CSQ MAGAZINE: YOU WORK IN A CÉGEP. IS YOUR ROLE DIFFERENT FROM THAT OF A PSYCHOLOGIST PRACTICING ELSEWHERE?
Geneviève Corbeil1: My team and I coach staff members who are concerned about or who report disturbing behaviours among the students they interact with.
We also conduct workshops with teachers where we discuss boundaries in the student-teacher relationship. The teachers are eager for advice; they want to define certain guidelines and be prepared for the challenges they face.
Our job is also to intervene in case of emergency or crisis and to follow up in psychotherapy.
WHAT PART OF YOUR WORK ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
Creating a true bond of trust. When someone says to me, « I don’t want to leave your office; I’m comfortable here,” I know I’ve made a real connection. Building a therapeutic relationship with a person in order to get them to know themselves better, to help them assert themselves, respecting their limitations and ambitions – it’s my thing.
These days, many young people struggle with anxiety, making countless decisions, but forgetting what’s most important: taking the time to decide for themselves. In this respect, the support we provide is beneficial.
SINCE THE LEGALIZATION OF CANNABIS IN OCTOBER 2018, HAVE YOU OBSERVED ANY CHANGES IN STUDENTS?
To be honest, nothing has really changed. We didn’t feel an increase in consumption, either in terms of frequency or quantity. Although the news made headlines, it kind of went unnoticed in the day-to-day context. In any case, our approach to all types of consumption, not just weed, is primarily based on openness and listening. We want to provide accurate information, but first we need to let the person speak freely.
What I do see is that, in some cases, the consumption problem is more serious than young persons realize. I also see more students consuming alone. And, we can’t forget alcohol, which is more accessible and consumed more, but often trivialized.
1 Geneviève Corbeil is president of the Syndicat du personnel professionnel du Collège de Sherbrooke (SPPCS-CSQ).