Personal Counseling

Why School Counseling?


Professional school counselors are certified professionals with a masters degree or higher in school counseling or the equivalent, and are uniquely qualified to address the individual needs of all students. Professional school counselors work towards delivering a comprehensive school counseling program that promotes maximum student achievement through the academic, personal, and social development of all students. Their work is differentiated by attention to developmental stages of student growth, including the needs, tasks and student interests related to those stages. At Sacred Heart, the Personal Counselors and the University Counselor work in partnership to support Sacred Heart students in their college and career paths.

Systemic and Holistic Approach

At Sacred Heart, our counselors work together with students, parents, faculty, staff and outside community resources to provide a comprehensive counseling approach in the following areas:

  • Individual counseling, check-ins, and lunch bunches:  Students in grades K-12 can meet with the counselors regarding adjustment, worries or feelings of anxiety, friendships or conflicts, identity issues, academic and career planning, personal goals, family crises, or to process any life events or feelings they are having.
  • Personal Education: The counselors teach the High School Personal Education classes to all students in grades 9-10.  Personal Education classes focus on social-emotional learning and personal growth.  Topics include: 
    • safety and protective behaviors
    • mental health awareness 
    • gossip and rumors
    • social media and cyber civics
    • failure and success
    • mindfulness
    • stress management
    • body image and self-esteem
    • consent and sexual health
    • gender and sexuality
  • Curriculum support: The counselors plan and deliver lessons in the Junior school in various social-emotional topics.  They also supervise the Toolbox initiative that provides structure and opportunity for students to practice skills in emotional regulation, communication, and mindset. The 12 tools are: 
    • Use Our Words Tool
    • Patience Tool
    • Courage Tool
    • Garbage Can Tool (let the little things go)
    • Breathing Tool
    • Quiet Safe Place Tool
    • Please and Thank You Tool
    • Apology and Forgiveness Tool
    • Taking Time Tool 
    • Empathy Tool
    • Listening Tool
    • Personal Space Tool
  • Responsive Services: Responsive services are measures that meet  students' immediate and future needs. These needs can be necessitated by events and conditions in students' lives and may require any of the following:
    • Individual or small group counseling or crisis counseling
    • Consultation with parents, teachers, and other educators
    • Referrals to community resources and/or practitioners 

Counselling Policy

The full International School of the Sacred Heart Counselling Policy can be found here for your reference: Counselling_Policy.pdf

Communication and Parent Support

Together with parents and families, we strive to create a kind, caring and safe school environment for our students. We consider strong partnerships with parents, guardians, and families to be key to student success and helping students to feel part of a safe and supportive learning community. Parents are encouraged to contact the School Counselor directly with concerns or questions regarding their child's personal/social or academic needs. 

The school does not automatically contact parents of students who see the School Counselor as confidentiality is an important part of the service for many students. However, we do contact parents if students would benefit from longer-term counseling, which is not offered in school, and also of course, if there is any question of the student’s safety.

The counseling department now operates on a full time basis Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm, during term time.  There are currently three school counselors working on different days of the week.  They are all clinically trained therapists and bring sound counseling expertise from their diverse backgrounds and differing experiences. If you are interested in talking to one of them,  please try to book an appointment in advance as they cannot always guarantee availability on any given day: 

Wednesday, Thursday:  Counselor on duty is Dr. Nao Fujita:
Monday, Tuesday, Friday: Counselor on duty is Sr. Lydia Cho:

Age-Appropriate Resources to Talk About War

We have students from 50 countries this year. To support our families, our counselors assembled resources on ways to speak with children about war, and also offered sources regarding incorrect information about the violence in Israel/Gaza that is circulating on Social Media. You may find these helpful: 

  1. How to talk to kids about the violence in Israel and Gaza (NPR Podcast/Transcript  Oct. 12)

  2. How to Explain the Israel-Hamas War to Your Children ( - Oct. 11)

  3. 'Yes, It's Sad and Scary': How to Talk to Your Children About the Israel-Gaza War( - Oct. 12) 

  4. How to talk to your children about conflict and war (Unicef)

  5. Talking to Children about War fact sheet (

  6. Talking to Your Kids About War (

  7. How to Talk with Kids About War: Pointers for Parents (

  8. How to talk about war with your young child – and help them feel safe (

Concerns about Social Media 

Parents are encouraged to pay specific attention to the social media their children access. Tik Tok, X, Instagram, etc. have graphic and sometimes  incorrect information on the Israel-Gaza War. The following links are from NPR, Aljazeera, and the BBC respectively :

  1. Video game clips and old videos are flooding social media about Israel and Gaza

  2. Social media platforms swamped with fake news on the Israel-Hamas war

  3. TikTok latest firm after X and Meta to be warned by EU over Hamas videos

Counselor Profiles

About Dr. Nao Fujita

I am a developmental psychologist and UK-qualified teacher with a keen interest in the practice and research of cross-cultural child psychology. After receiving a PhD from the University of Cambridge, I undertook training in child psychoanalytic skills at the Tavistock Centre, London. Before joining ISSH, I offered one-to-one therapeutic work with children and young people in the UK. I look forward to getting to know many students at ISSH and am available on Wednesdays and Thursdays. 

About Sr. Lydia Cho

Lydia Cho has Masters degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and Art Therapy, and in the State of New York she is Licensed in both of these areas. She has over 25 years of experience as a therapist for individuals, families and groups (all ages and diverse cultural backgrounds) in community and school based organizations and in private practice. She has served as a clinical supervisor, consultant for early childhood teachers, provided parent education, and gave workshops for self-exploration and relationship building. She developed counseling programs tailored to families experiencing violent situations. Also, for the past 10 years she has been involved in retreat work as a spiritual companion with Sacred Heart faculty/staff, parents and alums.