Counseling Service Procedures

1. Definitions and Abbreviations

1. 1 Psychological counseling and guidance specialist: The specialized employee who carries out the process of psychological counseling and guidance, and has academic and practical competence in his work.

2.1 Student (Counselee): An individual or an entity who needs counseling or guidance assistance in a developmental, preventive, or therapeutic aspect, or they have needs or difficulties in one or more aspects of life, and they requests guidance assistance. 

3.1 Psychological counseling and guidance: A professional process that aims to help counselees understand themselves better, overcome the problems they face, develop positive attitudes and logical and realistic thinking patterns, develop their capabilities, and enhance their efficiency in preventing life problems. This process also helps them to make sound decisions related to their scientific and professional future and the difficulties and challenges they face in the future.

4.1 Individual counseling: The counseling process that serves one counselee who suffers from special problems, or who is going through special circumstances.

5.1 Group counseling: The counseling process that serves a number of students (counselees) between (5-15) at the same time. Provided that they share a common problem or need between them.

6.1 The guideline file: The form used to collect information, diagnosis, guidance plan and follow-up for individual and group cases.

7.1 Consultation Form: A form used to collect information and an advisory plan.

8.1 The confidentiality of the counseling profession: The privacy of the student (counselee), which he/she considers personal secrets as long as they are not intended to offend him/herself, others, or property.

9.1 Guidance Programs: It includes the offered programs such as development counseling and outreach counseling, and other events and activities.

10.1 Code of Ethics: Set of values, rights, duties, and work ethics according to which specialists and employees in the field of psychological counseling depend on and aim to preserve the dignity and rights of the parties to the counseling process. It constitutes a professional honor document that is adhered to by all specialists and workers in this field accredited by Sultan Qaboos University. (Appendix No. 4.1)

11.1 Individual counseling: It is a service provided in a special room for counseling in the form of weekly individual sessions, each of which extends for about (45) minutes, and may last for a semester or more according to the need and the nature of the difficulty faced by the student (counselee).

12.1 Group counseling: It is the process that serves a number of students (counselees) between (5-15) at the same time in a room, a special room for group counseling, provided that there is a common problem or need between them. It is a counseling relationship between the counselor and a group of students (counselees) (who share the problem they suffer from), which takes place in-group sessions that may extend to ten sessions in the group counseling room. 

13.1 Consultations: It is represented in providing educational, psychological, social, family or professional counseling, in several ways, including interview, phone, e-mail, and social media for the center (Instagram and Twitter). This consultation is usually one-time and not limited to a specific time. There is a special form in which the specialist records the consultation’s summary.

14.1 Developmental Counseling: These are targeted developmental lectures in the psychological, educational and academic fields provided by a specialist in one of the university's large halls. These lectures last for one hour during the official working hours and the student can attend them without prior registration.

15.1 Outreach Counseling: These are targeted developmental lectures in the psychological, educational and academic fields provided by a specialist in one of the large halls of the university or in students’ living campuses. It is usually conducted in the evening outside working hours and lasts for one hour, and the student can attend it without prior registration.  

16.1 Training workshops: It is a targeted training event on specific skills in the academic and life aspects, given to progress to a specific number of students, does not exceed (30) students. The participant obtains a training certificate. The workshop requires pre-registration, and it is presented in halls that are reserved in advance or in the Student Counseling Center’s (SCC) hall. It is hold in the evening or on official holidays in the morning.

17.1 Dialogue sessions: These are specialized sessions organized by the Student Counseling Center (SCC) in cooperation with various bodies within the university. Usually the session is managed by one of the students.

18.1 Relaxation sessions: It is a group of sessions that the student can participate in any of them, through which he/she is trained in the mechanisms of relaxation, which is one of the methods of reducing academic and life stress.

19.1 Training Seminars for Employees: A training event to develop specific skills provided to a number of employees not exceeding (20) employees.

1. 20 University: Sultan Qaboos University

2. Responsibility for implementation

 Student Counseling Center at Sultan Qaboos University.

3. Procedures: Procedures for the student to obtain the counseling service:

1.3. The Student Counseling Center announces, at the beginning of each academic semester, its services and activities provided to students through the university e-mail and the center’s various websites. The center also coordinates with colleges to conduct number of meetings with students and participate in some students’ activities.

2.3 Receiving Counseling Cases: University students are received according to the following:

1.2.3 Mechanism for providing the service: The counselee (student) is required to personally come to the Student Counseling Center or by phone or e-mail to set a date for the counseling session from the reception desk. The counselee (student) may be transferred to the SCC from various university units such as (colleges, the academic supervisor, the Deanship of Student Affairs, the Auditors’ Services Office, and others).

2.2.3 Receiving Counseling Cases: It is done through the reception desk. The student (counselee)’s information is recorded in a confidential manner according to a secure electronic system linked with the specialist to determine the dates for providing the counseling service. 

