Thursday, January 2, 2014
Hmmmmm...can't recall who these old, mostly dead White men are, huh? Freud, Rogers, May and Adler. It's been a minute since you had a theories class, eh? These are the Ghosts of Theorists Past! LOL!
Why is it that school counselors freeze up when they are asked about theories? Why are we afraid to use theory; and for the record...stating that as a school counselor...you use eclectic theory is out. ANNNNT (that's me doing the buzzer-times up sound)! It's passe. Today, eclectic means that you are so proficient in multiple theories that you blend and mix them. It no longer means that you take a little bit of each to make up your own. Heck, 95% of principals won't even ask you about theory in an interview or otherwise. Shoot! They don't even care!
As I approach my second to last semester of my PhD program, I have learned to appreciate theory. I now know that I need it in order to be a PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL COUNSELOR. I know that I am an existentialist. Mostly due to personal experiences in my life and my belief system. However, when working in the K-12 environment I know that Solution Focused is best for students. Therefore, I fuse Existentialism with Solution Focused. I even did a presentation on it for my Advanced Theories class! Created my own version! LOL! So as school counselors, I bet money that you are going to fall back on Reality Theory or Solution Focused Theory. Either one is fine. I can't envision Psychodrama, Transactional Analysis or Gestalt in a K-12 setting, but I could be wrong! Just refresh yourself with the theory, the techniques and do it properly. Theories are not hard to remember when you revisit them, it will come back to you easily...just like it did me. Shucks! You may even think about going back to school to obtain a PhD in counselor education! What I don't want is for you to cheat yourself out of our professional identity by doing some kind of hodge-podge, crappy crap and what I definitely don't want is for you to cheat your students out of what they deserve...a competent, effective and ethically sound school counselor.
Remember: You can't be extraordinary when you're in your own way!
It's a new year! It's time for different and exciting things! Here are some great suggestions to think about as you continue to develop and grow as an extraordinary school counselor!
- Join your professional organization and I mean your SCA (school counselor association), not your CA (counselor association). SCAs are just for school counselors; CAs are for all counselors. You will get more for your buck if your join your SCA as a practicing school counselor.
- Take advantage of your professional development opportunites. Take a class, attend a conference, listen to a podcast or webinar or participate in a TweetChat. You need new ideas. School counselors must stay current and relevant.
- Learn some new technology. There are so many out there today that I can barely keep up anymore, but I do it!
- Give back to your profession by being a site supervisor for an internship student, volunteer to be a RAMP reviewer for ASCA or an essay reader for Chi Sigma Iota International, speak to a SC class at your former university, nominate someone for a SC award or volunteer to be on your SCA board.
- Be honest with yourself regarding your career. Are you still effective? Do you still love your job? Working with children? For if you are one of those school counselors who doesn't believe you need to learn anything else, doesn't believe you need to attend a conference or obtain PD or does the same old tired lessons regardless of what the data says and what your school needs are...then you may need some career counseling. 'Nuf said!
If your school district is like mine, then you are no stranger to the act of "cutting" by some of your students. While looking for resources, I found this great manual for school personnel by S.A.F.E. Alternatives. The S.A.F.E. Alternatives website is a great place to assist you in understanding cutting behaviors. They also have a video that parents can watch. The manual explains why students may self-injure and provides interventions. It also is a guide to help you run groups for students. One can purchase student workbooks seperately. What I like most is that you can complete a self-study course for less than $100, earn 10 CEUs or PD points and gain a certificate.
Manual for School Personnel
Enjoy and be extraordinary in your practices!