Developmental Advocacy: Twenty-First Century School Counseling

Article excerpt

In the twentieth century, the school counselor's role and functions underwent various transformations in response to changing student and societal needs (Baker, 2001; Gysbers, 2001; Gysbers & Henderson, 2001; Herr, 2001; Paisley & Borders, 1995). Over the years, the role has focused on vocational guidance (pre-1950s), fostering personal growth (1950s), enhancing individual development (1960s), and most recently, on implementing comprehensive developmental guidance and counseling programs (1970s-present; Keys, Bemak, & Lockhart, 1998). In the process, school counseling has evolved from a position involving a set of extra duties performed by a teacher, to an ancillary group of services provided by a specially trained professional (the guidance counselor), to the current efforts of school counselors to initiate an organized comprehensive program that is integral to education and based on a developmental framework (Gysbers & Henderson, 2001).

In this article, we briefly review the characteristics of comprehensive developmental guidance programs and the emerging models for school counseling programs; enumerate some of their limitations and challenges; and discuss theory and research from positive psychology, resiliency, and positive youth development that provide suggestions for updating and enhancing these models for use by school counselors in the twenty-first century. Our suggestions focus on approaching school counseling from a Developmental Advocacy framework. The school counselor as a developmental advocate promotes healthy youth development through direct services as well as through helping to shape asset-enhancing environments for young people.

CURREHT SCHOOL COUNSELIHG MODELS

Comprehensive Developmental Guidance Programs

Comprehensive developmental guidance and counseling programs, or comprehensive developmental school counseling programs, come in various forms (e.g., Dinkmeyer & Caldwell, 1970; Myrick, 1997; Paisley & Hubbard, 1994; Sink & MacDonald, 1998) that share many attributes. They (a) de-emphasize administrative and clerical tasks as well as crisis-centered modes of intervention and (b) promote guidance activities and structured group experiences designed to support students in developing the personal, social, educational, and career skills needed to function as responsible and productive citizens (Sink & MacDonald, 1998). For the purposes of this article, however, we primarily use the Missouri Comprehensive Guidance Program, or Missouri model (Gysbers & Henderson, 1994, 2000), as a representative example.

In the Missouri model, a comprehensive program consists of three elements--content, an organizational framework, and resources (Gysbers & Henderson, 1994, 2000). The content element involves student competencies grouped by domain (e.g., academic development, career development, and personal/ social development). The conceptual foundation for the model is life career development defined as "self-development over the life span through the integration of roles, settings, and events in a person's life" (Gysbers & Henderson, 1994, p. 62). The second element--organizational framework, activities, and time--comprises three structural components and four program components. A definition of the program, its rationale, and the set of assumptions on which it is based provide the structural components. Guidance curriculum (structured groups and classroom presentations), individual planning (advisement, assessment, and placement and follow-up), responsive services (individual and small group counseling, consultation, and referral), and system support (management activities, research, consultation, community outreach, and public relations) coupled with suggested counselor time distribution by grade levels across these processes constitute the program components. The final element in the Missouri model comprehensive program is resources: human (school counselors, teachers, administrators, parents, students, community members, and business and labor personnel), financial, and political (e. …