Counseling Interview Questions

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What in Your Job or Life Experience Makes You More Qualified for This Job than Your Peers?

I believe that my experiences have led me to be a wonderful counselor. I spent the last year interning at Cole High School, but I also had the opportunity to work at the middle school and elementary school. I was lucky because the schools are in such close proximity with each other. I facilitated several groups .. at the elementary school .. I facilitated a feelings group with kinder and I had a couple of lunch bunches with 1st and 2nd graders. At the middle school, I had an anger management group with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. At the high school, I facilitated a group of seniors and juniors who needed guidance with FAFSA and preparing for the SAT. I counseled students from all different economic statuses and a wide range of students with academic achievement and social status as well.

What made you want to become a guidance counselor?

I kind of stumbled onto counseling because as a computer teacher, kids would come to me during lunch and after school, and we would have mini counseling sessions. The kids needed someone to talk to and they trusted me enough to share their feelings about the different situations they were struggling with.

How would you handle a student reporting abuse by a parent?

I would make sure first and foremost that I was very familiar with the schools protocol when it comes to abuse because it can differ at different schools what needs to be done first. I would consult with my supervisor to see what the proper protocol is so I can make sure I am fulfilling all my legal duties while also following school rules. If the child was in my care, I would console them immediately and tell them how brave they are for telling me. I would stay with the child the entire time. In cases of abuse, someone in the school either myself, or the principal would call CPS or if necessary, the police. I would try to keep the student feeling comforted and safe by letting them play with toys, draw, write, anything that they tend to relax to. All of my decisions would be based on whatever is best for the student at that moment and going forward as well. In my experience, when students were telling me something rather difficult or something that made them upset, I just tried to play a game with them while they talked about the difficult matter, let them write down their feelings if it was hard for them to express, or even draw/color.

What can you tell us about our school/school district?

Why should we hire you?

You should hire me because I have a personality that was made to be a counselor. I can look at problems from all different angels and I can help people come up with solutions. I can reach students at their level, I can easily build rapport. I have the abillity to communicate well with all types of people, led me to be extremely successful. and I’m really creative.

What type of leader am I?

I believe a leader has to be organized, proactive, but not so much as an authority figure .. as a counselor, I would like to be more of a partner with administrators, teachers, and the community .. At my internship, I would always model what my expectations were for my students, especially during group counseling. For every group, I would always model the activity, my expectations, and ways to communicate so my students knew what was expected of them. I also did this during my lessons for my career education program, for my lessons I would give students example from my own life so that they could relate and I would demonstrate the way I wanted certain activities to go. I also found myself doing this by the language I used to greet students, especially during our lunch bunch groups where we would try to build social connections among students, I would model good behavior.

What is your biggest weakness?

My weakness is getting too wrapped up in my head .. getting anxious and worried about something that I shouldn’t be. For example, this interview. I start listening to the voices in my head rather than depending on my knowledge .. I get so self concsioous sometimes .. but I try to stick to my well ness plan. even though it’s not that easy sometimes.

What are some types of direct student services?

Group and individual counseling, responsive services, guidance counseling .

How do you intervene with at risk students?

I start by talking to the students and work with them to set personal goals. I often suggest getting involved with sports teams or after school programs. Finding a motivation for them, something they enjoy, a passion, something to give them a sense of belonging. Lunch bunch groups at my internship- helping students make social connections. Help them get into a routine

What is your general attitude toward disciplining students?

Students need structure, but also it is important to be patient and flexible with them. Explain consequences to actions. At my practicum and internship, I did not have to discipline students. The principal or vice principal dealt with the disciplining, and I would meet with the students to talk about what happened and how we could move toward. This usually meant we discussed the actions, the thought process, and then set goals or decided on ways we could make a better decision for the future to keep the student from facing this kind of trouble again.

How a counselor should and would work with a family who does not respond to communication or show much interest in working with the school faculty?

