School Based Counseling
When a child is referred for school-based counseling, the very word “counseling” may make it sound like a mysterious process, but it is not. Counseling is a relationship built on confidentiality and trust—student trust, parent trust, and teacher trust. Adequate information is the foundation of trust—all involved must have information about the limits and processes of counseling. The following information describes the overall process of counseling.
How does a student receive counseling at school? Students may be referred to the School Counselor for individual and/or small group school-based counseling by the school staff or a 4th-6th grade student may refer themselves. If parents have concerns, they should meet with their child’s teacher, and the teacher may refer the child for school-based counseling.
Who provides the counseling at school? School Counselors provide school-based counseling, and are at assigned schools on designated days and times. The School Counselor works with students individually and in groups and will address topics such as family transitions, grief, anxiety, and emotional regulation.
In addition to school-based counseling, we are fortunate to have Guidance Instructors at some sites to support staff that typically work with students in a group setting on topics that may include self management, responsible decision making, generalized relationship building and social skills, and conflict resolution.
Is counseling required? You will be provided with a permission slip if you choose to give consent for your student to receive school-based counseling.
What will school-based counseling for your student involve? School-based counseling may include small group or individual sessions. During the sessions your student and the School Counselor will work together to help your student identify the problem, develop goals, and create a plan of action for change. School-based counseling is designed to be a short-term and solution-focused process. The School Counselor is able to collaborate with outside support providers with your permission.
Confidentiality: Trust is the basis for effective counseling. The ethical guidelines of the American School Counselor Association and the District emphasize the importance of confidentiality between the School Counselor and students. At the same time, we recognize the rights of parents. The School Counselor will act in accordance with the confidentiality requirements set forth in Education Code Section 49602, and in the best interest of your student. Your student must know and trust that what is shared with the counselor will stay with the School Counselor unless they give permission to share information. Exceptions to this include if the School Counselor suspects the student is in danger of being hurt by others, hurting themselves, or hurting others.
Trust and confidentiality work together. Counseling records do not become a part of the permanent student record except as required by school safety policy. The requirements of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) are enforced; information will not be released to anyone outside our school without your written permission. The School Counselor may talk with the classroom teacher about how he or she can help your student in the classroom; however, specific information will not be shared.
Possible Outcomes: Through school-based counseling, your student may be taught strategies to help him or her make more effective and healthier decisions, increase the ability to set and reach goals, build better relationships with others, and be more successful in school. School-based counseling will be successful when students, school counselors, guidance instructors, support staff, teachers, and family members work together.