Adapting to Change: How Will Counsellors Stay Ahead of the Curve in an AI Era

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When it comes to AI Counsellors need to be knowledgeable and keep up to date. Your voice and expertise matter. How are you learning more about AI? When thinking about the impact of AI it can be both intriguing and alarming. What are your thoughts?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and YOU

  • How can AI be used to enhance your counselling process?
  • What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of incorporating AI in counselling?
  • How might the increasing use of virtual assistants and virtual counsellors, chatterbots, impact the counselling profession? How will you adapt to these changes and continue to provide effective services?
  • How can AI be used to complement human intelligence in the counselling process?
  • What ethical considerations should be taken into account when using therapeutic AI in counselling?
  • How will you address the potential impact of AI on the therapeutic relationship?
  • How will you navigate the emotional connection that some clients/ students may have with computer programs?
  • What do you think about therapeutic robots like Paro ?
  • How will you continue to prioritize the therapeutic relationship in a world increasingly influenced by technology?
  • How might technology enhance or detract from the therapeutic alliance?
  • What steps will you take to advocate for your profession and address ethical considerations surrounding the use of AI in counselling?
  • How can you collaborate with others who are interested in AI?

There is so much to consider. How will you stay informed and educated about emerging AI technologies? You can start by joining AI and You: Etmooc 2. It’s never too late to learn something new.

It’s OK to Say No

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Learning to say no can be challenging, but I respect when people admit they are just too busy or don’t feel like they can do something at this particular time in their life. I especially appreciate when people do not ignore your request, but actually get back to you by taking two minutes to say NO in an email or in person. When we take control over our own lives, set boundaries and say no, we feel better about who we are and stay true to our core values.

The next time someone asks you to do something don’t feel guilty, just respond with one of these choices :

  1. I’m honoured that you asked, but I can’t commit at this time.
  2. Thanks for reaching out and for the kind invitation, I appreciate the opportunity, but unfortunately, I am unable to at this time.
  3. Thank you for thinking of me, I’m afraid I’ll have to decline.
  4. That sounds so interesting, but I have to pass this time.
  5. I wish I could, but I have other commitments that I need to attend to.
  6. Thanks for the invitation, but it’s not possible for me right now.
  7. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to participate, but I appreciate the offer.
  8. I’m sorry, but I have to say no as I am overcommitted.
  9. Thank you for thinking of me, but I’m unable to accept this time.
  10. I’m sorry, but unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it.
  11. Thanks for considering me, but I’ll have to decline this time.
  12. I appreciate you thinking of me , but regretfully have to decline your offer. All the best.
  13. I appreciate the opportunity, but I won’t be able to take it on at this time.
  14. Grateful that you asked me, but unfortunately, I can’t at this time as I am over-committed.
  15. Appreciate the invitation, but I’m unable to at this time.
  16. With regret, I am unable to accept this intriguing invitation. My regards.
  17. At this time I am not adding anything to my work/tasks/projects as my family is the top priority.
  18. I appreciate your interest, but I can’t commit at this moment.
  19. Unfortunately, I have to say no, but thank you for reaching out.
  20. Thanks for thinking of me. I am swamped at the moment, so unfortunately I cannot commit.

I asked two people to do something in the past month and both said no. Although I would have preferred it if they said yes, I so appreciated their response and let them know that I respected their NO. Putting your own needs first is not selfish, people would rather hear a no and you be true to what you value. Being honest and upfront matters. So go ahead and say no and truly mean it. It’s OK.

Bringing Humanity Into The Conversation: AI Is Not Going Away, But Are We Going Away With It?

Is it artificial intelligence or artificial intimacy? Even chat GPT agrees that having a human interaction is essential.

