Here's some basic information on how counseling works at school.
The rules of confidentiality for School Counselors are as follows:
What is said to me stays with me unless,
- You are being harmed
- You have harmed or want to harm someone else
- You have harmed or want to harm yourself
- You give me permission to share
Having a confidential space is important for students because it frees them to unload their heavy feelings. However, not everything remains confidential and I tell them this. If a student is being harmed or has harmed someone else, I will always call you. If I have concerns about your child's well-being, I will tell you. I may not give every detail, but I will ask your child if it's ok for me to talk to you. In most cases, children don't want to carry their burdens alone and are relieved for their parents/guardians to be informed, but they may not know how to start the conversation. I can help with that.
Why would my student(s) come to your office?
If your child comes to my office, it doesn't mean something is wrong. Sometimes, students just need a break for a few minutes to cool down. Other times, they want to get something off their chest and then they are able to go back to focusing on learning.
Childrens' concerns are as varied as our own. They may need help resolving friendship issues, or they may be feeling overwhelmed or upset about the death of a loved one, or grieving their parents' divorce. When issues like these fill their minds, they may lose focus and be unable to learn as well. Having someone at school to talk to helps them be able to clear their minds and re-engage in the classroom.
I do not discipline students, so students are never in trouble when they come to me. I try to give students whatever support they need in order to be successful at school, so when they come to see me it is usually for no more than 10-20 minutes, unless a parent or guardian has requested a 30 minutes one-on-one session for a limited period of time. This is usually only in the case of crisis or greater need.
Generally, teachers request that I speak with a student or a student will ask to come see me. I try to pull students at a time that is least disruptive to their learning.
Classroom, Individual, or Small Group?
Classroom Curriculum: Every student receives classroom lessons on various social-emotional learning topics that compliment our Random Acts of Kindness curriculum. Examples include Growth Mindset, Managing Emotions, Solving Conflicts, Goal Setting, and Mindfulness.
Individual: One-on-one counseling can be requested by students, parents/guardians, teachers, or any other staff member. Usually, it is short-term and strengths-focused.
Small Group: When students would benefit from learning from each other, I hold small groups. These are usually either skill-based, such as learning how to manage anger or anxiety, or support-based, such as a grief group or a group for changing families.