Counseling School Counselors Play an Term Paper

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Attitudes toward the teacher-psychologist working relationship and the utility of advice on classroom management were most positive among promoted teachers, followed by psychologists, and then new and unpromoted staff.

Student Involvement

The attitudes of the students are clearly of importance to the school health counselor and must be taken into account in both the consultative and counseling roles. West, Kayser, Overton, and Saltmarsh (1991) note certain student perceptions that inhibit counseling. It was estimated by the President's Commission on Mental Health in 1978 that 5 to 15% of all children and adolescents require some type of mental health service, and considering the number that actually receive help, there is a large population of troubled youth remaining unrecognized and untreated. One problem is that children and adolescents do not have a clear perception of themselves or of counseling and so are seldom self-referred. They are also frequently pointed toward counseling by an adult who has identified in them what are often subtle or disguised requests for help: "Counselors should not expect youngsters to ask for help in the same manner as do adults; youth's requests for assistance and counseling should be communicated as a purposeful activity that produces definite gains" (77).

West et al. discern certain perceptions in young people that prevent them from seeking counseling help, finding essentially that those who are unprepared for counseling or who have negative attitudes toward counseling may simply be unaware of what counseling is, its objectives, and its benefits: "Potential clients are unlikely to seek counseling experiences unless these deficits and apprehensions are resolved" (82).

Certain elements in counseling have been found to be beneficial to students with special needs. The process of goal setting alone has been found to increase the appropriate behavior of the students in the classroom, and in turn this has a positive effect on the motivation of these students and can bring about a change in any self-defeating or negative attitudes (Quigney & Studer, 1999). Quigney and Studer (1998) had earlier emphasized the importance of the school counselor in the process of addressing the needs of special needs students. Studer and Quigney (2003) are even more specific about the role of counselors in such situations, showing how counselors can make a difference and help develop the capabilities of special needs students through confidence-building strategies, setting goals, and similar efforts.

A national survey of school counselors for deaf children was conducted for the first time in 1975, and that early survey found that deaf students needed counseling services and that the existing services were deemed poor to fair in meeting the needs of these student. Zieziula and Harris (1998) follow up by conducting a similar survey to gain more current information on the demography of school counselors and on the present roles and skills of counselors working with deaf children. The survey indicates that counselors spend most of their time providing individual and group counseling and that a large majority of respondents believed that their communication skills with students were adequate or better. Respondents identified the three most frequently found student problems as difficulties with peer relations, problems with decision making, and problems with poor self-esteem. The authors consider how their study compares with the earlier one and find that counselor competence seems to have improved in the intervening years, specifically because survey respondents in the present study gave themselves much higher ratings in the areas of communication skills, training, and counseling skills. Of course, these are self reports, but still that perception exists.

Reis and Colbert (2004) consider the counseling needs of another population, that of gifted students, and find that such students are not more likely than others to experience psychosocial problems but that when they do have such problems, counseling can be effective in correcting the issue and in getting these students back on track to fit more easily into the classroom environment and to maintain their focus on academic concerns. The first part is perhaps not true of all special needs populations, some of which may have more psychosocial issues than the norm, but counseling can be used to address the needs of these other populations as well.

A survey of studies of school counseling and how such counseling aids special needs students shows that there is a wide variety of special needs populations, from those with specific physical disabilities such as the blind and the deaf to those with one of the many learning disabilities, some of psychological origin, some based on family dynamics, and so on. The evidence is that counseling can help, but the variety of problems faced also raises questions about how counselors are trained and where their focus should be placed.

Menanteau-Horta (1986) surveyed 684 high school seniors, 86 parents, and 62 teachers concerning contemporary youth problems and their assessment of counseling and guidance programs in high schools. The results support the argument for a more comprehensive and global approach to counseling activities. The author concludes that counselors increasingly require role clarification and higher levels of commitment and support from all participants in the educational process. This means that counselors must enlist more support for programs directed at the specific problems encountered today.

The attitudes of the students are clearly of importance to the school health counselor and must be taken into account in both the consultative and counseling roles. West, Kayser, Overton, and Saltmarsh (1991) note certain student perceptions that inhibit counseling. It was estimated by the President's Commission on Mental Health in 1978 that 5 to 15% of all children and adolescents require some type of mental health service, and considering the number that actually receive help, there is a large population of troubled youth remaining unrecognized and untreated. One problem is that children and adolescents do not have a clear perception of themselves or of counseling and so are seldom self-referred. They are also frequently pointed toward counseling by an adult who has identified in them what are often subtle or disguised requests for help: "Counselors should not expect youngsters to ask for help in the same manner as do adults; youth's requests for assistance and counseling should be communicated as a purposeful activity that produces definite gains" (77).

West et al. discern certain perceptions in young people that prevent them from seeking counseling help, finding essentially that those who are unprepared for counseling or who have negative attitudes toward counseling may simply be unaware of what counseling is, its objectives, and its benefits: "Potential clients are unlikely to seek counseling experiences unless these deficits and apprehensions are resolved" (82).

The perceptions of counselors are also important. O'Hagan and Swanson (1986) conducted a study in Scotland to compare the attitudes of 22 psychologists at a child guidance service with those previously found for 206 primary school teachers about teacher-psychologist working relationships; the deployment of psychologists in special education; and traditional and developing roles of educational psychologists in terms of assessment, treatment, policy making, and enhancement of parental involvement. The attitudes of the psychologists were clear-cut, high, and positive in almost all areas studied, while teachers were found to be more cautious and ambivalent or even negative in their assessments of psychologists' roles and effectiveness. There were some areas of agreement between the two groups in terms of the helpfulness of psychologists in student assessment and placement decision-making and advocacy work with families. Attitudes toward the teacher-psychologist working relationship and the utility of advice on classroom management were most positive among promoted teachers, followed by psychologists, and then new and unpromoted staff.

Regimes

The setting up of school counseling programs and the actions of school counselors are governed by different national organizations. One of these is the ASCA National Model for School Counseling Programs, produced by the American School Counselor Association, a model that "provides the mechanism with which school counselors and school counseling teams will design, coordinate, implement, manage and evaluate their programs for students' success. It provides a framework for the program components, the school counselor's role in implementation and the underlying philosophies of leadership, advocacy and systemic change. When implementing a National Model-based program, school counselors switch their emphasis from service-centered for some of the students to program-centered for every student" (ASCA National Model, 2005).

Another is the South Carolina Comprehensive Developmental Guidance Model, which was written by members of the South Carolina Career Advisory Committee. The South Carolina Career Guidance Model expands on the "learning to work" component of the Comprehensive Developmental Guidance and Counseling Program Model and provides numerous resources, activities, and information which a district and its schools can use to make certain that all students receive quality career guidance. The plan is to make continual updates to the Model in order to assist educators with the delivery of career guidance standards and competencies. As the group notes,

Accountability is an integral part of career guidance. Districts and school counselors know the importance of…[continue]

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