“Human interaction is vital in AI and counselling because counselling involves more than just providing information or advice. It also involves building a relationship of trust, empathy, and understanding between the counsellor and the client. While AI can provide information and suggestions based on data and algorithms, it cannot replicate the human ability to empathize, connect, and understand a person’s unique circumstances and experiences. A human counsellor can pick up on subtle cues, provide emotional support, and adjust their approach based on the client’s reactions and needs. Additionally, counselling often involves exploring sensitive and personal topics, and it’s essential for clients to feel safe and comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. Human counsellors can create a non-judgmental and supportive environment that fosters openness and trust. While AI can provide some benefits in counselling, such as offering access to resources and providing quick answers to common questions, it cannot replace the human connection that is essential in the counselling relationship.” Chat GPT

As a psychologist even though I am very interested in technology, I do not ever want to forget what matters when it comes to being with and working with people. It’s all about relationships. Yes, we can create relationships online (I am extremely grateful for my PLN) and on computers, but nothing compares to real humans being together sharing real life conversations where we feel understood and can express ourselves and let others feel heard with empathy. A real hug (with permission) is much better than a virtual hug or a hug by a robot any day in my opinion.

Empathy matters. A study by Konrad , O’Brien and Hsing 2011  reviewed thirty years of research that measured empathy among college students. They found a forty percent decline in empathy . Most of the decline was found in the last decade, so the researchers linked the decline to the presence of mobile communication.

When I sit across from my family members or friends without my phone on, I know it matters. I make a point of focusing on the people I am with and what they have to say. I am sure they know I am present. I used to do this as a School Counsellor before cell phones. I would say to the student, just know if the phone rings I will not answer it as my focus is on you.

According to Turkle, research by Prysblyski and Weinstein 2012 , shows that the presence of a mobile phone even on a table whether on or off does two things:

1. the conversation turns to more trivial matters

2. people in the conversation feel less connected to each other

Even a silenced phone can cause distance between us. It’s important to be present and encourage our youth to do so too.

Lived lives matter. How and what we do matters. I do not believe that machines will never be able to emulate the lifelong experience of a person or learn to be empathetic. In order to really be understood and feel we are heard on a deep level, we need to be human, we need to have lived a life. I do not believe AI will ever be able to replicate those lived experiences.

There is so much to think about and consider:

  • Will robots every really be able to interact the way a human does? 
  • When a robot reads to a child will it be able to show the love and affection and comfort that a human does. Will a robot be able to question and elaborate and giggle along with a child when someone reads to them?
  • Will the world be a better place because of AI?
  • Will education and schools be better because of AI?
  • How can we teach others to use a blended AI approach while highlighting the creative voice of their own?
  • What is it we value? Do values matter when it comes to AI?
  •  “Are we really ready to become a machines companion even if they are willing to become ours?”  Sherry Turkle
  • Are you ready to embrace AI fully with an open heart keeping humanity in mind? 
  • Do you really think the trust, empathy and understanding that comes from connecting with another person on a deep level can be replicated by a machine?
  • What happens when people try to use AI for the betterment of humanity, but it ends up causing harm?
  • What will matter in this moment of time? AI is not going away, but are we going away with it? Or can we find new even more creative ways of using AI in educating and helping others?
  • How can we empower people in the present to use AI for the betterment of humanity?

I am excited about the possibilities of AI in regard to how it can make the world a better place, and the opportunities to connect and help each other. I look forward to and hope AI finds a way to always keep humanity in mind. I hope you will join us as we explore this topic in session 4 in #ETMOOC2

There are so many more important considerations to ponder, and I’m curious to hear your thoughts.


Empathy Machines: Forgetting the Body in Digital Culture.”  In A Psychoanalytic Exploration of the Body in Today’s World, Vaia Tsolas and Christine Anzieu-Premmereur (eds.). New York: Routledge, 2017.  Reprinted in Women Reclaiming the City: An International Research Handbook on Urbanism, Architecture and Planning, T. Haas and M. Schwab. Lanham MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2022.

The Year of Not Living Thickly.” In Now Comes Good Sailing: Writers Reflect on Henry David Thoreau, Andrew Blauner (ed.). Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021.

AI and the School Counsellor


AI can help School Counsellors and the possibilities are just beginning. Of course, we all need to understand AI better. This will be an ongoing journey that can help all those in the counselling field. By deepening our understanding of AI’s potential benefits, as well as its potential risks, School Counsellors can harness this technology to better support their students. As we embark on this exciting journey, we recall the origins of AI in counselling Eliza, a chatbot therapist.

