mental health setting

In the subject line, put: “Last name, First name (Week 9).” As an example, your subject line should look like: Paul, Patrice (Week 9). Both posts are due by 11:00pm on Saturday 7/28/18.

Initial Post (minimum of 5 meaningful sentences per prompt; cite something from the reading(s) with page number for one of the prompts):

  1. Identify two specific ways that you might utilize your skills in a K-12 educational setting.
  2. Identify two specific ways that you might utilize your skills in a post-secondary educational setting.
  3. Assume you are a clinician working outside of the school setting. How would you go about fostering a positive and collaborative working relationship with K-12 student service personnel (e.g., school counselor, school psychologist, school social worker) when working with them on behalf of your client?

Response Post #1 (minimum of 5 meaningful sentences): Respond to a classmate’s post.


Videos (Provided by Dr. Campbell)

Introduction by Dr. Campbell: Our category of educational institutions will be covered this week and a bit next week when we have a former university counseling center counselor who now has a private practice. This week, you will hear from counselor, Stacy Frazier, who works at the coolest school ever. Village Leadership Academy is an independent private school from Pre-K through 6th grade with a social justice, global focus. Ms. Frazier was successful in creating a job as counselor at VLA. Her children attended VLA, and she sensed a need for counseling services at this new school. Many counselors have created their own positions through networking, discovering need, and communicating how they can fill the need. At a small school, Ms. Frazier is the counselor, the grant writer, and one of the directors and writers of the school play. She is willing to pitch in to do what is needed, which makes her extremely valuable to VLA.

Notice I called Ms. Frazier a counselor, but not a school counselor. Ms. Frazier is licensed as a professional counselor and is near the end of her doctoral program. She is able to work at VLA with an LCPC because VLA is a private school. Public school districts sometimes hire a variety of professionals, but the most common is a school counselor who have different training backgrounds and credentials. I hope I can clear up the differences between a few of the (similar) job titles of mental health professionals who work in educational settings as well as the different educational settings themselves.

School Counselor – Sometimes called a Guidance Counselor. They usually receive their master’s degree from an Education Department (rather than Psychology). Seek a certification (not a license) from the state to work in public schools. It is very common for a teacher to go back to school to become a school counselor. We also have the option in your program to add a few courses to your degree to make you eligible for the school counseling certification. See the MA website if you are interested. For kid people, it is not a bad thing to have to increase the type of jobs for which you can apply. Again, these positions are typically in a regular public school system where they may interface with kids in and out of the special education system. Depending on the size of the district and what other professionals are present, the job of the school counselor can vary. They are definitely the ones who help older kids figure out how to get into college or a vocation. Sometimes, they do individual or group counseling when kids need or request it.

School Psychologist – Can have an MA or doctoral degree depending on the state. With a doctoral degree, the person may be licensed as a psychologist and have the certification from the state to work in public schools as a school “psychologist”. The MA degrees are usually 60 hour degrees leading to the school psychology certification. They are usually not eligible for the LPC/LCPC license. The role of the school psychologist these days has evolved into one that almost exclusively involves testing students for admission to and retention in special education services. Most school psychologists wish they had more time to do therapy with kids, but the demand for testing is very high. There are a few doctoral programs in school psychology that are more similar to clinical child psychology programs, and you might find students working more in hospitals than in schools. Weird fact – school psychologist is the only group permitted by law to include the use of “psychologist” in their title without a doctoral degree.

Social Worker – Typically, has an MA from a social work department, can be certified to work in schools, and can be eligible for the LCSW license. Occasionally, districts hire social workers or professional counselors in addition to school counselors to do therapy. More likely, they are an additional person who handles obtaining services outside the school for kids who need more intensive mental health care or medical care.

With your degree and no school counselor certification, you would be a general mental health counselor (title would typically be therapist or counselor) that are often hired by schools because of the increased need for more mental health services in the schools. You would typically do individual and group therapy as you might in an outpatient setting, but it would take place in a school.

You might also be employed by an alternative school or a therapeutic day school. A school district sometimes owns or contracts out assistance needed with students whose impairments go beyond what can be accomplished at the home school. An alternative school is the older concept of a school that is owned by a district to send kids with aggression and emotional problems. The newer thing to do is to send the child to an appropriate mental health setting such as a partial hospitalization program, intensive outpatient program, or a therapeutic day school. These programs overlap a great deal because, as they serve kids, they are mandated by law to continue to educate them. The differences might be in the length of stay, with kids at a therapeutic day school staying for much longer than the other programs. The therapeutic day school looks like a school and acts like a school; however, therapy is built into most of their day and many professionals are around to assist the kids with behavioral and emotional dysregulation issues.

At the college level, you might find the title of career counselor as mentioned in the vocational counseling section. This person assists college students in finding a major and then a job that suites them well. College and universities typically hire doctoral-level psychologists to provide mental health services to students, but an increasing number are hiring MA-level therapists.

What is interesting about all of these settings is that they deal with crisis intervention on a fairly regular basis. The therapeutic day school is most likely to continue providing care after a crisis, but a regular school and college/university deals with suicide behavior frequently. Also, the prime age for a psychotic or manic break is late teens, early 20’s, so the counselors working with this age group deal with severe psychopathology when it first arrives and helps the person find continuing care. You will likely notice an edit in the therapeutic day school video. This is because a student was in crisis and the interviewee had to go out and help staff de-escalate the situation. All was well after 15 minutes or so, but it reiterated the frequency of crisis work in these settings.


Password: PSYC640

Interview – UCC and Private Practice

Password: PSYC640

Other programs/resources

Metropolitan Preparatory School

Truman College

Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors

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