Reach out in various ways, emails, calls, letters home, etc. I would continue to reach out because at least if the parents did not want to be involved, they could never argue that I did not put in all my effort. I would try to create a connection with the parents, make myself relatable to them, talk with my student to find out if there are reasons the parents are not communicating. Maybe there is a language barrier, maybe they do not have access to a computer, finding out these answers could lead me to a more beneficial way of communicating with them.

What is my experience with special education?

I have experience teaching special education students in the general ed classroom. I’ve served on ARDS, and worked with other teachers and parents in coming up with IEP’s In my internship, I advocated for a special education student whose teachers were having difficulty with her, and they felt like they couldn’t reach her, so we worked together one on one on her organizational skills, and I also worked with the nurse to come up with a plan to help her remember to take her medication.

What is my main goal as a school counselor?

My main goal is to give students confidence in every area, including academic, personal/social, and career. I’ve learned through teaching and interning, that there’s usually a lack of confidence in one of those areas, or all 3. The greatest gift as a counselor is hearing a student succeed. Even students that face the biggest obstacles at home, deserve to feel like their future is wide open and that anything is possible. We do want our students to be realistic, but we also want to give them hope.

What does a successful and safe school environment look like to me?

A successful and safe school environment would look like a few of these things. It would mean students wanting to come to school everyday, having faculty greet them by name when they come into the building, giving them a positive start to the day each and every day. No matter what happened that morning, that maybe put their day off to a bad start, it would mean that someone in the school has the ability to turn it around and make the student feel like everything is going to be okay. I believe it would also mean that the faculty is engaged with the students in various activities such as assemblies, trips, guidance lessons, one on one meetings, etc. There would be strict policies in place that the students and faculty were educated on and students would know what to do in case of an emergency. The students would feel supported and would feel like they are not just another name in the school.

What would you do if a student made a drawing that is alarming or concerning?

I saw this first hand during my internship many times where teachers would come down to our office to show us an essay that seemed to give off some red flags. There was one that was very inappropriate and we had the student come down to the office and asked questions first to just see what the students intentions were. Sometimes it seems as though the child was very innocent in what they did, and other times it seems alarming. If I believe that the drawing is giving way to some other issue that is important, I will ask the student if they have talked about it with anyone, and that I should probably share it with their parent. I give them the option to call with me in the office, or to have me do it privately.

What type of students am I most drawn to and which student do I have the most difficulty working with?

I am most drawn to the students who tend to come from home where they do not get adequate attention from their parents, whether it be from a home where one parent is not in the picture, or if parents are occupied with work and other things just trying to survive that they cannot always give the child undivided attention. Those students that I have seen in my experience have tended to cling to me and relied on me for comfort during the school day. I formed many bonds with students that I started to love like they were my own children. I have such a desire to give students the support they lack at home, and found myself really loving spending time with those children because they were so receptive to me and really enjoyed our time together. I find it difficult to work with students who do not understand the concept of cause and affect, or consequences in general. Students that do not have empathy for others are difficult to work with for me. In my experiences, I had several students who would do things to others and not think for a second how it made someone else feel. I worked with some of those students and specifically, we played games where there were different situations and the child had to talk about how others would feel. I noticed a lot of the times the students would tell me the answer they thought I wanted to hear, and it made it hard to help the students form lasting relationships.

How do I handle a disruptive child?

I would handle a disruptive child by trying to figure out what the root of the disruptive behavior is. Maybe it has to do with a lack of attention at home, maybe it could be ADHD, or it could be because the student just had a bad day, or forgot homework , or had an argument with a student that day. Usually, there is some reason behind it and I would want to meet with the student to get to the bottom of the behavior. If it was just something that happened one time, I would find out what caused the behavior and help support the student in resolving whatever it was that caused the behavior. If it was reoccurring, I would talk to the parents to find out if they are seeing the behavior at home, talk with the teacher to gain more information, and maybe see if we could come up with a motivating behavior plan for the student that could be informed in school, at home, or both. If that didn’t work, we could maybe see if the student could get referred to I&RS

How do you get a group of rowdy kids attention?

