In order to develop your child’s academic and personal capabilities, Epsom College in Malaysia immerses him or her in a highly focussed atmosphere of achievement and excellence.
Amidst the globally competitive market for professional and vocational training and qualifications, it is important to acknowledge distinct challenges and obstacles that the students will inevitably face.
Stress factors for international school students
Aside from academic pressure, a student faces a range of potential difficulties. These may include:
- geographical isolation from family and friendship groups
- loss of home and cultural familiarity, language and environment
- issues around emerging identity, relationship problems and life stage progression.
As students move into adulthood, they need to negotiate a major step in making the successful transition to employment or higher education in the international university environment.
Why pastoral care includes counselling support
Counselling services form an integral component of a comprehensive pastoral support system. Evidence shows that this kind of support can be fundamental to students’ capacity to complete their studies.
Counsellors provide your child with the opportunity for support on troubles which the student cannot address with the help of family, friends, teachers, tutors or house parents.
Photo: Epsom College in Malaysia
What is counselling?
The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) defines counselling as such:
“Counsellors offer troubled and/or distressed children and young people an opportunity to talk about their difficulties, within a relationship of agreed confidentiality.
“A counselling relationship has identified boundaries and an explicit contract agreed between the young person, counsellor and, where appropriate, parent or carer.”
Counselling at Epsom offers your child both an environment and a person by which such difficulties may be attended to effectively.
Who offers counselling?
Counselling at Epsom is delivered by professional psychologists operating from Dutch, Malaysian and UK systems of professional registration and accreditation.
Their specialist skills are offered to deliver a range of evidence-based psychological therapies to address the mental health issues of students.
Strengths of an effective counselling service
From a contemporary mental health agenda, the key strengths of school-based counselling are that it is perceived as a highly accessible service.
School-based counselling increases the extent to which all young people have an independent, supportive professional to talk to about difficulties in their lives.
In order to understand the worldview of culturally different clients, school counsellors need to be culturally competent and culturally responsive to effectively attend to their needs.
Reported benefits of counselling to students
Individual – improved personal welfare, feel happier and more positive about the future
School ‘life’– improved social life, interpersonal interactions and coping ability with peer pressures
Academic – improved study skills, academic achievements and career outcomes
Personal – cope better, improved problem solving, feel less worried or angry and confused
Vocational – develop aspirations and vocational identity, self-efficacy
Photo: Epsom College in Malaysia
Other roles of counsellors within the ECIM pastoral system
Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education provides an obvious vehicle to sustain and develop the interest of staff and students in the value of positive relationships as well as a caring and respectful environment towards mental health.
It also destigmatises and normalises issues of psychological distress. Curriculum-based and extra-curricular psycho-educational courses are specifically designed to address qualities like confidence, resilience and motivation in students to ensure that they are prepared for adult life.
Counsellors plan general and specific courses for students on various topics such as wellbeing, stress, academic and general anxiety, mindfulness, social and relational problems.
They also work with pastoral staff to plan the PSHE curriculum, designing and delivering programmes to promote staff health and wellbeing as an integral part of the whole school’s approach to mental health and wellbeing.
Counsellors deliver general and specific courses for staff such as risk prevention, incident management, mental health first aid, mindfulness and advocacy on coping with distressed students.
Contacting our counsellors
Students can directly contact our counsellors by dropping by or sending them an email. Parents or students can contact their Housemaster, Housemistress or Head of Prep School for referral.
We highly encourage parents to inform the College about counselling needs and/or the recent counselling history of their children, so that when necessary, the Counselling Department may be proactive in providing appropriate support.