Student Support and Counselling at YCIS Beijing

Student support and counselling has been an essential part of the success of YCIS Beijing’s community for nine years and counting. School Counsellor Ron Drisner joined us to talk about the rewards and challenges of his unique role at the school as well as discuss the beneficial (and free!) Active Parenting workshops he offers to parents of both Primary and Secondary School children.

Please tell us about your primary role and responsibilities at school.
My main role as School Counsellor is to provide educational and emotional support to the students and families of YCIS. This might involve seeing students individually or in small groups, as well as going into classrooms and teaching lessons on relevant topics. I am also available to meet with parents on a one to one basis, along with providing a variety of workshops and parenting courses. As a School Counsellor I also work with teachers on a regular basis, consulting on effective strategies to support students in and out of the classroom.

What do you find particularly rewarding about your job?
It is always very rewarding to not only be entrusted to support individuals during some of the most challenging and vulnerable times of their lives but also to see when they’ve made a breakthrough and are empowered to see their situation change. Knowing that I’ve had even a small part in seeing someone’s outlook change for the better is always very satisfying.

What has been your most challenging experience working here at the school?
It is always difficult when the school community experiences a loss, especially through death. Whether it’s a student, parent or staff member, it impacts everyone. For expatriates being away from regular emotional supports that people usually have in their home countries, it is difficult time; a school can play an important part in being a place of support and compassion. It is through times of adversity that our YCIS Beijing community is able to come together and genuinely care for one another.

In your opinion, what is the best way to connect with parents?
Personally, I believe parent education is a great way for me to meet and support parents in what I hope is a relaxed yet informative atmosphere. This type of setting can be a very proactive and positive way to deal with issues before they become too serious. Parents often come to our workshops with an attitude of wanting to learn and find solutions and not focus on problems. They also very quickly discover that the challenges they are facing are similar to those of other parents in the group and very soon friendships are formed that begin to go beyond the group.


Do you offer activities or workshops?
At YCIS we offer “Active Parenting” courses, which are a popular, and pioneering parenting education programme open to the public. These are courses that run for six weeks for two hours each session and through the use of discussion, video scenarios, and interactive activities and practice, parents learn and improve their parenting skills. We offer two types of courses in Active Parenting: “Active Parenting Now” for parents with children ages 5 to 12 years old and “Active Parenting of Teens” for parents of 13 to 18 year-olds.

Additionally, we present a variety of onetime workshops on topics such as parenting styles, communication, effective discipline, third culture kids, cultural transitions, international moves and more. We will host one such workshop with Beijing United Family’s Head of Psychiatry Dr Caleb Korngold on March 1 that will cover general topics related to Teen Health.

What are some of the skills your workshops help to teach parents? What areas of expertise do these cover?

There are a variety of skills that we attempt to cover in the workshops and courses offered to YCIS parents. Below is a sample of some of these skills:

  • Improve communication techniques between parents and their child
  • Teach responsibility and other important character traits
  • Use appropriate discipline techniques that work
  • Handle problems as they come up
  • Defuse power struggles
  • Stimulate independence in children
  • Help parents and their children transition smoothly to and from Beijing

Interested in attending one of these fabulous workshops or seminars? There’s still time to sign up!

YCIS Beijing’s Teen Health Seminar is on March 1 and Active Parenting Workshops start on March 7 for parents of Primary School kids and March 8 for parents of Secondary School preteens and teens.

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