In order to get a group of rowdy kids to pay attention to me or to the teacher I would try to get their attention by talking about something that greatly interests them. I would try to relate to something on their level whether it be a game they like, a sport, a movie etc. I would try to incorporate something they love into our conversation or a lesson to them. If there behavior is more intrusive to the school day than that, I would like to start a 6-8 group with the students where we could work towards better behaviors in a small group setting. I could create group lessons and activities geared toward appropriate classroom behavior, following rules, consequences of rowdy behavior, etc.

What counseling theories most influence me?

Because I feel like I’m still learning and sorting out my own counseling style, I subscribe to a couple of theories: for example .. rebt and cbt .. both of them are behavior based, and deal with a student’s thinking pattern .. I also like solution focused because it’s time oriented, and helps the student change the way they feel .. But I would have to build rapport and trust with the student before we even begin ..

How would you deal with a teacher who does not respect the school counselor?

I have come across that during my time during my internship .. and it’s usually because the teacher doesn’t understand the role of a school counselor. I would first try to understand where the teacher was coming from, and just listen .. try to collaborate with them .. maybe they had an unpleasant with another counselor .. I would try my best to support that teacher in some way .. maybe in the beginning of the year .. I could administer a survey to teachers and find out what they think a counselor’s role is .. and then go from there. I feel like teachers spend the most time with the kids, so they are a valuable resource ..

Have I experienced burnout, how do I cope with it?

I did experience burnout a bit during my internship when I was trying to balance work, school, and life .. I tried to set some time out for myself and I find that it’s important to spend time with my family .. they ground me .. and I feel like exercising is also really important .. you know I was also a swimming coach, and coaches sometimes take on a counseling role .. so with me .. sometimes exercise helps me vent my problems ..

How do you deal with a difficult parent?

1.How would you deal with a difficult parent? (Always let them know you hear them; listen; diffuse; set goal;) I would try my best to keep an open mind in any situation involving a difficult parent. I had to make a few calls to parents that were less than happy with what I was telling them, and I got good advice from my supervisor. She told me that there was times where a parent was so angry with her that no matter what she said, it did not matter. She had to tell a parent before that she was going to hang up the phone for a few minutes until things calmed down and that the parent could call back when they felt comfortable. This was usually a good way to diffuse some of the anger. I would always want to let the parents know that I am on their side and see things how they see it. I think establishing some kind of common ground would help and then once they realize I am an advocate for them as well, we can work towards a common goal.

What are some personal goals?

Know every student in my case loads name by end of year, that is very important to me, nothing is worse than someone saying Hi Ms.Burnett and I can’t say Hi and there name back. Be proactive, instead of reactive. Making myself visible, not always in office. I also want to create something in the school that is new and my own, something that was not previously in place. Make myself feel like an asset to the building.

How would you help a child with anxiety feel better about school?

Help get the parents connected with the teacher before the school year starts, or during the year. Have meeting between the teacher, counselor, and parents. Find out what routines take place within the class every day and see if the parents would be willing to do the same things at home to make the child feel more comfortable.

If you had to develop your own comprehensive school counseling program on your first day on the job, how would you start?

The first thing I would do would be to give out a needs assessment to faculty and parents. Since it would be a new place for me, I would want to gather data from the people who have been in the school far longer than me. Depending on the age of the students, I would also give one to students as well to see what the believe the biggest issues in the school are. Once I got the needs assessment data, I could work on creating beliefs, a vision statement and a mission statement for how I want this program to help students in the future.

What would you do if a student said they said they planned on killing themselves?

I would immediately be alarmed and take it as an extremely serious thing. I would keep them in my office, and talk to them. I would try to find out more, have they just thought about it, or do they have a plan? Do they have access to the thing they want to use at home? I would gather information about the situation and immediately call and tell my principal. We would contact the parents but keep the child with me and comfort them, maybe let them play a game, or color in the mean time. I would explain that I am glad they told me and that I am here for them. I would have the parents come pick the child up and explain to them the process for when a child says they want to kill themselves. Whatever the school policy is, the parents would have to follow that. They might have to have their child evaluated before they can come back to school. I would keep doing follow ups with the child and help connect the parents to resources outside of school that may help for an issue as serious as this.

