Eating Disorder and the School Counselor

Introduction

Eating disorders are common among the students. They represent a complex situation that results from the combination of emotional, biological, social, and interpersonal factors (Vallance, Latner, & Gleaves, 2011). The hope with eating disorders is that they can be corrected such that the student goes back to their normal life when the student visits a trained counselor. Most students who suffer from the eating disorders are females, with males being less affected by the eating disorders. The disadvantage of the eating disorder is that they can easily interfere with the social interactions, self-esteem, and student performance in exams. At later stages, the eating disorders can graduate to a range of problems such as the heart problems and the kidney failure. This paper is a typical student/counselor scenario within a school setting centered on a student with an eating disorder.

Student Situation

The student in this scenario portrays the symptoms of eating disorders. From the physical body look, the student is characterized by a significant weight loss.  The weight loss results from the student restriction to certain diets by avoiding some foodstuffs that she dislikes. The student appears weak and disillusioned due to the eating disorder. Therefore, the student needs to be helped to recover her good health.

My Role as the Counselor

My role as a counselor is to help the student recover from the eating and live a normal life. I will present myself in a professional manner so that the student knows that I care and can help her regain her normal life. My attempts will involve helping the student from the secrecy and isolation that forms part of the worst effects of the eating disorder. As part of my professional practice, it’s my duty and to treat such students with dignity and respect. I recognize that each and every student is unique and needs to be treated differently. My ability to help the student with an eating disorder will only be limited to counseling services and not the provision of clinical therapeutic services.

As part of my counseling services, I will be concerned with student academic, social, career, and other personal needs. Since people come from various backgrounds, my counseling services will be informed by maximum respect for student beliefs, values, and sexual orientation (American School Counselor Association, 2016). In this regard, I will not impose any personal beliefs and values to my student during the counseling service. Therefore, my response to the intervention on the eating disorder will also be informed by the student needs. Also, my counseling services will be supported by the acknowledgment of laws and regulations affecting the student rights. Apart from the legislation, I will give consideration to the ethical responsibility as a professional counselor.

As a professional counselor, my interaction and communication with the student suffering from eating disorder will be confidential. Therefore, I will apply appropriate rationale and procedures informed by legal and ethical requirement regarding the student counseling service. In addition, I will inform my student the boundaries of confidentiality in our counseling practices together with the rules and procedure that surrounds the counseling process. However, I’m allowed by the law as a professional counselor to make the decision on behalf of the student in a scenario where the informed consent is not possible to get (American School Counselor Association, 2016). During the counseling process, I will strive to manage the boundaries and dual relationships to reduce the risk of harm to the student. At all times, I will strive to maintain a professional relationship with the student suffering from the eating disorder.

First, I will ensure that I take the student to a private room where the two of us can talk freely without interferences or fear of being heard by others. In this manner, I will understand the issue affecting the student in details so that I can help her accordingly. I will encourage the student to talk about the struggles they experience while living with this abnormal condition. I know that the sooner the student is helped with the eating disorder, the better. Therefore, I will strive to help the student as soon as possible so that she can recover adequately from the eating disorder. I will ensure that we pick a flexible time when the student will not be distracted by anything related to academic or social life. To help the student accordingly, I will be communicating my concern to the student in a non-judgmental manner (American School Counselor Association, 2016). This will help the student to share her anxiety about her eating disorder together with the recent discouragement to enable me help her accordingly. In addition, the student will be able to calm down once she realizes that my communication is very open and intended to help her deal with her eating disorder. I will explain my concerns to the student carefully and in a professional manner. In addition, I will mention to her the possible alternatives that we can use to help her get out of her eating disorder. Due to my professionalism, I will try very hard not to place any signs of shame and guilt on the student but assure her that such condition is normal. Such explanations will help the student to calm up further. I will assure the student that she will get adequate help that will see her get out of such a condition without much sacrifice.

Before I go far with my counseling process, I will try very hard to establish the cultural background of my student. The cultural background of the student helps to understand the behavior patterns and the eating patterns of the student (American School Counselor Association, 2016). Generally, the behavior of the student is affected by the eating patterns. In addition, the behavior pattern affects the values and the beliefs of the student in respect to eating behaviors. In this manner, I will initiate the counseling process with the understanding of boundaries of personal competence with an understanding of various skills and limitations.

After a careful understanding of the cultural background, I will have a full understanding of how to help the student deal with the eating disorder. Initially, I will explain to the student what I want to do so that she can approve or disapprove it accordingly. I will also encourage the involvement of the people concerned, such as the family and close friends as much as possible in my attempt to help the student.

To fully help the student suffering from eating disorder, I will maximize on my collaboration with the relevant stakeholders at the earliest time possible. In this regard, I will explore my list of agencies and resources within the school and the external communities that will help my student recover from the eating disorder. Accordingly, I will provide referral options from my list of vetted institutions to enable the student get advanced professional help in dealing with the eating disorder. However, I will be careful to avoid outside referral programs that my trigger heavy financial burden to the student.

During my encounter with the student, I will ensure that I do everything in the best interest of the student. In this regard, I will ensure that I do everything in good faith without any form of malice. To be fair, I will ensure that I tell the student on the possible limitations of my approach so that we develop trust in our counseling process (American School Counselor Association, 2016). Also, I will strive to develop awareness of the personal values, beliefs, and attitudes to enhance the effectiveness of the counseling process.

The Potential Outcome

After a carefully counseling service, the student is expected to recover from the eating disorder and start living a normal life. The potential outcome is that the student will have an improved self esteem that will relate properly to the body image (Mond et al, 2005). Furthermore, the patient will have an improved food intake that will lead to proper body metabolism and improved health status. The patient will stop being selective of different foodstuffs and change the behavior towards dieting.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is my responsibility as a counselor to help my student with professional service that will help her recover from the eating disorder. Therefore, I will strive to provide my services with accuracy and objectivity to help the student gain good health and continue with her studies. My counseling practice will be informed by responsibility to the student, to the learning institution, and the responsibility to the parents.

 

References

American School Counselor Association. (2016). ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors. (Online). Retrieved from  https://www.schoolcounselor.org/asca/media/asca/Ethics/EthicalStandards2016Draft.pdf

Mond, J. M., Owen, C., Hay, P. J., Rodgers, B., Beumont, P. J., & V. (2005). Assessing quality of life in eating disorder patients. Quality of Life Research, 14(1), 171-8. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11136-004-2657-y

Vallance, J. K., Latner, J. D., & Gleaves, D. H. (2011). The relationship between eating disorder psychopathology and health-related quality of life within a community sample. Quality of Life Research, 20(5), 675-82. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11136-010-9799-x

 

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