BENGALURU: Online classes, missing friends and a disrupted routine... it’s been an uncertain time for many students. One would then expect child counsellors to be busy, but the reality of the situation is quite different. With classes being held at home, the resultant lack of confidentiality has led to a decline in numbers.
Kala Balasubramanian, a child psychologist at Inner Dawn Counselling and Training services, says, “Earlier, the session used to be between a student and the counsellor, but now with things going digital, parents and teachers are involved too.” The counsellor with 10 years experience believes the transparency of a session is questionable when too many people are involved.
According to her, children are not just affected by stress from studies but also from their immediate surroundings. “Parents facing job-related issues, loss of revenue, confinement at one place, etc can also affect the child who is staying with them. But a child might not be comfortable speaking about it in the presence of the parents,” adds Balasubramanian.
Limited hours for online classes can also be an issue. Supriya (name changed on request), a child counsellor who has been associated with many schools, says, “These sessions tend to take a backseat with many schools following strict guidelines related to timings.” Group and individual sessions also play a role. “At school, although there were group sessions, children could also approach us directly, but now it’s not the same,” she adds.
Owing to the new normal, many schools are trying to find ways to fit in all these sessions. Sheeba John, student facilitator at Chaman Bhartiya School, says they are adding more individual sessions. “We are trying to squeeze in one-on-one sessions every fortnight. For confidentiality, we try to keep the parents away unless there is a threat to the child,” says John.