The Euroguidance Network

October 2010

In this edition:

Who cares for those who care?

A Cross Border Seminar on Professional Care for Counsellors

Professional care for those who work on a daily basis with the problems and needs of others (guidance practitioners, school counsellors, psychologists, etc.) is often neglected and has, on occasion,  been seen as secondary to their profession.

Nonetheless, these professionals constitute the core of all guidance services and the professionalisation of guidance counselling is not possible without paying particular attention to the training, education and personal needs of practitioners.

This was the main topic discussed at a cross-border seminar which took place in Bratislava in April 2010 and hosted guidance practitioners and experts from 7 countries: Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Various stressful situations in career guidance along with training opportunities and support for career guidance counsellors were discussed in workshops and some solutions were analysed.

The current situation in this area in all involved countries was mapped and each Euroguidance centre prepared a short national survey on four main topics: supervision, further training, well-being, and intervention resources. The national surveys established a base for a comparison and a generalisation of the current situation in all the involved countries. These led to formulation of conclusions and recommendations in the following areas:

Supervision and peer-supervision:
  • supervision is a recognised and valuable measure but can be time consuming and quite expensive
  • with regard to the challenging work of counsellors and their clients’ expectations, supervision should be included in working standards
  • peer-supervision (in comparison with supervision) is more effective and appropriate for lifelong learning at the workplace. It could be successfully supported by e-tools such as internet discussion forums, blogs, etc.
Further training:
  • the professionalisation of guidance requires a systematic monitoring of counsellors’ training needs and targeted training offers
  • public sector needs to develop stronger demand for quality vocational training which could lead to more tailored training opportunities
  • innovations in knowledge and methods should be ethically obligatory  for counsellor and should be a part of their working standard.
Well-being and intervention resources:
  • the working environment influences the client’s trust in the professionalism of counsellors; it is recommended that current facilities be improved so that they become more in line with the clients’ expectations and the changing needs of the counselling profession
  • the main attention should be on prevention measures to prevent burn out
  • employers and trade unions and other actors should promote existing prevention and intervention measures among counsellors.
Conclusions of the Cross Border Seminar 2010 together with contributions from speakers and workshop leaders on the Euroguidance Slovakia's website:
Cross Border Seminar

Maria Jassova
Euroguidance Slovakia