3.2.3. Providing counseling services and guidance programs: The counseling needs and difficulties facing students are studied through:

• Conducting field research.

• Communication with the various colleges, deanships and centers. Example of the units that the center refers to: The Communication Committee headed by the director of the Student Counseling Center and the membership of the Assistant Deans of Colleges for Undergraduate Studies, the Deanship Of Student Affairs, the Deanship of Admission and Registration, the Center for Preparatory Studies, the Auditors’ Services Department and the Department of Behavioral Medicine at the University Hospital. These unites are referred to in determining students’ needs and challenges and to select appropriate developmental and preventive programs that will be presented to them by the center. The committee holds its meeting at the beginning of each semester.

• The communication between the center and the Student Advisory Council.

• The students’ suggestions that the SCC receive through the evaluation of the activities. Evaluation forms are used as feedback form to review the efficiency of the services provided and then work on improving them.

In light of this, the SCC prepares plans to provide counseling services and guidance programs to help provide appropriate solutions. The services provided by the center are as follows: Providing individual counseling, which is considered at the top of developmental, preventive and curative counseling services. Providing group counseling, in which every student (counselee) usually expresses his point of view and his way of thinking based on his vision and how to deal therewith. Providing consultations to students. Organizing and providing developmental and preventive services through guidance programs such as lectures, workshops and training seminars in cooperation with the relevant bodies inside and outside the university. The aim of these programs is educating the students about counseling services, settling counseling culture, seeking help, and acquiring some life skills, these programs include: 

- Developmental counseling.

- Outreach counseling.

- Training workshops for students.

- Dialogue seminars.

- Relaxation sessions.

- Training seminars for employees.

In addition to other programs offered by the center, such as cultural evenings.

Every semester, the center prepares a schedule of events and guidance programs that are presented by specialists to students. The registration dates for some programs, such as group counseling and training workshops, are previously set. Then, they are announced on paper and electronically by e-mail and through social media. Conducting scientific research in the field of counseling and fields related to students; in addition to, investigating and evaluating the appropriate counseling methods that are used in their guidance. Also, the center organizes and presents the appropriate developmental guidance programs according to the students’ needs. Usually, the center, through the Research and Measurement Department, prepares annually field or procedural studies, in order to:

• Recognizing the students ’needs through the specialists’ feedbacks during the provision of their services.

• Exploring the students ’needs so that guidance programs can be prepared for students.

• Keeping up with the progress in the countries of the world in this field and studying some variables.

• Participating in international conferences. Providing the psychological measurement services needed by the counseling and guidance specialist by measuring the traits, skills and abilities and identifying the problems of the student (counselee), which contribute to the counseling process of all kinds. The center has a wide range of credible psychological and professional tests and measures that are used in identifying the students (counselees) cases in order to help them solve their problems. This is done through:

• Recognition the specialist’s needs in terms of measurements and tests according to the services he provides to students.

• Helping the specialist to know the student’s personality and needs through the results of those studies. Providing various counseling services, and spreading the counseling culture in newspapers, magazines, social media and various media by issuing pamphlets and counseling publications, and this is done by presenting some topics to specialists to be prepared for and then communicating with the public relations department at the university to be published in various publishing fields.  

4.2.3. Evaluation of counseling services and guidance programs: Evaluation of counseling services and guidance programs, including: Counseling services and guidance programs are evaluated through evaluation forms related to those services (individual counseling, group counseling, training workshops for students, development counseling, outreach counseling, training seminars for employees, and social networks) in each academic semester, Appendix No. (2. 4), and it is done through:

  • Distributing the evaluation forms, which are as follows:
  • After collecting the paper and electronic forms, they are analyzed by a committee consisting of the Student Affairs Department and the Research, Measurement and Continuous Development Department.
  • The Center’s management is provided with the results of the forms and in their light, the efficiency of the services provided in that chapter is determined, and then work to improve them.

• After providing the individual counseling service, and specifically after the third session, a form is submitted to the counselee (student) in paper or electronic form to evaluate the service.

• After providing group counseling, specifically in the last tenth session, a form is submitted to the counselee (student) on paper or electronically to evaluate the service.

• After providing training workshops and lectures for developmental and outreach counseling, a form is submitted to the counselee (student), on paper or electronically, to evaluate the service.

• After providing training seminars for employees, an evaluation form is submitted.

• The evaluation form of the center's social media networks is sent to the followers.

5.2.3. Maintaining the security of data and files: The Center deals with the information of the counselees (students) according to: Special data is created for each counseling case, and only persons authorized according to the code of ethicsfor those working in the profession of psychological counseling and guidance at Sultan Qaboos University have access to them (Appendix  No. 1.4). Data of counseling cases are dealt with confidentially, with the necessity not to tamper with it and protect it from damage. The files of the counseling cases are destroyed after (7) years or after making sure that the student is not enrolled in the university, as the committee responsible for destroying the files is made up of the director of the center and two specialists.