Integrating School-based Family Counseling into School Psychology Practice
Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science,
Aim: To integrate theoretical and applied knowledge regarding the benefits and limitations of school psychologists incorporating school-based family counselling into their practice.
Study Design: Critical literature review paper.
Structure of Paper: First, a brief rationale for delivering counselling to families at schools is given. Second, a description of the role of school psychologists is offered, based on the guidelines of professional psychological organizations in the United States and Canada. Third, the benefits and limitations of school psychologists incorporating school-based family counselling into their practice are discussed. Lastly, recommendations for promoting a role expansion for school psychologists in the school system are provided.
Key Findings: The literature presents controversial arguments for school psychologists performing broader roles. On one hand, they have ethical responsibility to become involved in interventions and programs aimed at addressing problems that are broader than merely assessing and identifying children with special needs. However, other factors including the setting in which school psychologists work, the shortage of professionals, the overlap in roles with other qualified practitioners within the school, and the lack of training and experience in family counselling, present as barriers for school psychologists’ practice in school-based family counselling.
Conclusion: To better support and promote students’ success across environments, school psychologists are encouraged to address the potential impacts that family problems may have on their children. Schools may be an optimal environment for families to access mental health services. The complex nature of each individual’s professional training and area of competence, the variance in expectations and requirements of school districts, the feasibility of including such services into their workload, and the slow progress in changing and expanding the role of school psychologists are some of the variables that must be taken into account when considering integrating family counseling into the role of school psychologists.
- Family counselling
- school psychology
- school intervention
- mental health.
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