Ms Rubani Sethi is a whole School Counsellor and Wellbeing Lead who has been counselling students in international schools in Thailand for the past two years. She specialises in Psychology and Counseling Psychology, having received her qualifications from both Thailand and Australia. She is an Adult Cross-Cultural Kid and Educational Cross-Cultural Kid from Bangkok who loves her role as a school counsellor due to her passion for mental health and her drive to deliver the best in supporting the social-emotional well-being of students in international schools in Thailand. Being of Indian ethnicity and having been born and raised in Thailand as a Thai National, she finds herself belonging to a mix of cultures, identifying with the Indian, Thai, and Western culture, and speaking multiple languages such as English, Thai, Hindi, and Punjabi. Having been through the international school system herself, she finds that she understands and can empathise deeply with what students, who are placed in international school settings, go through. Her ability to understand multicultural aspects and values, while being a part of the Thai culture herself here, helps keep her open-minded, broadens her perspectives of cultural differences, and aids in her appreciation of cultural diversity and her understanding of Thai and Western culture.
Her passion for psychology and counselling psychology started when she was placed in a psychology class in high school, where her passion for understanding human behaviour, mental health, and helping others started to grow and blossom. Ever since her curiosity to understand why humans behave the way they do started, with not being able to understand her identity and what cultures she identified with then, was where she took multiple steps in understanding herself as a Third Culture Kid and a Cross-Cultural kid. Being in the international system herself, she struggled with her identity and her self-esteem, and felt as though she would be able to understand what it might be like for students to have their socioemotional struggles interfere with their academic performance, understanding the academic pressures of having gone through the international school system and university life herself. After having studied psychology, she continued her studies in counselling psychology, where she recognised her strengths in being able to help other students find their strengths, build resilience and coping mechanisms while going through the international system. Her philosophy in counselling students is that students thrive when they are understood, accepted for who they are, and cared for by others, and under positive conditions can build the required skills to understand and change their thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.
As a counsellor, she believes counsellors need to instil the belief in their students that they can do it, and achieve anything they put their mind and heart to, with the right help, the right resources, and the right skills. She is passionate about helping students overcome any barriers to their success and learning. Her commitment is to help students succeed and thrive by guiding students on how to overcome their obstacles, and helping them find their strengths while building on their assets. She creates a positive environment and an environment of trust by being honest and present in the school community. She fosters student-counsellor relationships by listening without judgment and helping everyone feel heard. She believes this helps in building an atmosphere of openness that encourages dialogue between her students and her. She believes a trusting relationship between student and school counsellor is the key to creating a positive school climate – one that emphasises understanding and building resilience instead of fear and avoidance.
She builds strong relationships with her students by being genuine, showing unconditional positive regard, and displaying endless amounts of empathy. While being herself in her role and being open about her multicultural identities, she finds that all students from multiple cultural backgrounds find it easy to talk to her and find her approachable.
She is highly involved in cross-cultural research – especially in the experiences of Third Culture Kids and Cross-Cultural Kids in Thailand, the benefits and challenges of having local international student graduates who identify as host country nationals as school counsellors in an international school, and is involved in learning more about multicultural psychology.
Her extracurricular activities include mindfulness-based practices, such as yoga, meditation, and using art as a form of therapy. She has experience in conducting extracurricular activities in art painting as a form of therapy, basketball, drama, and softball. She finds joy and passion in the extracurricular activities she does.
She collaborates with other teachers and staff to enhance a positive environment and the educational experience only with the permission of the student following ethical confidentiality codes. With permission from the student, she collaborates with other teachers and staff, guiding them with the appropriate strategies in aiding the student to reach the best of their ability in becoming the best version of themselves, socially and academically.
She finds herself continuously continuing her education by keeping abreast with new practices and research available. She takes part in multiple branches of psychological and counselling courses to help her in keeping up to date with the current trends in helping new generations of students enrolled in international schools in Thailand. Her love for conducting research, reading journal articles, psychology, and counselling textbooks, listening to audiobooks and podcasts on new therapeutic approaches and findings, travelling, and talking to people of different ages and cultural backgrounds helps keep her modern and keen in absorbing new knowledge and phenomenons.
Her approach to communicating with parents is to be open about her role as a school counsellor, open about her identity, and open about her ethical codes and practices, especially on what she is and is not able to disclose to parents about their child. She hopes to be able to build a trusting relationship with parents, as she has done so in the past in other international schools, in knowing and believing that she is doing the best she can and has the right intentions to guide children toward the right direction, providing them with tools and strategies to create a win-win situation for both parents and students. She sees herself as someone who can bridge the gap between the international culture and the local culture and sees herself as a bridge between expatriate teachers, expatriate students, local teachers, and local students with her skills and experiences.
Her advice to parents in fostering a successful parent-school counsellor relationship is to have trust in her experience, having already gone through the international system, in the local cultural side of her, and trust in her qualifications that she will, in her power, do the utmost best she can in helping their child thrive and reach their goals.
Her future goals and aspirations as a counsellor and a school counsellor is to gain more knowledge and experience to help and understand people better, and to incorporate more positive psychology into her sessions. She envisions contributing to the school’s growth and success in the coming years by being an advocate for student voices to be heard, for incorporating more culturally diverse events, in helping students understand their ‘multiple’ or ‘Third Culture Kid/Cross-Cultural Kid” identities and helping them build strategies to see their identities and ability to speak multiple languages as a strength and not as a weakness.
Her advice to her parents and students is to enjoy the journey of being in school, as it is a privilege to be in school. With her experience of being in an international school, she can undoubtedly state that being in school was one of the best experiences in life, so far.
She chose DBS Denla British School as the school she wants to counsel and support students due to having similar visions to the school in educating and nurturing international students as global leaders, finding herself highly aligned with the school motto of “Always to Greater Things”.
Ms Rubani is looking forward to getting to know the students, teachers, and parents in the DBS community and is looking forward to supporting students through their learning journey socially and emotionally!