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Providing Consultation as a School Counselor

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

School counselors are essential members of the educational staff in schools. This lesson will explore the ways school counselors provide consultation. We will end with a short quiz to see what you have learned.

School Counselors

Have you ever met with a school counselor? If so, what was that experience like? Did he or she help you with personal issues? Perhaps you were unsure of career plans and the school counselor provided support. Maybe you were struggling to plan your next semester and the school counselor stepped in with much needed advice. These examples demonstrate some of the important tasks of the school counselor. School counselors provide support, serve as advocates, and collaborate with other essential members of the educational team, all in an effort to provide the best opportunities for their students.

School counselors have a central role in the education of students. The main purpose of a school counselor is to ensure student success. School counselors support students to succeed in multiple ways. Direct counseling and indirect counseling are two common methods used by school counselors to provide consultation.

Direct Consultation

When you were asked to recall a prior meeting with a school counselor, did you remember a face-to-face meeting? This type of exchange represents a direct consultation. This means that the school counselor delivered services directly to the student or students. However, direct consultation is not limited to students. Parents and families of students sometimes receive support from school counselors. School staff and administration also benefit from direct consultation from school counselors. Direct consultation can take place in a guidance office, a classroom, or an assembly hall, among many other places

Specific examples of direct consultation include helping a pair of students through a conflict. A different form of direct consultation might arise with a student who is struggling academically. That student might benefit from academic assessment and perhaps a referral to a tutor. Direct consultation might be provided to a teacher who is having a difficult time with a particular student. Parents may seek this type of consultation from a school counselor when their student acts out at home. In sum, direct consultation is an important responsibility for school counselors in their effort to serve and support students.

Indirect Consultation

Earlier, you were asked to think back on your interactions in the past with school counselors. A significant portion of the work that was done for you and your fellow students by school counselors was not as apparent as the face-to-face meetings discussed above. Indirect consultation is more of a behind-the scenes effort on the part of school counselors. In short, much of the work of school counselors is not necessarily seen by students, but is certainly done on their behalf.

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