Have you ever disagreed with your principal about how to handle an issue involving a student? What did you do?

I did not have a situation during my field experience where I disagreed with the principal on a situation with a student. At the end of the day, myself and the principall are a team and I would want to be comfortable running ideas back and forth, receiving feedback from them, and being able to work together to help students resolve issues. If I really did not agree with the principal, I would try to have a conversation where we each talk about our side and see if I could see where he or she was coming from. We could work towards a compromise, but if the principal is adament about something, I would respect their wishes. If for some reason, I really felt the way it was handled was not in the students best interest, I would try to have a conversation about it with my principal in a very cautious way not to make them think I did not respect their decision.

How have you used data to inform the development of your counseling program?

I used data first hand for a community project that I created about prescription drug awareness .. I used pre and post surveys to give to the students so I could see the effectiveness of my program. I also had parents evaluate my program at the end for feedback as well. The data I collected helped me see what worked and what I could improve on if I choose to implement the program somewhere else.

How do you deal with "helicopter" parents?

I would try to establish a good relationship and open conversations with the parents so they could begin to trust me. I know it can be scary when you have to leave a loved one in another care, but I would try to inform the parents of my credentials and experiences that led me here, try to gain their trust and encourage them to reach out to me for any concerns. I would comfort them and run them through the school day routine and let them know that they are important to me and I will let them know whenever something of concern comes up.

What would you do if a student told you he/she brought a weapon to school?

I would ask them questions about it to find out, and even if they are lying about it, it is still something that I would have to take seriously. It is better to be proactive than reactive. I would inform the principal, keep the student in my office and find out where exactly the supposed weapon is. Have someone get the weapon and call the parents to let them know. I would try to give parents resources if they felt this was an issue.

Discuss your experience helping victims of bullying, including online.

At the middle school level, the most often times I saw students getting bullied it was for things that they were wearing and things relating to conformity. I always tried to talk to the student and give them examples of how being different can be great to try to boost their confidence. In the elementary level, many times kids would say things to other students that would be considered bullying but often times they did not realize the consequences of what they said. To help those victims, we would talk about their feelings in an I-message. We would have the victim and the bully sit down together, if the victim felt comfortable, and we would do a follow up mediation where the students could express their thoughts and feelings to each other in a safe environment with the counselor there to help fascinate it.

What do you think is the role of the school counselor in preventing school violence?

I believe the school counselor plays an immense role in preventing school violence at all levels. I believe the counselor needs to have a proactive role instead of being reactive and waiting until something bad happens to react. The counselor should promote school safety and should demonstrate a variety of activities, resources, and assemblies to help the students feel that their school climate is safe. I also provided teachers training on suicide awareness. That day, two teachers came forward to say they saw some signs in some of their students ..

What would you say to irate parent who is upset that their student must attend summer school to continue on to the next grade next year?

I would try to make the situation into a positive one. I would empathize with the parent and let them know that I hear their concerns and I understand how frustrating it can be because they want their child to be able to enjoy their summer. I would also try to point out that their have been several things leading up to the decision for the student to have to attend summer school and then try to focus summer school in a positive way. I would try to point out that a lot of students forget information over the summer, but for their child they would probably have a head start for the next year because they stayed in the school routine and kept using their brain which is great. I would also use the time to try to get the parents on my side and work as a team to come up with a few goals for the child so we can help them avoid summer school next time. If they were still angry about it, I would let them know again that I understand and if there is anything they need from me, I will be there to help them.

If you knew a student was being neglected at home, what would you do?

If I talked to the student many times and felt as though the things they were telling me led me to believe that they were being neglected at home, I would call CPS. It is a tricky situation though because in my internship experience, there were a few times we heard from students that they were the home alone numerous times while a parent was working I think if I knew the child was, and I made attempts to talk to the parents and nothing was happening, I would call CPS

How is your role different from that of a social worker, mental health counselor, or school psychologist?

