Peer Counseling 2016/2017


The Peer Counseling program is a group of sixteen juniors and seniors trained to act as helpful listeners.  They serve as sources of support or information for their peers. They are trained to assist people in areas such as relationships, substance use, depression, family problems, eating disorders, stress management, and other health related issues.  The peer counselors are a vital link between the students and Deerfield’s health services.  The Peer Counselors also support the 11/12 Connect4 program in our dorms.

Job Description: 

  1. Agree to a two-year commitment to the job and reside/be associated with an 11/12 dorm.
  2. Participate in the training (7 weeks) process during the spring term of sophomore year (and again junior year) during which you will learn information about issues pertinent to students’ physical, emotional, and social well being, learn basic counseling skills, and become acquainted with the range of referrals available to students at Deerfield.
  3. Be available for a 9th Grade group meeting, a supervision meeting weekly and a Connect4 activity each term.
    1. 9th Grade Groups:  Peer counselors meet approximately twice a month for the fall and winter terms with a set group of 9th graders in the dorms to facilitate discussions on issues such as homesickness, adjustment (academic and social), boundaries and harassment, sexuality and relationships, drugs and alcohol, eating disorders and other topics as they may arise. These sessions begin our health education program and introduce 9th graders to referrals at the Health Center and in other locations.
    2. Connect4:  Peer counselors will be involved in planning and facilitating the Connect4 activities for the 11/12 dorms.
    3. Supervision:  Peer counselors meet twice a month with the group and the peer counselor supervisor to do further training, discuss issues, and to obtain mutual support in the job from other peer counselors.
  4. Staff the peer counselor office for office hours Sunday through Thursday from 7-9 in the Health Center on a rotating basis.
  5. Maintain the anonymous question and answer web site.
  6. Meet with students individually or in groups as requested.
  7. Be available to serve as a referral for faculty.
  8. Sponsor activities such as Stress Management Month.
  9. Participate in application and selection process for new peer counselors in the spring.
  10. Be willing to commit to the notion that to be a peer counselor “your life style on and off campus must reflect your concern for others.” (No-Use and Open Groups Contracts)

Criterion of a Peer Counselor: 

  1. Someone need not be perfect. There is no such person.  In fact, sometimes people who have faced challenges might be better suited for this job.  However, one does have to have credibility in the DA community.
  2. A PC needs a humanistic outlook…friendly and empathetic. If you are someone with rigid views or someone who always has to be right, this may not be the job for you.
  3. A PC needs to be willing and able to receive supervision.
  4. A PC needs good social skills…someone who gets along well with his/her peers.
  5. A PC needs a strong sense of personal identity.
  6. A PC must be willing to work on your own issues.
  7. A PC must ABSOLUTELY respect confidentiality and privacy—these are the most important aspects of peer counseling and probably why you don’t hear a lot about what we do.


  1. Do not think of this as a way to boost your resume. And if you already know that you have a number of other obligations, do not apply.
  2. This is a 2-year commitment and for boarders, it is a residential commitment to live in an upper-class dorm with your peers in your junior and senior year. You will not be eligible for proctorship. 
  3. You will not serve as a “proctor” in the 11/12 dorm or as a “snitch”. Your role in the dorm will be as a go-to individual when and if someone needs support.
  4. You will be involved in supporting the Connect4 Activities each term, and may be asked to brainstorm other ways to connect genders.
  5. Peer counselors are not eligible to serve on the disciplinary committee.
  6. You will have a commitment every Tuesday evening (either freshman groups or supervision meetings).
  7. You will serve as a link to the Health Center.
  8. You will be expected to be a positive role model in the community.
  9. You will be expected to be on campus...if you are planning a semester or year away, you will not be eligible for the program.
  10. You will experience unmatched personal growth over the two years in the program and have the opportunity to work with a dedicated, close-knit group of students willing to serve their community.

Application Process:

  1. Submit application form by 3:00pm on Saturday 3/12/16. No late applications will be considered.
  2. Participate in a group interview process (multiple applicants interviewed at once) during the first week of the spring term with the program supervisor (Mrs. Loftus) and the current peer counselors.
  3. Faculty/Staff, your proctors and your peers in the sophomore class will be asked to provide input into the application process.
  4. Four girls and four boys will be selected out of the pool of applicants. Decisions will be based on the above-mentioned process and feedback as well as the best fit for the group as a whole. 
  5. Please feel free to ask Mrs. Loftus, Drs Watson, Relin, Owens, Hagamen, any of the nurses, or any of the current peer counselors about the position.

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