The Application of Counseling Psychology in the Field of School Psychology: Recent Experiences of Three School Psychology Students

Article excerpt

The multifacetedrole of school psychologists often requires these professionals to provide individual, group, and family counseling. C ounseling is an important domain in the training and practice of school psychology. School psychologists work with students who face a number of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and trauma. Thus, it is important for school psychology professionals to obtain an adequate amount of training and knowledge regarding counseling interventions. However, given the already vast amount of content training programs are required to expose students to, it can be difficult to provide the training in counseling that school psychologists really need (Mellott, 2007).

The authors of this article all received master's degrees in counseling psychology before pursuing graduate degrees in school psychology. They have found their backgrounds in counseling quite valuable in working with students, parents, andteachers in their roles as school psychology graduate students. In this article, the authors will describe how their own backgrounds in counseling have helped them in the field of school psychology and will provide recommendations for gaining more knowledge and training for school psychology students and professionals who do not have similar backgrounds.

ANGELINA MAYNARD'S STORY

My original decision to pursue a master's degree in counseling psychology stemmed from my desire to learn intervention techniques for children (e.g., anger management, coping strategies, and communication skills). To my surprise, everything from my counseling program is applicable to school psychology. As we all know, school psychologists have many different roles within schools, such as consultant, interventionist, and assessor. Those basic counseling skills are useful in many activities, from simple teacher consultation to leading an admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) meeting. Knowledge in basic counseling skills is crucial for graduate students in their professional development as competent future practitioners.

Most of my previous counseling clients disclosed that the most important thing they had gained from therapy was the sense of being heard. It is the feeling of being valued and respected that was empowering in their journey. The same approach can be used when working with families, teachers, and students in school, because all need to feel respected in order to fully engage in collaborative work within the school. My counseling background prepared me with skills necessary to become a well-balanced future school psychologist.

LYNNIKA ROUSE'S STORY

I always knew that I wanted to help people in some way. My friends would often come to me and ask for my advice and I would happily oblige. Eventually, I decided counseling would be the best field for me. When I began my journey in the counseling program, I quickly learned that it was not about advice. Counseling was about listening to the client and helping them help themselves. I learned the importance of rapport building and not to just listen, but to listen empathically. Most of my clients just so happened to be children and teenagers, and I was fortunate enough to do some family counseling as well. Little did I know these skills would come in handy when I decided to continue my education in the field of school psychology.

I noticed that the skills I had acquired allowed me to easily establish and build rapport with students, parents, and teachers. This skill made it easier to move past my nervousness (from being a student in the program) and to connectwith them. Another counseling skill that I found to be beneficial during my graduate school journey has been the skill of empathie listening, the ability to reflect and respond to the adults in my cases often helped me convey that my intentions were to assist them and ultimately help the child. Any skill that improves the relationship with the teachers, parents, and students can only help ease the process of ensuring necessary services are provided for the students. …