The role of the counselor is different from a social worker because the social worker goes into the home The role of the counselor is different from a mental health counselor because they are trained in therapy, and more long term solutions where we are not. We are focused on more short term and our focus is not solely on mental health. The role of the school counselor is different from a school psychologist because a school psychologist is working with a special education population and spend majority of their time testing students to see if they meet criteria.

How do you manage cultural differences in a school setting?

In the school setting, there are bound to be many cultural differences. I believe in order to manage them, the counselor should be proactive in promoting individual and cultural differences and provide opportunities for diversity to be a school theme. Promoting diversity within a school can help give students higher self esteem, help them connect with others who are similar and different from they are, and promote a good school climate. It is important to educate students on different cultures and help them broaden then world view. Diversity days where students can bring in something from their culture, or learn about different foods, or holidays can be enlightening and help students relate to others who are different from them.

Talk about the difference between a 504 plan and an IEP plan.

A 504 plan is for students who usually need accommodations and an IEP is a legal document that is for students with special education needs.

Recall a time you resolved a problem with a difficult parent.

In my experiences, I had to resolve a problem with a difficult parent who was upset because the parent felt that I had not done everything in my power to contact them. My supervisor and I had called the home phone, and the cell phone of the mother and let a voicemail but the parents claim that they never got the calls and were angry with us and said that we never contacted them even though we didn’t. We lett a voicemail telling them to call us back if they wanted to talk about what happened. One day a few weeks after, they called and said that their daughter was talking about a boy that did something to annoy her in class and they knew nothing about it. They were upset saying we never contacted them. I had to speak with the mother and I tried to tell her that in my notes, I logged when I called them and left a voicemail and said I didn’t know what happened but I would be glad to share the information with them now. I told the mother that I wanted to keep them in the loop and that open communication between us was important to me. I told her I would continue to reach out if anything concerning happened and that if they had any concerns, to reach out to me anytime.

In what ways do you balance the needs of students, parents, and school administrators?

It can be hard to balance these things but I think trying to come up with a tentative schedule at the begging on each week can help. There has to be set time for each different category of needs, and a counselor must know that most days, everything is not going to get done, but if you try and get what you can done in each area, that is better. I would try to keep an open mind and open communication with everyone and prioritize what is most important to get done at that moment. I have learned that you can try to accomplish so many things in a day, but then a student can walk in and end up needing you for the whole day so it is impossible to accomplish everything.

In what ways have you helped students cope with grief,
loss, or mental health issues?

I dealt with helping students deal with grief and loss many times in my internship. There was a family of three kids who lost their mom at the beginning of the school year. I worked closely with the high schooler and the elementary student. The high schooler usually just wanted to talk and to share her feelings .. the elementary school boy wanted to play checkers and get his mind off things. my supervisor and I would talk to the parents regularly to try to connect them with resources outside that would be beneficial to the student. Perform care was one that we told parents about a lot.

In what ways have you coordinated efforts with other school specialists towards a common goal?

For my career education program, I coordinated with the principal, the 4th grade teachers, my supervisors, and even some of the speech therapists to figure out how to plan my program in the best way. I had to work with the principal to set up the bases of my program, figure out what would work best for the school, and then had to consult with all the teachers to figure out when would be the best time for me to do my lessons and if they wanted me to address anything particular. During my lessons, some of the teachers would even join in with me and make comments and aid their class in discussion. Several teachers told me they loved my ideas and would talk about it with their class after my lessons ended. I worked with the speech therapists to help set up times for my lessons without interfering with any of the students speech schedules.

How do you keep up with current trends or news in the field of guidance counseling?

I believe being a member annually of memberships such as american school counseling association will help me stay up to date on trends. Right now I am a member so I receive emails and magazines with research and trends related to the field which is a great way to keep up to date.

What might your professional development plan look like?

I would like to stay involved with memberships such as the American school counseling association and join the membership for whatever township I work in. I would also like to attend seminars or workshops throughout the year, especially in areas relating to mental health and referrals because there is always new research done on the topics and so much to learn.

Describe how you would implement small group counseling/classroom lessons?