Here is what Chat GPT has to say about how it believes it can help School Counsellors : As an AI language model, here are 20 things that I can suggest to help School Counsellors :

  1. Provide information on various mental health disorders and their symptoms
  2. Offer guidance on creating effective and engaging counselling sessions
  3. Suggest appropriate counselling strategies for different age groups
  4. Assist in developing counselling programs tailored to specific needs
  5. Provide insight on current research and best practices in the field of counselling
  6. Help with data analysis and evaluation of counselling programs
  7. Offer guidance on managing crisis situations
  8. Assist in creating resources for students and parents to access
  9. Provide advice on working with diverse populations and cultural sensitivity
  10. Help develop techniques for stress management and mindfulness
  11. Offer guidance on managing student behavior and discipline
  12. Provide information on the legal and ethical considerations in counselling
  13. Help create partnerships with community organizations and resources
  14. Offer advice on conflict resolution and mediation skills
  15. Provide information on college and career counselling resources
  16. Offer guidance on working with students with disabilities
  17. Help develop trauma-informed practices
  18. Offer advice on supporting students with addiction or substance abuse issues
  19. Provide information on LGBTQ+ issues and resources
  20. Help develop self-care practices for counsellors to prevent burnout.

ChatGPT and AI models are here to stay. I would suggest you fact-check GPT. It doesn’t always get things right. Chat GPT can get you started , but add your personalized touch as you do in all you do. Like Google changed how we get information. AI is going to change how we interact and do things now and in the near future. If you’d like to join me on this learning journey. You can join in on ETMOOC2. An educational free mini MOOC. You can register here

Here are a few resources to get you started thinking about how AI will impact you:

You can also explore other resources here.

I would suggest you: begin slowly, explore collaboratively, be curious and cautious, play away and have fun always keeping humanity in mind.

AI and You: The Journey Is Just Beginning

Are you ready to embark on a journey of discovery and exploration into the exciting world of AI? Whether you’re a visionary who dreams of what’s possible or a pragmatic problem-solver who likes to get their hands dirty, there’s a place for you in the AI revolution and in our mini MOOC.

As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of technology, it’s important that we keep humanity at the forefront of our conversations. After all, the decisions we make today about AI will have a profound impact on the future of our children and grandchildren.

That’s why we invite you to join us in #ETMOOC2, where we’ll dive deeper into the complexities of AI and its intersection with our lives. This mini MOOC is a unique opportunity to engage with peers from around the world, share ideas, ask questions, and learn from each other.

You may just be starting to think about AI and its impact on you and the world. Wherever you are on this journey we’d like to have you join us.

So what are you waiting for? Register now for #ETMOOC2 and join the conversation about artificial intelligence and you. Let’s work together to create a future where AI serves the best interests of humanity.

Creating a collection of 101 creative ideas to use AI in education

Image was created using Midjourney

Check out this how to guide: where you will find an open invitation to all educators and students to co-create a collection of ideas on how AI tools such as chat GPT, DALL-E and Midjourney could be used in inventive ways for teaching , learning and scholarship. If you are a School Counsellor take a look at Slide #50.

Anti-Bullying Symposium: Let It Begin With Me

When it comes to Bullying and Cyberbullying in youth, you can make a difference, so let it begin with you.

When someone does or says something that is unintentionally hurtful and they do it once It’s being RUDE

When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they do it twice, It’s being MEAN

When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and you tell them to stop or show them you are upset that is BULLYING

Used with permission by Trudy Ludwig

We all need to HALT when it comes to bullying and cyberbullying. If your organization needs a bullying policy you could start here with the beginning of one I created many years ago.

Humane Actions Leads to Tolerance

Anti-bullying policy


If we create a society where we treat each other with dignity and respect, we must begin looking at ourselves and see what we can change.

We need to :

A ccept ourselves the way we are at this moment

B elieve we are capable of change  

C are about the thoughts and feelings of others

D ecide to take action

E ncourage others to not be bystanders

Definition of Bullying

Bullying is … put your own updated definition here.

