In this final entry to my series of posts about various settings, I will explain what school counseling is.
School counselors are credentialed educators with a minimum of a master’s degree, and address all students academic, personal and vocational needs. Although the traditional school counselor used to be referred to as the “guidance counselor”, with their primary role being to help students with academic planning, school counselors now provide both group and individual counseling. However, this role is still in transition, with some schools more accepting of the modern definition of the school counselor, and other schools still expecting counselors to fulfill the same general support roles as teachers, such as bus duty.
In 1997 ASCA (American School Counseling Association) produced new standards that included competencies to help define and standardize the new role of school counselors. The four elements addressed by ASCA include Foundation (Beliefs and Philosophy, Mission Statement and Standards and competencies), Delivery, Management and Accountability. The “Delivery” portion describes the how school counselors should deliver their services:
Within the specialty area of school counseling there are sub-categories, depending on the age group that counselors work with. School counselors can work with elementary, middle and high school students. Just like sub-specialities within mental health, school counselors have age groups with which they are expert. This makes sense when you consider the needs of the students will vary widely depending on their developmental level.
There are also additional and different legal concerns for school counselors. Generally, school counselors do not have privileged communication. For example, if courts request information, they must comply. It is also the counselor’s obligation to reveal information as requested by a parent or guardian. Reporting of child abuse is also a significant issue. All states require school counselors to report suspected child abuse.
Yours in the Joy of Knowledge,
*source: The World of the Counselor: An Introduction to the Counseling Profession by Ed Neukrug, fourth edition.