I would talk to teachers about my group counseling ideas to see if they had any requests for students to join my groups, and once I had my final lists I would send home information to the parents to see if they would allow their child to be apart of the group. I would plan a series of about 6-8 lessons or activities, each group session targeting a different area. I would give students a variety of activities and let them have plenty of time to talk with each other. For classroom lessons, I would let the teachers know ahead of time what my plans for the lesson were, and let them tell me when the best time would be to come in. I would also ask if there was any material they thought would be most important to cover incase there were certain issues in that particular class that would be beneficial to cover.

What technology applications do you see being useful in your work?

I would incorporate computers a lot because students love to engage in technology. I would also like to use online games such as kahoot. I used them both in my career lessons and the students were very receptive to it. Movie clips, music, powerpoint

How do school counselors advocate for students differently than other school staff?

School counselors advocate for students differently than other faculty because our main concern is not just academic. I know teachers are also concerned about the students overall well being, but at the end of the day they need to see academic performance. I believe counselors have a focus in more areas such as the personal/social and career areas. As counselors, we do not need to worry so much if the student is getting straight A’s, because we might be advocating for them in other ways. We might know that things at home are not going so well, and the parents are in the middle of a divorce, or a family member died and they are not focusing right. I think as counselors, we advocate for the immediate needs of the student, whatever it may be. We can broaden our scope of helping the student, where a teacher has a class full of students and might not be able to give the student the same one of one time we can.

A student requests a teacher change because he/she doesn’t like them?

I would try to talk to the student about the situation with the teacher, I would see if they were okay if we possibly set up a meeting with the teacher so they could address their concerns. Sometimes, the student feels that a teacher doesn’t like them because a teacher is hard on them, but it might just be because the teacher believes they are capable of more. If we could set up a meeting, I would let the student and teacher talk and hopefully work out their differences. I would try that before we looked into switching.

A parent requests you to switch their child’s teacher?

I would explain to the parent that we get many requests and we cannot switch overtime someone asks. I would try to set up a meeting between the parent and teacher and see if we could work out the issues first. If it did not work, I would talk to the principal about the issue and see if he wanted to handle that. It would be up to him or her if a switch was necessary.

You have a faculty member’s child in your caseload?

My supervisor had a student last year that was the daughter of a teacher in the school and she told me that we had to be careful because the teacher did not really want her to see us. I guess she was worried about her daughter telling us personal information which I get. I think if I had a faculty member’s child, I would talk to them about my role in the school and remind them about confidentiality. I would see how they felt about me meeting with the child and what they would feel comfortable with. I would respect their wishes and just let them know that I understand where’d they are coming from.

What if a school faculty member or administrator tries to get you to break confidentiality for a student and you believe it is not necessary?

Try your best to demonstrate your respect for their position of authority,Look for opportunities to interject information about the critical importance of your confidentiality before it becomes an issue. Early on establish a trusting relationship with your teachers and administrators by letting them know you will immediately involve them in information affecting students’ safety and well-being. Learn to deflect or address requests for confidential information in such a way that the teacher or administrator feels supported. For example: "What are you observing with this student?" "Is there a particular issue I can help you solve?" "Rather than have you labor through my notes, would it help you if I make a list of the most common problems students bring me?" if you believe the requester of confidential information would support and help a student if the requester had the information, then ask the student if you can share what the requester needs to know. Sometimes we may need to give out information without consulting a student, but this will be the rare exception. If you do give information, then provide only the necessary information and nothing more The need-to-know rule requires school counselors reveal sensitive information only when the recipients of the information has a need to know and is in a position to benefit the student if they have the shared information. Without the assurance of confidentiality, many students would not seek our help.

What do I do with families that resist getting much-needed mental health care for their children? At what point does it become a neglect issue?

