Dr. Randy McPherson: Hi! I'm Dr. Randy McPherson, the 2011 American School Counselor Association, Counselor of the year.
Today I'm talking about school crises and how counselors can help. Crises come in all forms big and small and the school counselors are there to help students navigate these issues, so that learning can continue. What may seem to be a small problem to an adult can often seem like something insurmountable to a student of any age. On occasion, we must deal with issues that pose significant physical or emotional arrest to the student. In any case, school counselors are equipped with training and expertise to sort out the issues, ask the right questions and find the best way to help.
Let's look at an example, this is not intended to be a comprehensive response, but it provides an overview of the role school counselors play in difficult times. Child-abuse of any type physical, emotional or sexual can impact all aspects of student's lives for many years. School counselors understand that the first priority is always the safety of the child and swift involvement of the appropriate state investigative agencies.
In this example, the counselor works with school psychologist or a school social worker to monitor behavior for signs of struggle, sets up group counseling sessions and collaborates with teachers to build an ongoing effective support system that assist in the recovery process. In extreme crisis situations, the school counselors often the key professional along with the principal who coordinates the school's response, due to the central role we assume in the lives of children and the relationships we build with colleagues, families and the community, counselors are uniquely positioned for this role.
Combined with district wide crisis response teams that include mental health workers and other appropriate professionals, we an assist quickly and effectively when a teacher or classmate dies or when there is some type of catastrophic event. The world is filled with problems that our students bring into the school everyday. School counselors are trying to absorb new and different and sometimes extreme behaviors, assess needs and respond swiftly and appropriately, it is an essential role and one that requires specialized training. Your school council has that training.