Full Project – The role of guidance and counseling among traumatized students in some selected schools

Full Project – The role of guidance and counseling among traumatized students in some selected schools

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Students are experiencing trauma at an alarming rate and the impact of this trauma has the potential to change the path of their lives significantly. As a result, the school environment must be a reflective, safe and nurturing space where students can work with dedicated caregivers to cope with traumatic events from the past and build a better educational future. “Early on, children decide whether they view themselves as learners, and by age 8, most children are on the academic path they will follow throughout their schooling” (Stacks & Oshio 2009). In order to truly address the needs that our students are coming to school with, educators must build their own skills and knowledge about trauma, its impact on the brain and stages of appropriate growth and development in for our youth. This knowledge can help teachers and those working in education to create environments and structures within the school setting in which all students can thrive.

The organ that defines every individual is the brain, and as new discoveries help us to better understand our brains, we must acknowledge that learning, memories and emotions all go hand in hand. We can all benefit from understanding the rudimentary functions of the brain, including why some of our experiences become lasting memories while others seem to disappear quickly (Erisman, S.M., & Roemer, L. 2010). Perhaps one of the most exciting discoveries about our brains is that we have the potential to learn new information and re-wire our brains throughout our lives. Understanding how the brain learns and concurrently understanding the impact of anxiety, trauma, joy, stress and other emotions on learning can facilitate interpersonal and instructional strategies that improve learning and increase resilience in our students and employees (Goldin, P. R., & Gross, J. J. (2010). The impact of toxic stress on our entire school community is becoming increasingly apparent. Healthy stress is a natural part of life and is necessary to push us to grow and develop, but toxic stress impairs attention, emotional regulation, sleep and learning readiness in students. In the long term, it can lead to serious mental and physical health issues.

For teachers, prolonged exposure to toxic stress leads to decreased productivity and creativity as well as increased frustration, anxiety and burnout (Blaustein, M., & Kinniburgh, K., 2010). One out of every four children attending school has been exposed to at least one traumatic event that can affect learning and behavior; impair learning, attention, memory and cognition; interfere with problem solving; and result in overwhelming feelings of frustration and anxiety (Davis, T.S. 2012). As a result, teachers are tasked with developing their own skills and abilities in order to support themselves and student learning in our nation’s classrooms.


In schools, guidance and counseling programs should be put place in schools with the aim of helping students to deal with numerous challenges experienced both at home and within the schooling environment. Studies suggest that due to the burdens imposed on the family, the time that parents have to offer guidance to their children is limited. As a result, the responsibility of guidance and counseling children has shifted from the parents to the schools where parents expect schools to offer adequate solutions to indiscipline cases. A report by UNESCO (2002) suggested that the sudden shift in roles is attributed to the money making mentality possessed by the African adults who are more than ever concerned about making money as opposed to the traditional practices that required adults to spend quality time bringing up their children. In addition, the hasty sociological challenges resulting from global forces of modernization and urbanization impose significant stress on students.

Nigeria has recognized the need for guidance and counselling. A survey conducted in the southern and central regions of the country suggested that there was ominous need and clearly defined rationale for the development of guidance and counselling programs (Taylor & Francis, 1998). This aimed at assisting the persons receiving counselling to have the potential of assessing themselves and their environment in real time. Egyptian studies by Allis and Kame (1999) among preparatory and secondary school children enrolled in government schools suggested that indiscipline cases arising from family background were few while those that were related to the children themselves were high. It is essential to note that schools are social systems founded on objectives. Thus, the contribution of guidance and counselling is important in determining the nature of discipline students possess as well as in shaping indiscipline cases early in advance.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) defines traumatic events as “those in which an individual experiences, witnesses or is confronted with actual or threatened death or serious injury or threatened physical integrity of the self or others” (Blaustein, M., & Kinniburgh, K. 2010). Contrary to what one might expect, the traumatic experience that a child may face, does not necessarily have to be violent in nature and does not have to be aimed solely on the child. Traumatic experiences in childhood are defined as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), including “physical, psychological or sexual abuse; violence against one’s mother; or living with household members who are mentally ill, suicidal or substance abusers or who were ever incarcerated.” According to a well-known study where ACEs were defined, “a person who has experienced traumatic events may feel intense fear, horror or helplessness, and in response a child may display disorganized or agitated behavior” (Davidson R. J., Kabat-Zinn J., Schumacher J., Rosenkanz M., Muller D., Santorelli S. F., et al. 2003).

Childhood trauma can be seen “the response to an event or series of events that render a child “temporarily helpless” and surpass the child’s “ordinary coping and defensive operations” (Beauchemin J., Hutchins T., Patterson F. 2008). Depending on the actual experience and diverse characteristics of the child that has been impacted, the depth of suffering and challenge can vary. “By being sensitive to students’ past and current experiences with trauma, educators can break the cycle of trauma, prevent re-traumatization and engage a child in learning and achieving success in school” (Scheeringa, M., Salloum, A., Arnberger, R., Weems, C., Amaya-Jackson, L., & Cohen, J.2007).

Children from all races and backgrounds experience and are affected by trauma, Research suggests that between half and two-thirds of all school-aged children experience trauma as they are exposed to one or more adverse childhood experience that can be trauma-inducing (Garro, A., Brandwein, D., Calafiore, T., & Rittenhouse, N. 2011).