"legal, ethical and moral responsibility to report suspected cases of child abuse/neglect to proper authorities." School counselors are also expected to provide appropriate services to abused or neglected children. Continuing education and consultation will be helpful for school counselors as they work with students who may be being abused or neglected. Abuse Abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional harm or risk of harm to a child under the age of 18 caused by a parent or other person who acts as a caregiver for the child. Neglect Neglect occurs when a parent or caregiver fails to provide proper supervision for a child or adequate food, clothing, shelter, education or medical care although financially able or assisted to do so.

What do I do when a student who is a minor tells me she thinks she is pregnant? And, if she hasn’t told her parents and plans to have an abortion, do I have a legal obligation to share the information with her parents and/or administration?

There are many issues to consider when dealing with this difficult situation. It is most important to know your state laws around this topic (i.e., what is the age of consent, issues around pregnancy decision-making, etc.) as well as your school board policies regarding this issue and community norms. Find out how or if the student has confirmed her pregnancy. Other issues to consider include whether the sex was consensual and the age difference of both parties.It is also important to understand the legal issues on parental rights vs. student’s right to confidentiality before preceding any further. Understanding the student’s relationship with her parents will help you initiate how to approach having the student tell the parents. It is imperative to monitor your own biases while at the same time helping the student process how to best disclose to the parents if at all possible.

There seems to be an ongoing struggle with putting school counselors in administrative roles, having them deal with disciplinary issues or even evaluative issues with teachers. How do I refuse to do these duties without looking like I’m not a team player?

First and foremost, administrators who put their school counselors in quasi-administrative positions are often acting on historical role definition based on how their predecessors utilized the role of the school counselor. You need to educate your administrators and the faculty about the role of today’s school counselor. Doing a presentation for the administrative team, faculty, parents and other stakeholders regarding current research on school counselor effectiveness and the ASCA National Model will go a long way in addressing the misuse of your time. Check the Careers/Roles section of the ASCA Web site and the ASCA Position Statements for helpful materials to use in your presentations about the role of the school counselor.

One of my students has recently shared with me that she often cuts herself. Should I contact her parents immediately, or should I meet with her a few times first to establish trust and try to get her to either tell her parents herself or allow me to do so? For me, the issue is not as black and white as I wish it were.

Black and white doesn’t always fit for ethical decision-making. In this case, you’ll need to assess her cutting behaviors and intentions. If your assessment indicates her intentions are suicidal ideation, of course you should take immediate action and inform her parents and develop a crisis plan. If her actions don’t indicate imminent danger, then it is important to understand her cutting conduct and assess the level of her addiction to this behavior. The relationship you have developed with the student may be the open door to guide her to disclosure of this behavior to her parents.

What is the school counselor’s role when a student threatens suicide? Should the parents be notified? Should the school administrators be notified?

A school counselors’ legal liability ends when school authorities or parents have been notified that a student is at risk and appropriate actionas have been recommended. School counselors should be sure to document their notification. However, a school counselor’s ethical obligation to a suicidal student may extend beyond parental notification. If a student isn’t helped after notifying parents or guardians, then the student’s counseling needs haven’t been met.

How do you deal with dual relationships?

Say, for example, you provide your daughter information on career development and academic issues. In those cases, you might want to explain what you would say as a school counselor as well as your opinion as a parent. You will want to avoid personal counseling. If your daughter would benefit from personal counseling, you’ll need to find an outside source. Consultation will be necessary as you navigate the next few years. Try to avoid dual relationships If unavoidable, take caution

Situations spill over and may extend into after-school time or the other half of a day for a part-time person. Ethically, we need to see situations through until they are resolved, but how do you balance that with time constraints? Am I ethically obligated to work beyond my normal work hours to deal with issues with the students?

This situation identifies a common challenge for all school personnel. Typically teachers, administrators and school counselors can be found at school long after work hours have ended. Though a school counselor’s contractual legal obligations can be quantified, the defined schedule creates a minimum obligation. The legal standard of care, acting reasonably under the circumstances, would also include school counselors working with students in crisis until the crisis is resolved. As the question indicates, school counselors are ethically obligated to see situations through until they are resolved. If school counselors are consistently working well beyond school hours, the school counselor may wish to discuss the situation with an administrator and identify issues such as whether non-counseling activities can be delegated elsewhere or whether hiring additional school counseling personnel is necessary.

