monday – Thursday.
The role is aimed at supporting parents of students who are experiencing difficulties in their lives, especially those who might require a level of professional care beyond that which can normally be provided by a teacher. This support may take the form of assessment, counselling or referral to other appropriate agencies. The counsellor is also able to facilitate various groups as the need arises.
Referrals to the School Counsellor are made via the Year Coordinator or the Leader of Wellbeing, who will make an assessment of each student’s situation. The Year Coordinators and The Leader of Wellbeing consult with the Counsellor to organise which students the Counsellor will see and how often. Students may make a self-referral and this is also usually done via the Year Coordinator. Members of the College Leadership Team may also make referral to the School Counsellor.
Parents are usually informed that their daughter is seeing the School Counsellor. Conversations with the Counsellor are protected by confidentiality. However, the Counsellor generally keeps the Principal (or delegate) informed and always informs the student when they first meet that there are some issues (for example, risk of harm to self or others) that cannot remain confidential. Risk of Significant Harm reports can be made by the School Counsellor with the knowledge of the Principal. Situations involving risk of harm are referred to the Principal, who will usually inform the student’s parents.
The School Counsellor is a member of the College Pastoral Team and usually attends weekly Monday morning Staff Briefings and fortnightly Tuesday afternoon Pastoral Meetings.