Affirmations for your youth:

I am responsible for how I act

I am responsible for what I say

I am responsible for what I do

I treat myself with dignity and respect

I treat others with dignity and respect

It is important in all communities to develop a climate of understanding where we all make a commitment to understanding ourselves and others better.

Sometimes we need to HALT. We need to stop and think about what we are doing to others and to ourselves. When we stop and reflect we can often see things from someone else’s point of view. We need to create HOPE for the future by what we do today.

Check here to see what Alberta says about bullying policies and legislation. We all need to work together to provide a safe environment for our youth. We need to find ways to promote healthy relationships for everyone. Cyberbullying is protected by law and there are legal consequences. The Education Act was revised in 2012 to define bullying as “repeated and hostile or demeaning behaviour by an individual in the school community where the behaviour is intended to cause harm, fear or distress to one or more other individuals in the school community, including psychological harm or harm to an individual’s reputation.” We all need to work together to make sure all youth are protected.

We all make mistakes and are in the process of learning. It is our job to help youth see that their actions matter, however we need to model for kids appropriate behaviour online and off.

You have such an opportunity to make a difference. How will you spread love and hope in the world, letting others know that bullying and cyberbullying are never ok?

I know that everything I say and do online and off matters. There are so many ways to improve your online behaviour , but focusing on 10 can begin the process for yourself today. PAUSE before POSTING might be one.

When you collaborate to STOP bullying , it can make all the difference. Who in your community can you collaborate with? Don’t reinvent the wheel find ways to make the wheel better.

Remind yourself that what you say and do can impact a youth for a lifetime.

It is so important to keep updated. It is becoming increasingly complex to detect when something is false information. You can use snopes and other online tools. Detecting false information is something we all need to learn how to do. Media Smarts provides digital literacy lessons for Canadian youth that you may find helpful.

There are so many ways you can find teachable moments in your day. Brainstorm with your staff ways in which you can intentionally create these moments.

When you create a healthy environment and relationship with youth will , they will find ways to make anti-bullying a priority.

So go ahead and treat youth with loving actions , being respectful of who they are and the developmental stage they are at presently.

You are already doing so many things right. Focus on all the things you have done up to now, and find small ways to make things better.

It’s up to all of us to work together to create safe communities. Find opportunities to have meaningful discussions throughout the year that will impact all in a positive way.

We are all in this together, learning new things everyday. So be patient with yourself and others.

Take time today to think of what you are doing right and what you could be doing better as a leader, educator or someone who works with youth.

In this ever changing world we need to be more prepared now than ever. We all need to keep learning and growing.

So let it begin with you when it comes to anti-bullying and cyberbullying initiatives. What do you plan to do?


Anti bullying books etc. google slides

Bullying Prevention NASP national Association of school Psychologists

Bullying Help: Resources and Partners | Learning for Justice



Cyber Bullying-Grade 7 AHS

Cyber Bullying Grade 8

Cyber Bullying – Grade 9 

Dare to Care programs

Make social media great again

OER commons Bullying

OER commons cyberbullying

Alberta Government Bullying Hotline 1. 888.456.2323

Kid’s Help Phone 1.800.668.6868

Calgary Police resources:

Bullying Calgary Police resources

Cyberbullying Calgary Police services

Parent Websites

  • Advice for Parents — Delete Cyberbullying
  • Family Education Network is a commercial site where parents find practical guidance, grade-specific information about their children’s school experience, strategies to get involved with their children’s learning, free email newsletters, and fun and entertaining family activities.
  • First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada: The purpose of the Caring Society is to promote the well being of all First Nations children, youth, families and communities with a particular focus on the prevention of, and response to, child maltreatment.
  • The Government of Alberta Parent Link Centre helps you to help your child by providing information and support for parents and caregivers on how to assist with your child’s learning, development and health.
  • The Search Institute is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide leadership, knowledge, and resources to promote healthy children, youth, and communities.


… and teach others to be the same.