I have heard reports of a particular student being cyberbullied. I haven’t seen any of the bullying myself as it’s done via students’ individual Facebook accounts and/or e-mail accounts. Additionally, the student being cyberbullied hasn’t come to me for help. What’s my role in this instance?

If you heard about a student being bullying in a school setting, you would most likely talk with the student even if the student hadn’t approached you. Simply because the bullying happens in cyberspace doesn’t mean you wouldn’t offer the same type of support. Cyber-antics will indubitably leak into the school setting; therefore every school district should develop a policy regarding cyber-bullying. As a pre-emptive approach, school counselors can educate students and parents about cyber-safety and cyber-bullying. Ethically educators cannot be unresponsive to this potentially deadly form of bullying.

I have set up a Facebook page for the school counseling department for my students. Although I am careful not to friend any of my students on my personal Facebook account, sometimes I see things via this department page that make me worry for my students, such as underage drinking or other risky behaviors. If these activities happen off school grounds, what is my role as the school counselor?

The prime directive of a school counselor is to advocate for our students. You can best address it in this situation by clarifying the boundaries of the school counseling department Facebook page. Put an informed consent statement on the front page. Avoiding the slippery slope of a dual relationship with a student on Facebook is a wise idea; however, cyber education is a proactive way to help students understand the impact and consequences of their posts online. React we must.

What is resiliance and how can we use it in school?

the ability to adapt well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress — can help our children manage stress and feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. However, being resilient does not mean that children won’t experience difficulty or distress. Emotional pain and sadness are common when we have suffered major trauma or personal loss, or even when we hear of someone else’s loss or trauma. highlight the importance of self care, empathy, helping others, setting goals, having a positive view of self getting students involved giving them a sense of community, of belonging

What is an IEP?

• An IEP (Individualized Education Program) is a legal document that is developed for the student who is eligible to receive special education and related services. This meeting, and parental consent, is required before any special education services can commence. The purpose of the first IEP meeting is to determine the student’s current educational status and develop a program designed to meet the student’s unique needs. This meeting may be held immediately after the eligibility meeting. The IEP team (made up of: parent/guardian(s), Child Study Team members as well as case manager, general education teacher, special education teacher, and relevant school personnel) may create an IEP from a blank form or offer a draft that will be reviewed and edited as a team at the meeting. • The student’s present levels of educational performance (referred to as a PLAAFP) will be discussed, including how the student’s disability affects involvement and progress in the general education curriculum, including preschool children. Also discussed will be Child Study Team evaluations, student performance on state assessments (where appropriate), teacher feedback, review of student work samples including district assessments. • The IEP will also document any parent concerns and needs in the following areas: medical, adaptive, communication, vision, hearing, social/emotional, behavioral, extra-cirrucular, regressions, participation in state assessments, school modifications and/or accommodations • While IEPs also call for other areas to be discussed when a student is age 14 and above, that does not apply to students at Oak Tree School.

If you could trade places with anyone in the world or be someone else, who would you be?

My dad because he has the greatest outlook on life, which I think he has rubbed onto me but he is the life of the party everywhere he goes, isn’t afraid of anything, is loved by everyone he meets, and most of all, makes the best out of every situation

If you could be a superhero, what power would you want?

The ability to read peoples minds

In a news headline about your life, what would it say?

She’s a school counselor!

What is the most difficult decision you ever had to make on the job?

Telling a good friend that she was fired. I said it was not personal, but unfortunately I was the middle man between her and my boss and I was asked to do it. Explained why. Wished her luck

Looking back, what could you have done to make a bad work place relationship better?

At my internship, there was a teacher who did not really respect my role and I could tell. I tried my best to be friendly and converse with her but often times, I was rejected. I think in order to make that relationship better, I would have tried to collaborate with her more, make her feel valuable and that I wanted her help and opinion.

What sort of work environment do you prefer?

I like working on a team, having a common goal and common interests, having the support of others, but also having the ability to be a leader

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