The Great Psychological Dilemma in Our Schools and Colleges

By Cassel, Russell N.; Costello, R. H. Brian | Journal of Instructional Psychology, December 2002 | Go to article overview

The Great Psychological Dilemma in Our Schools and Colleges


Cassel, Russell N., Costello, R. H. Brian, Journal of Instructional Psychology


There are major psychological problems in our schools and colleges around the world and especially, in America. These conflicts entail the absence of "Boarded" school psychologists and their roles related to health care and student behavior. Recent research suggests that the level of dopamine in the blood is significantly related to our crime and delinquency problems, typically associated with the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs and consequently abnormal blood chemistry related to psychophysiology. Dopamine reduction causes reduced or extinguished personal sensitivity to praise and blame related to social group membership; causing loss of self-esteem and self-efficacy.

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The Psychologist in our schools and colleges is responsible for helping personnel, teachers and parents to deal with and understand the behavior of students involved in each of their respective settings. They are concerned with helping individuals in schools to deal with their personal behavior and interpersonal relations and more specifically, in facilitating personal development and adaptations to their aspiring goals and life plans. Additionally, Board certified psychologists serve as consultants and supervisors in the student's health care. These professionals are by far the most important and critical elements in relation to the personal welfare of all individuals, and ultimately the success of our institutions as well. Our dilemma is directly related to the one million high school dropouts in prisons and to the lack of welfare for another million US prison inmates.

Basic School Psychologists

Typically in connection with elementary, middle and high schools, psychologists possessing a master's degree are the most prevalently employed. Their primary function is the administration of individual intelligence tests in connection with the admission for special training. They are skilled in identifying learning problems in relation to vision, foreign language, and non-reading readiness skills; as opposed to determining if limited intelligence qualifies students for special training admission.

Doctoral Level School Psychologist

Psychologists in our schools and colleges have educational training ranging from a bachelor's degree earned at an accredited college or university to those who not only have the doctoral degree but also satisfactorily completing internships, to be qualified for dealing with presenting student behavior and personality problems. This is the usual background of the typical school psychologist in middle and high schools and even most of our state colleges. Their first order of business deals with the learning problems and personal and family adjustment including health care management.

The Boarded School Psychologist

The American Academy of School Psychology, about a decade old, provides special recognition for select school psychologists who have a doctoral degree from a recognized college or university, with an appropriate internship. Then, after four or more years of successful practice, these individuals may seek to obtain the diplomate and be "boarded" not unlike other health care professionals.

Qualifying as a boarded school psychologist is evaluated after appearing before a very select Board of Peers for formal examinations to determine that they possess credentials for such an award. Today however, there are few health care services that do not boast the presence of "boarded" health care professionals. Contrastingly, there are very few high schools or state colleges that have the services of a boarded school psychologist. Even colleges granting doctoral degrees in school psychology seldom have a boarded school psychologist on their staff.

This dilemma results in a lamentable state of affairs and must be corrected if we choose to raise our high schools and state colleges to comparable standards similar to the medical profession.

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