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What is School Counseling?

Counselor's Corner

What does an elementary school counselor do?

Counsel, educate, advocate and empower! I work alongside teachers and parents/guardians to help students develop socially and emotionally, and to help remove any barriers they have with learning.

How does a student see a school counselor?

  • Self-referral
  • Parent/guardian referral
  • Administrator, teacher, or other staff referral
  • Referral by friend(s)

What counseling services does a school counselor provide?

  • Classroom guidance lessons teaching social skills, how to take care of strong feelings, study skills, etc.
  • Small group counseling
  • Short-term individual and crisis counseling
  • Consultation with parents/guardians and teachers
  • Parent/guardian workshops
  • Community resource referrals (including longer term therapy services)
  • Coordination of Services Team (COST)
  • Schoolwide programming
  • Committee involvement

What types of things do counselors talk with students about in class lessons and in individual or group counseling?

  • Being responsible
  • Conflict resolution
  • Feeling good about yourself
  • Making and keeping friends
  • Making good choices
  • Managing strong feelings
  • Setting goals
  • Teamwork

How can school counselors support parents/guardians?

  • Helping to handle social or emotional concerns you have about your child
  • Improving parent-child communication
  • Family difficulties or concerns that affect your child at school
  • Referrals for community resources
  • Understanding the developmental changes of childhood
  • Helping your child to be on time to school every day
  • Discussing concerns about your child’s academic achievement

How does a school counselor manage privacy and confidentiality?

  • Your family’s privacy is important to me. What you or your child discuss with me is private except in cases required by law (when abuse, neglect or imminent danger is suspected).
  • Confidentiality is an important part of the counselor/student relationship as it helps build trust in the therapeutic alliance. However, there are certain exceptions that may require a school counselor to break confidentiality when working with a student.
  • Confidentiality will be broken if a student shares that they are going to hurt themselves, they are going to hurt someone else, or someone is hurting them.
  • Confidentiality can also be broken if we (student and school counselor) decide it is important to share the information with another adult.
  • Students are informed of these exceptions during a classroom guidance lesson at the beginning of the school year. They are also reminded at the beginning of every counseling session. 
  • If I meet with a student more than once, I will inform the parent/guardian of these meetings only if their assistance is needed or if an outside referral needs to be made.
  • If I would like to include a student in group counseling, I will call the parent/guardian to get consent to work with your child.