Student Counseling: Free service to all IOL students

IOL strives to ensure that there is a purposeful focus on the uplifting and maintaining of the well-being of all IOL students, therefore IOL now offers students a platform to communicate about social, psychological, spiritual, emotional or physical challenges that impact their lives and studies negatively. On this platform the students can interact with the IOL student counsellor which provides a confidential space for students to communicate openly about sensitive issues.

The counseling services at IOL include programs that seek to assist students in maintaining the balance between the continuous demands of academia and other pressures of life that they may face.

The counselor provides support to students in their personal development by assisting them to better understand their thoughts, feelings and behavioral patterns.

The Student Counselor at the Institute of Open Learning is a Social Worker with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work (Hons) and is registered with the Health Professions Councils of Namibia (HPCNA).

The counsellor can be consulted on a voluntary basis and all counseling cases are always treated with the utmost confidentiality. For consultation bookings the following are the contact details and consultation hours;

Tel: + 264 61 270 9186 OR Sms: Counsel to 711

Link: Student Counselling Feedback Form

Consultation Hours: 8:00-12:00 and 14:00-16:30


What is Counselling?

Counselling: A practice of understanding

Counselling provides a safe place; separate from your daily life where you can deal with issues that cause difficulty in your life and studies. It is a time were you can talk about your problems freely and comfortably. Counselling is a disciplined relationship between the counsellor and the student that is based on trust, sharing, confidentiality, support and understanding in a non-judgemental way.


  • Telling someone what to do
  • Formal
  • Imposing
  • Interfering

What does a counsellor do?

  • Support in a purposeful manner to assist you in finding your way forward
  • Provide a confidential space to talk about your concerns and help the students to deal with the pressures of life
  • Provide a feeling of being listened to, valued and accepted in a non-judgmental way
  • Puts no added pressure on you (The counsellor is not here to tell you what to do but rather to help you find the answers and solutions to the problems that you face daily)
  • Provides information and assistance to students, parents and tutors about a wide range of matters such as students’ personal problems
  • Helps students mediate social conflicts, pursue their goals and recommends future career options.
  • Works as a mediator between the student and the institute if there is an argument and tries to resolve it
  • Helps students to understand their skills and how to use them
  • Provides information to the students regarding IOL

The student counselor may provide assistance to students individually (one-on-one) and in groups.

Different types of counseling

1. Individual Counseling

Individual counseling is a personal, one-on-one approach where the counselor focuses on increasing your individual self-awareness, the adjustment and development of an individual towards more satisfying human relations and a better family life. Individual counseling can help you identify the most effective ways for you to personally achieve your desired goals as well as provide you with the tools to cope with difficult circumstances that may arise along the way.

2. Family Therapy

Family units have different group pathologies to individuals, which require different types of counseling. A family counselor is trained in the types of negative family dynamics that can occur and how it affects each individual family member. The counselor can then teach family members how to work and live together in a more positive way.

The initial family therapy session focuses on engagement and assessment:

Engagement: Forming a therapeutic trusting relationship between the counselor and the family to explore the family relationships and problems.

Assessment: Identifying the family’s interpersonal patterns and working on the ones that contribute to the problem experienced.

Family therapy focuses on the family’s boundaries, power, intimacy and communication patterns.

Family therapy provides a platform for the counselor and the family to establish rapport, discussing the problem experienced, establishing goals and an intervention plan to resolve the problem, putting the plan into action before terminating the helping relationship.

3. Group Work

In group work, the group leader or counselor works with a group of people who are experiencing a common problem and help them to find means to resolve their problems. Group work can be especially beneficial for people who are more comfortable in the group dynamics. The most commonly used groups are:

  • Psycho educational Groups

Focusing on educational issues with members (e.g Substance abuse prevention group)

  • Therapeutic (Counseling ) Groups

Helps members to resolve the common yet difficult problems of living (Career, education, personal, social, developmental concerns, etc.)

The stages in which Group Work progresses, include:

  • Pre-group stage

Planning all the logistics to conduct the group and getting the group together

  • Initial Stage

Group members start building rapport, clarifying their expectations and identify goals

  • Transition Stage

Stage in which group may experience anxiety, defensiveness and resistance. Establishing trust is essential in this stage of the group progress

  • Working Stage

Group members explore significant problems that they are experiencing at that stage and develop solutions to the problems.

  • Final Stage

Group members prepare themselves to separate from the group, giving and receiving feedback and discussing follow-up possibilities for the members.

