Personal Counseling

Why School Counseling?

 

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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 

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: 

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday:  Counselor on duty is Ms. Natasha Kottegoda-Breden: kottegoda.breden@issh.ac.jp
Thursday:  Counselor on duty is Ms. Denisse Moreno: denisse.moreno@issh.ac.jp
Friday: Counselor on duty is Ms. Josephine Creighton: josephine.creighton@issh.ac.jp

Please check out the counselors profiles below:

About Ms Natasha Kottegoda-Breden

Hello!  I’m Ms. Natasha Kottegoda-Breden,  I am British, a MS parent at school and I am very proud to be a part of the ISSH Counseling department.  I really enjoy our International school community, the friendship, the bonding and emotional support that I witness on a daily basis between our girls is truly inspiring and uplifting.  This comradery and spirit of female friendship really takes me back to my early childhood, growing up in an all-girls Independent School in the UK from the ages of 4 until 18.  I can honestly say, hand on heart, my best friends to this day are my old school friends, that special childhood bond is still  there. 

Just to let you know a bit about me.  Over the past 15 years, with our young family in tow, my husband and I have lived and worked in many diverse countries such as Sri-Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.   From this experience of uprooting the family and moving every few years and effectively starting life again, I truly understand what change is and the challenges it can bring! This is our 6th country now and hopefully we are here to stay for a while! After many years in Corporate HR, I trained as a life and executive coach and then progressed into Counseling and therapy training thereafter.  I hold a Master’s degree in Counseling and professional accreditations in Coaching, Solutions Focused Therapy, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and a Diploma in NLP.

For the past 2 years, I have worked at ISSH as a Personal Counselor, helping our students to discover a true sense of themselves and their values.  I teach the girls' strategies to cope with life’s many challenges whether it be coping with erratic or low moods, high stress or anxiety, teaching new skills to improve difficult relationships, coping with family conflict/break up or integrating into a new school environment.  Some students simply need help with setting academic and personal goals so they can get the most out of the school year ahead.  

I like to emphasize to students the importance of maintaining a good work/life balance.  It's important to learn how to unwind, to give yourself a proper break and have fun when you can!  This enables you to recharge and gain energy for when you really have to knuckle down and put in some solid hard work, it also helps to avoid burn out.   For me, unwinding is playing tennis, tinkling on the piano, reading voraciously and playing bridge!

You can always find me on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in the school counseling room and my door is always open!

About Ms Josephine Creighton

Hello, my name is Josephine Creighton!

I am a British counselor, trained in Australia. I have a bachelor’s degree in (BSc) Social Psychology from Loughborough University (England) and a Masters of Counseling from Monash University (Australia).

I have grown up moving all over the world (including London, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore and now Tokyo), so I can empathise the emotions that come with living in a foreign country. I also attended international schools, so I understand the difficulties and unique experiences of this journey.

I’m really looking forward to working with the students of ISSH and helping build a safe and comfortable school environment. When working with students and younger clients, I find it’s really important to teach emotional intelligence. This helps the students more easily recognise and discuss how they are feeling, and this is a skill which they can use throughout their lives. In addition, I will help students come up with healthy coping techniques and make sure that they are leading happy lives within and outside of school. 

I hope to be a helpful, empathetic and trustful school counselor. I will be available on Fridays. 

About Ms. Denisse Moreno

Hello there! My name is Denisse Moreno and I am a Clinical Psychologist who specializes in children and teenagers. I am glad to become part of the ISSH Counseling team!

I come from Mexico, where I started working at schools from 2009. After working as a School Counselor for 6 years, I had the opportunity to come to Tokyo to study my Master Degree in Clinical Psychology via the Monbukagakusho scholarship program.

I have been living in Japan from 2015, and since then, I have been working with foreigners and researching how different factors can affect the adaptation process to different countries. While I work independently as a clinical psychologist, I really enjoy being part of a team while working at a school, so I decided to become part of the ISSH team when I had the chance!

In my years of experience working with children and teenagers I have found that one of the most important things in counseling is to listen and take people seriously. Teenagers usually feel like no one can understand their problems, and I want to understand and help. It does not matter how silly the problem looks, if it is a problem for you I will do my best to help you with it.

As a counselor my main goal is always to help whoever needs it. Everyone may need a different kind of help, and I try to find the best way to help every time. In the therapy setting I find myself using strategies from different therapy schools with a base of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy instead of just using one kind of therapy.

In my free time I enjoy painting, playing video games and board games, and tending to my balcony garden. A small hobby of mine is to find nature hiding in the city. There are interesting things everywhere if you know how to look for them! Come and see me on Thursdays.