“Traumatic experiences that occur during the time when the brain is still being developed have the potential to profoundly affect child development” (Ghosh Ippen, C., Harris, W., Van Horn, P., & Lieberman, A. 2011). Brain imaging shows that the brain continues to develop into early adulthood, with the peak times of development in early childhood and adolescence. More specifically, areas such as the hippocampus, which is involved in learning and memory, develop rapidly in early childhood, while the prefrontal cortex, which regulates thoughts and attention, matures more rapidly during adolescence (Cohen, J., Mannarino, A., & Deblinger, E. 2006). When exposed to a stressor, the body responds through a “fight,” “flight” or “freeze” response that activates several systems in the body and releases stress hormones that are designed to be protective for survival (Cook, A., Spinazzola, J., Ford, J., Lanktree, C., Blaustein, M., Cloitre, M., et al. 2005). These children are then described as existing with ongoing, pervasive anxiety, stress and fear. These emotions and the inability to cope have negative consequences for appropriate development, both neurologically and developmentally. Anyone working in education can vividly describe the impacts of trauma on student learning, social-emotional well-being and behavior at school. Specifically, children who have experienced trauma struggle with focus, access to instruction, short term memory and the need for sensory input. All of these areas then have the potential to delay the acquiring of new skills such as reading, writing and math. “In a sample of high-risk children at a pediatric clinic in Florida, children who were exposed to four or more adverse experiences were 32 times more likely to have learning or behavioral problems than their peers with no adverse experiences” (Badenoch, B., 2008).


Every public education system must critically reflect on the social-emotional needs of the children it serves. Howard Gardin stated that “academic achievement, social and emotional competence and physical and mental health are fundamentally and multiply interrelated and therefore, the best and most efficient way to foster any of those is to foster all of them” (Diamond, 2010, p. 789). We have no choice to but to ensure that our schools foster not just academic success but also personal development and well-being for all. Adopting trauma in formed instruction practices in schools is an approach to tackle these challenges because prevention and education can be provided simultaneously, thus addressing a wide range of student needs and unfulfilled potential.

Trauma affects the ability for children to have positive interactions and relationships with peers and adults both inside and outside of the classroom. The impact of trauma could manifest itself by creating children who are seemingly anxious, afraid and unable to trust those around them.

“Research indicates that children who have been exposed to violence often have difficulty responding to social cues and may withdraw from social situations or bully others” (Wright, T. 2014). Children impacted by trauma often have challenges with those in positions of authority, rules, expectations and associated punishments. “The consequences of traumatic experiences have the potential to destroy the lives of children by increasing their risk for mental and physical health problems, substance abuse and criminal justice involvement in adolescence and adulthood” (van der Kolk, B.A. 2005).


The study specifically intended to determine

  1. To examine the role of the Guidance and Counseling among traumatize students in some selected secondary school in Zango-Kataf and Kaura LGA of Kaduna State.
  2. To determine cause of trauma among students in some selected school in Zango-Kataf and Kaura LGA Kaduna State.
  3. To Determine the impact of trauma on students in some selected schools in Zango-Kataf and Kaura LGA of Kaduna State.
  4. To determine the Guidance and counseling practice adopted in some secondary schools in Zango-Kataf and Kaura LGA of Kaduna State.
  5. To determine the challenges of applying guidance and counseling some secondary schools in Zango-Kataf and Kaura LGA of Kaduna State.




The research questions are:

  1. What is the role of guidance and counseling among traumatize students.
  2. What are causes of taumatization among students in some selected schools in Zango-Kataf and Kaura LGA of Kaduna State.
  3. What are the impact of trauma on students.
  4. What are the challenges face by school administrators in adopting guidance and counseling in some selected school in Zango-Kataf and Kaura LGA of Kaduna State.
  5. What are the guidance and counseling practice adopted in some of the schools in Zango-Kataf and Kaura LGA of Kaduna State.
  6. What is the benefit of guidance and counseling among traumatize students in some selected schools in Zango-Kataf and Kaujra LGA of Kaduna State.


H0:       There is no significant differences between students that are traumatize and those that are not traumatized

H1:  Differences between students that are traumatize and those that are not.



This study will contribute to current research on how to ensure that all students achieve success in school. The goal of this study is to explore and understand the role of guidance and counseling among traumatize students in school certain, specifically from the perspective of the school teachers, and counselors. Currently, students are experiencing toxic stress, which affect their ability to pay attention, regulate their moods and emotions, sleep and be ready to learn daily. In addition, prolonged exposure to childhood toxic stress has lifelong impacts on mental and physical health that begin as decreased productivity and creativity and then escalate to frequent anxiety, dissociation, frustration and burnout (Black, D.S., Milam, J., & Sussman, S. 2008).

This study will be of great benefit to the government, curriculum planners and also policy makers, the school management and authority on the need and importance of guidance and counseling in the school setting. To the school counselor, on how guidance and counseling can be of use to the students and teachers and students on the role and benefit of guidance and counseling.


This study title “The role of Guidance and Counseling among traumatize Students Would be carried out in some selected senior secondary schools in Zango-Kataf and Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State and will include both male and female students.

In carrying out this research many factors served as constraints:

  1. Time Limitation: Time factor constitutes a major limitation of this research study. It relates to the fact that the time for this research work.
  2. Lack of Fund: Due to high involvement of this work, the researcher has narrowed the study to some selected schools in Zango-Kataf and Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State.


Trauma: is as an experience that threatens life or physical integrity and that overwhelms an individual’s capacity to cope.

Guidance:  to a range of activities that enables citizens of any age and at any point in their lives to identify their capacities, competences and interests, to, make educational, training and occupational decisions and to manage their individual life paths in learning, work and other settings.

Counseling: Is a form of ‘talk therapy’. It is a process where an individual, couple or family meet a trained professional counselor to talk about issues and problems that they are facing in their lives.

Guidance and Counseling: Can be define as the process of helping a traumatize individual/students

Student: A person formally engaged in learning, especially one enrolled in a school or college or university.


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Full Project – The role of guidance and counseling among traumatized students in some selected schools