School counselors are a well-positioned resource to reach the significant number of children and adolescents with mental health problems. In this special school counseling issue of The Professional Counselor, some articles focus on systemic, top-down advocacy efforts as the point of intervention for addressing child and adolescent mental health. Other articles investigate improving child and adolescent mental health through a localized, ground-level approach by developing school counselors’ competency areas and specific school counseling interventions. Article topics include school counselors’ professional identity, training, self-efficacy, supervision, burnout, career competencies and cultural competencies, as well as how to measure the impact of school counselors’ interventions. The author discusses the importance of school counselors’ role within schools, and hindrances to school counselors’ ability to perform their role as counselors.
Recent research has focused on the discrepancy between school counselors’ preferred roles and their actual functions. Reasons for this discrepancy range from administrators’ misperceptions of the role of the school counselor to the slow adoption of comprehensive school counseling approaches such as the American School Counselor Association’s National Model. A look at counseling history reveals that competing professional identity models within the profession have inhibited the standardization of school counseling practice and supervision. School counselors are counseling professionals working within an educational setting, and therefore they receive messages about their role as both counselor and educator. The present article includes a discussion of the consequences of these competing and often conflicting messages, as well as a description of three strategies to combat the role stress associated with this ongoing debate.
This mixed-methods study investigated the relationship between burnout and performing noncounseling duties among a national sample of professional school counselors, while identifying school factors that could attenuate this relationship. Results of regression analyses indicate that performing noncounseling duties significantly predicted burnout (e.g., exhaustion, negative work environment and deterioration in personal life), and that school factors such as caseload, Adequate Yearly Progress status and level of principal support significantly added to the prediction of burnout over and above noncounseling duties. Moderation tests revealed that Adequate Yearly Progress and caseload moderated the effect of noncounseling duties as related to several burnout dimensions. Participants related their burnout experience to emotional exhaustion, reduced effectiveness, performing noncounseling duties, job dissatisfaction and other school factors. Participants conceptualized noncounseling duties in terms of adverse effects and as a reality of the job, while also reframing them within the context of being a school counselor.
This study explored rural school counselors’ perceptions of clinical supervision. School counselors working in rural communities commonly encounter issues that challenge their ability to provide competent counseling services to the students they serve. School counselors serving in these areas are often the only rural mental health provider in their community, and they may lack access to other professionals to meet supervision needs. Participants’ (n = 118) current experiences and future needs were investigated concurrently with supervision training and delivery methods most desired. The majority of school counselors in the study reported that they perceive clinical supervision as an important element in their continued personal and professional growth. However, these school counselors reported not receiving supervision at an individual, group or peer level. The need for the supervision is apparent; however, access to supervision in rural areas is limited. Implications for school counselors and recommendations for future research are discussed.
A logic model was developed based on an analysis of the 2012 American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model in order to provide direction for program evaluation initiatives. The logic model identified three outcomes (increased student achievement/gap reduction, increased school counseling program resources, and systemic change and school improvement), seven outputs (student change, parent involvement, teacher competence, school policies and processes, competence of the school counselors, improvements in the school counseling program, and administrator support), six major clusters of activities (direct services, indirect services, school counselor personnel evaluation, program management processes, program evaluation processes and program advocacy) and two inputs (foundational elements and program resources). The identification of these logic model components and linkages among these components was used to identify a number of necessary and important evaluation studies of the ASCA National Model.
Counseling self-efficacy (CSE), defined as one’s beliefs about his or her ability to effectively counsel a client, is an important precursor of effective clinical practice. While research has explored the association of CSE with variables such as counselor training, aptitude and level of experience, little attention has been paid to CSE among school mental health (SMH) practitioners. This study examined the influence of quality training (involving quality assessment and improvement, modular evidence-based practices, and family engagement/empowerment) versus peer support and supervision on CSE in SMH practitioners, and the relationship between CSE and practice-related variables. ANCOVA indicated similar mean CSE changes for counselors receiving the quality training versus peer support. Regression analyses indicated that regardless of condition, postintervention CSE scores significantly predicted quality of practice, knowledge of evidence-based practices (EBP) and use of EBP specific to treating depression. Results emphasize the importance of CSE in effective practice and the need to consider mechanisms to enhance CSE among SMH clinicians.