School Counseling Provides Safety, Comfort – Sergio’s Story

Through the Catholic Charities School Counseling program, Sergio* was able to overcome his social anxiety.

Sergio is a 12-year-old Hispanic student who is currently in sixth grade. He was referred to his school counselor by his principal due to concerns about his behavior. Sergio had been expelled for three days due to experimenting with electricity in the classroom and was close to being dismissed from his school.

However, as a last resort, the principal decided to request counseling for him.

The school counselor from the Catholic Charities’ School Counseling program met with Sergio’s mother and learned that her son appeared to struggle with social skills. She said he also recognized this challenge and wanted to work on improving his interactions with others.

During individual counseling sessions, Sergio shared his love for science and experiments, helping to explain Sergio’s prior experimentation with electricity in the classroom. The school counselor helped Sergio explore safe ways to pursue this interest, including watching YouTube videos featuring science experiments and joining the science club.

Sergio’s counselor encouraged him to seek adult help in the future and helped him in developing social skills he struggled with such as making eye contact, carrying short conversations, and smiling when appropriate.  He was encouraged to put these new skills into practice. Realizing this would result in some anxiety for Sergio, the counselor practiced relaxation techniques with him, including deep breathing, positive thinking and stress ball use. Sergio now reports feeling comfortable making eye contact with others and engaging in small talk with his classmates.

Additionally, Sergio’s counselor invited Sergio’s mother to learn and reinforce the work they were doing at home to further help him buildup his social skills. Through joint counseling sessions with this mother he has also been able to express his love for science and experiments with her, as well as with his science teacher and friends.

Sergio’s mother and the principal report that Sergio now smiles more often, has new friends and communicates his feelings/thoughts better with others. He has also avoided getting into further trouble in school.

After working with the Catholic Charities school counselor, Sergio’s family expressed gratitude for his improved behavior. They also described themselves as more opened minded about the benefits of counseling and admitted that this experience helped break from previous negative stereotypes about those who seek counseling.

Catholic Charities’ School Counseling program provides a wide variety of support in school. Once a week children can participate in individual and group sessions to help in his/her personal growth. During these sessions school counselors address concerns and build strengths.

Learn more about the school counseling program here, or visit the Counseling Services page for more information on counseling programs.

*photo illustration