Don Seeks More Empowerment, Recognition for Counsellors

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Uchechukwu Nnaike

A Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Benin, Edo State, Mrs. Elizabeth Omotunde Egbochuku, has stressed the need for curriculum reform for the education and training of counsellors to strengthen their capacity to function effectively in the emerging cognate occupational opportunities in Nigerian society.

Egbochuku, a Professor of Guidance and Counselling since 2009, also expressed concern that the Counselling Association of Nigeria (CASSON) does not have a legal backing as an association, this she said should be rectified.

The university don who is one of the presidential candidates for this year’s election of CASSON, which will hold tomorrow as part of the association’s conference, promised that if elected, she would galvanise the association to work towards the actualisation of a legal status for CASSON. “The legislation for the professionalisation of our great CASSON shall be vigorously pursued at the House of Assembly and at the state Houses of Assembly levels to a conclusive end.”

She promised to collaborate with relevant agencies of government to ensure curriculum reform for the education and training of counsellors that would also strengthen the capacity to function effectively in the emerging cognate occupational opportunities in the society, as well as to make CASSON a more visible professional association in the society that lends a voice on issues that touch on its cognate occupational jurisdiction.

Egbochuku, who noted that there are many people who are not fully trained claiming to be counsellors, said to curb quackery, her administration would work to create Counsellors’ Registration Council to regulate professional practices, as counsellors need to be professionally licensed to practice. “Upon the realisation of the professionalisation of CASSON, the certification and licensure programme will be pursued and conclusively implemented.”

She also promised to collaborate with the government to create counselling units in all government agencies and institutions; liaise with government agencies to streamline and diversify quality counsellor education programme in the country; evolve a programme of continuous professional education for counsellors; work for a research and knowledge based profession; as well as to make CASSON more visible to the outside world.

To members of the association, she said with her as the president and Prof. Muhammad Yakasai as Vice-President, the executive council would explore ways of raising funds to organize skills acquisition (particularly for new skills, techniques and emerging issues) training not only at pre-conferences but in-between annual conferences.

“The CASSON secretariat building, which is at the foundation level of construction, will be pursued with a view to completing it within the mandate period given to me as president of CASSON, making judicious use of the funds meant for it.”

While describing counselling as a type of talking therapy that allows a person to talk about his/her problems and feelings in a confidential and dependable environment, she said humans need someone to help in finding solution to problems and therefore avoid tensions and conflicts. “The need for counselling is therefore paramount.”