Counselors Urged to Help Ease Social Ills

Zamboanga City – GUIDANCE counselors in the region are urged to utilize their knowledge and skills to resolve conflicts and empower people to make a contribution for the betterment of their organizations or communities.

The many social and economic problems – slums and battlefields and insane asylums – represent the challenges facing our society and, particularly, guidance counselors in the daily discharge of their professional duties, Western Mindanao State Univesity (WMSU) president Dr. Grace Rebollos told some 100 school and other agencies’ psychology experts. Dr. Rebollos made the remarks during the opening of the three-day 11th Regional Seminar-Workshop on Guidance and Counseling held on January 17-19 at the Marcian Garden Hotel.

The task of personal transformation, of personal awareness, growth and commitment to change at a personal level also involves the task and priority of systematic transformation, of increasing justice and equity in our world, she told the participants. Everyone who can, who is empowered by the tools of personal transformation, have a responsibility to build a global community where oppressive systems are increasingly eliminated, resources are shared and conflicts are resolved peacefully, she added.

WMSU’s Prof. Ma. Lourdes Delantar, who is the chapter president of the Philippine Guidance Counselors Association (PGCA), said the seminar was held to orient participants on how to obtain their license from the Professional Regulations
Commission (PRC) as required by R.A. No. 9258, which became a law in 2004. Long-practicing guidance counselors and those enrolled in master’s programs can be licensed without taking the board examinations for as long as they comply with certain requirements, Delantar said.

To upgrade the participant’ professional skills, the seminar also discussed two major topics, namely, multi-cultural counseling and neuro-linguistic program (NLP). The resource person of both was Dr. Imelda Villar, who is vice-president of PGCA.

Dr. Villar said the present-day increase in behavioral risks has resulted in a corresponding need for counselors to distinguish cultural sub-groups and develop techniques and skills that would specifically and effectively deal with the unique characteristics and problems of these groupings. These cultural groups do not refer to ethnic communities but to victims of social violence and deprivations, like drug addicts, sexual perversion, clinically depressed, indigents, victims of abuses, and the like, she said. In the seminar, she discussed case samples to broaden the participants’ knowledge of and appreciation for specific therapies or counseling approaches.

Dr. Villar also urged the guidance counselors to adopt the use of NLP in their job. She said NLP is widely used in the United States and some other Western countries as a problem-solving tool and to enhance productivity across various professions and occupations. NLP is not yet widely used in the Philippines, she noted, despite its long-proven effectiveness.

She described NLP as a technique that uses language through various ways along with their programmed human meanings to bring about new and creative insights and by which human behavior is directly and deliberately modified. The technique is applied at various levels of the human consciousness, she explained, such as the intellectual to emotional to spiritual planes.

The other resource persons of the seminar were Prof. Virginia Palmares, head of the Special Tertiary Education Program of WMSU, who spoke on “Psycho-Social Behavioral Characteristics of Special Learners” as well as on “Behavioral and Classroom Management – Guidance for Special Children”. Remedios Marmoleno of Silsilah Dialogue Institute talked on “The Professional Counselors’ Role and Response to Social Issues.

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