The Ghana National Association of Certificated Counsellors (GNACC) has expressed its dissatisfaction about the practice where teachers and some pastors paraded themselves as counsellors.
According to them, teachers were trained to prepare the intellectual abilities of students while counsellors were trained to prepare and meet students psychological needs and therefore the former could not play the role of the latter.
Subsequently, the association has implored on the Ghana Education Service (GES) to employ licensed Counselling Psychologist and strengthen counselling units in schools to adequately address the psychological needs of students to enhance academic performance.
Religious bodies have also been advised to contract the services of professional counsellors to handle critical counselling needs of their members.
Mrs Cecilia Tutu-Danquah, the Interim National President of GNACC said this at a pre-conference seminar for the 2018 International Conference for Counsellors and Associates (ICCA) in Cape Coast on Friday.
She said 'pastors should not think that their role of talking to their congregation one on one is a form of counselling'.
The conference, organised in collaboration with TUCEE Institute of Counselling and Technology sought to build the capacity of counsellors and their profession to use basic Information Communication (ICT) tools to reach their clients.
It was on the theme 'Cyber counselling: The innovative and ubiquitous tool for satisfying clients' needs'.
"The situation where teachers are used as counsellors is not helping. Teachers can only identify problems and try to use their intellectual ability to solve them, but the professional psychologist will employ the needed skills and techniques to address the problems' Mrs Tutu-Danquah stated.
She stressed that Counselling was core in the educational system which catered for the emotional and psychological needs of students and could not be neglected.
In this regard, she said the GNACC was undertaking an advocacy project dubbed 'Counsellors for Each School and Society in Ghana (CESIGH)' to promote counselling services in the educational system from basic to tertiary school levels, communities, workplace and religious institutions.
She said the advocacy project aimed at ensuring that all schools in Ghana, both private and public had professional counselling psychologists by 2020 which the conference formed part of.
Mrs Tutu-Danquah lamented about the apathy on the parts of some Ghanaians towards seeking counselling services though it was an important aspect of human life.
'People even think it's only when you have a problem that you need to see a counsellor, which is not true. You do not need to wait till you are sick before you see a counsellor. For all emotional issues, the counsellor is the first point of correction' she said.
She also bemoaned the unprofessional way of presenting the idea of counselling by some group of people and said that had negatively affected the professionalism of counselling in the country.