The counselor will utilize the following skills when working with the students:

  • Sympathy
  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Reliability
  • Warmth
  • Tolerance
  • Attentive Listening
  • Reasons to seek counseling


Reasons to seek counseling

Life Skills

  • Adjusting to Distance learning
  • Body image concerns
  • Career guidance
  • Curbing/managin examination stress and examination techniques
  • Difficulties in relationships
  • Effective Parenting Skills
  • Life transitions and change
  • Loss and grief
  • Peer Influences
  • Resilience
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Stress management

Social Issues

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Passion Killing
  • Poverty
  • Substance Abuse
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Trauma
  • Unemployment
  • Violence

Student Support Figures

Student Support figures and their significance and influence in a student’s studies

(parents/guardians, spouses, colleagues/employees/employers, student counsellors and Institution Staff) Student Support figures and their significance and influence in a students studies

Studying at a distance education institution is quite a challenge, having the needed support from the people that surround you including your parents/ guardians, spouses, colleagues, employers, employees, student counsellor and institution staff, is significant in the success thereof. Student enrolment at distance institutions are speedily increasing, therefore the institution needs to commit to providing appropriate and effective support services to retain students and to increase the intake and as a result upgrade the educational upliftment of the community at large, however it is important that it is not entirely depended on the institution to provide all the support, family members, and all significant others need to assist the institution in providing the motivation and support needed for the student to make a success of their studies.

It is important that distance students’ posses’ strong self-discipline and self-confidence characteristics as well as have the ability to function independently. Even though these characteristic traits need to be visible in the student it is also very significant that the student obtain optimal support from those who surround him or her.

Student support services do not only start after the student has enrolled, but prior to this parents/ guardians, spouses, colleagues, employers and employees need to encourage the person to pursue their study goals. Once the client makes the final decision of enrolment the marketer assisting the client in the pre-enrolment stage need to provide the needed support with all the relevant information and answer all the clients’ questions to the best of his or her ability as well as assistance to complete the application with all the correct information. The channel that the clients application takes through the institution for the official registration and attaining of material need to be effectively maintained to provide efficient services to the student.

Once the client is enrolled, the need for support does not end here. The student then needs to remain motivated. Parents/ guardians, spouses, colleagues, employers and employees need to support the student with words of encouragement and motivation. The institution has to provide the student with all the needed support to smoothly and successfully pass the course by providing study material and technology tools, library facilities, counselling services, financial aid or financing and the support services must be user-friendly.

The people that surround the student should not put unnecessary pressure on the student, but rather ensure that he or she has adequate space and time to study.

Employees should encourage their employers to study in order to bring in new knowledge and expertise into the company and just as employees need to provide encouragement it is advisable that employers support their staff members to uplift their skills, knowledge and expertise that they could plough back into the company to make the company an even greater success.

Not only does this support provided to the student reflect good on the student when he or she passes the course, but it also reflects positively on the institutions success rates, the company where the person is employed expertise upliftment and it will also portray the families strong bond.

Encouragement is the key to success and discouragement closes the doors to success.



Below are the sources used to compile the student counseling information:

  1. Student Counseling Services (2012) available from
  2. Van Heerden, E. (2005). Life Skills My journey, my destiny. Van Schaik Publishers. Pretoria
  3. Adjusting to Distance Learning (2012) available from
  4. Adjusting to Distance Learning (2012) available from
  5. Adjusting to college (2012) available from
  6. Time wasters (2012)available from
  7. Substance Abuse (2012)available from
  8. Addiction (2012) available from
  9. Student Counseling Health Support (2012) available from
  10. HIV/AIDS Counseling course. Trainers Manual.(n.d).Centre for the Study of AIDS. University of Pretoria
  11. Edyta Zabielska (2011-2012).The difference between stress and depression: Knowing the facts. The Public Servant. Namibia
  12. Dealing with Anger (2012) available from­_conditions/dealing_with_anger
  13. Anger Management (2012) available from
  14. Weiten, W (2000) Psychology: Themes  and variations.
  15. Foxcroft (2009) psychological perspective: a south African context.
  16. Panic Disorders retrieved October 2012 from disorders
  17. Anxiety. Retrieved October 2012 by C, Stoppler  from
  18. Retrieved October 2012 from (COMBINED EDITORIALS)
  19. Suicide (2012) available from
  20. Bezuidenhout F. J (2000) A reader on selected Social Issues. Van Schaik Publishers, Pretoria
  21. D’Arcy, Lyness. Self Esteem. Retrieved November 2012 from
  22. Grief and Loss Retrieved on January 14 2013 from
  23. Mourning. Retrieved on September 2, 2010 from
  24. Retrieved January, 15 2013  from www.globalindicators/
  25. Heise, J (1994) Domestic  Violence, Oxford Press
  26. Retrieved January , 8 2013  from  http://www.criminal minds  Buddy  T.  (2012)
  27. Retrieved January,  8 2013  from
  28. Article by P, Phillips  retrieved from http/
  29. Beazetta Beukes Research Project: Youth Unemployment in Namibia (2011)
  30. Poverty and Inequality: Seen Environmental Learning Information Sheet no 1. Retrieved on January 29, 2013 from

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