It’s Time to Unlock the Potential and Perils of Artificial Intelligence for School Counsellors

School Counsellors play a vital role in the education system, helping students with everything from academic concerns to mental health issues. However, with the ever-increasing student population, it can be challenging to keep up with the demand for counselling services. This is where AI comes in.

AI-powered tools can help school counsellors to manage their workload more efficiently and effectively. For example, an AI-powered chatbot can be used to triage students’ needs, directing them to the appropriate resources or counselling sessions. This frees up counsellors’ time to focus on more complex cases and allows them to provide more personalized and effective support. Additionally, AI-powered analytics can be used to identify patterns and trends in student behaviour, helping counsellors to identify and address potential problems before they become serious.

AI can also help to remove the stigma associated with seeking counselling. Many students may be hesitant to seek help due to fear of judgment or embarrassment. However, with the anonymity and convenience of an AI-powered chatbot, students may be more likely to reach out for help. Additionally, AI-powered tools can provide students with access to counselling resources 24/7, so they can seek help whenever they need it. This can be especially beneficial for students who live in remote areas or have busy schedules.

Overall, AI can be a powerful tool for school counsellors, helping them to manage their workload more effectively and provide more personalized and effective support to students. By removing the stigma associated with seeking counselling and providing students with access to resources 24/7, AI can help to improve the mental health and well-being of students in the education system.

There are so many potential ways AI can impact the role of the School Counsellor. The above paragraphs were written by Chat GPT, and although it does not fully explain the pros and cons of using AI , it does give some pause for thought.

I look forward to the ways that Chat GPT and other AI tools can be jumping off points for great dialogue with youth and School Counselling colleagues.

I look forward to beginning this conversation as I stimulate dialogue in my workshop …

It’s Time to Unlock the Potential and Perils of Artificial Intelligence for School Counsellors

In the meantime you may wish to check out some of these resources:

Here is what Dennis Pierce has to say about some of the pitfalls of AI in education. Here is what Torrey Trust has to say :

What do you need to know about ChatGPT?

I am interested to know what you as a School Counsellor think. Sharing Doc – Share any comments, questions, answers, resources, links, examples, and more here in the – Google Document link for School Counsellors. How will you use AI to help you , help your students? In all my questions to chat GPT re: school counselling topics, it has said several times that Chat GPT does not replace a professional School Counsellor . Although AI will not replace you … a person who knows how to use AI ethically and educationally may someday.

Hugs to Happiness : The Positive Impact of Hugs On Mental Health

Today is National Hug Day, but hug day began for me a long time ago starting with my following Leo Buscgalia in high school. Leo was a hugger and helped me navigate life in a positive and meaningful way through his books. Leo taught me a lot about love, being a caring human being. as well as being a teacher. In 1983, a group of my grade six students and I decided to start a hug day in our school. The students wrote a letter (which I still have today) to our then Mayor Ralph Klein who proclaimed March 11 th 1983 as Hug Day:

Whereas on this special day no one is allowed to fight;

Whereas no one on this day is allowed to argue;

Whereas on this day, everyone is to have a happy day with as much courtesy and kindness shown to one another as possible

Now therefore , I , Ralph Klein, Mayor of the City of Calgary, do hereby proclaim Friday, March 11th, 1983 as “hug Day “in recognition of the kind and thoughtful students of the grade six class of St. Cecilia Elementary School who originated this day.

Hugs truly matter and can have a wonderful effect our mental health. Hugs increase our sleep, make us feel better and are overall good for our health and well being. It is too bad that hugging in school has changed. I recognize that we need to set boundaries for sure. It is extremely important that the person being hugged is open to hugs. However, hug days in school was a good thing and something I am proud of and brings back such positive thoughts. It was a special day and holds special memories for the students that I have taught.

This year will be our 40th year since Hug Day began. Before the pandemic I got together with my very loving and caring students, now all in their fifty’s and I am hoping we get together again to celebrate life, each other and a few hugs.

For sure hugs have led to my happiness, having a positive impact on me, my loved ones and their well being and I hope they do yours too.

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