Trends in international school counseling

IS-Educator
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Trends in international school counseling

Post by IS-Educator »

I'm in the US and noticing that there are many openings for school counselors here, even late in the year. Job descriptions range from offering mental health services to teaching about health and wellness, and I see postings at all levels from preschool to high school. Are there any similar trends in international schools; that is, an increasing number of schools counselors, providing a range of services, at all grade levels? Or are these more common at well-known/ well-resourced international schools? Thinking of the possibility of returning overseas in the next few years and wondered about what has been happening in the field from those abroad.
PsyGuy
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Response

Post by PsyGuy »

ISs are having to compete harder from the available pool of counselors. Thats about the only real change, otherwise despite how some collaborators like to exaggerate their counselor role as some kind of first line of defense in the metal health of young people, its still mostly a student management and junior leadership appointment.
shadowjack
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Re: Trends in international school counseling

Post by shadowjack »

We had a counselling position open this year and got many emails regarding it. I don't know that there is a dearth of counsellors at international schools.

As to job description, I think at IS's it is still the more traditional counselling services.
secondplace
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Re: Trends in international school counseling

Post by secondplace »

Counselling, when done well, is not a student management role. It's a vital service in supporting students, and often their families, in transition and change and also in more 'typical' areas of counselling such as relationships, self image, anxiety etc.
PsyGuy
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Discussion

Post by PsyGuy »

Counseling in IE is not a vital service. It's a student management and liaison position. So often counselors in IE trump themselves as the first line of deference in mental health (MH). They are not, for a variety of reasons from cultural and language barriers to economic affluence, to the nature of IE. Counselors in IE work with the SEN team, they liaise with parents, they manage the master schedule, they do some acute MH and to a lessor extent critical MH, they may be part of the student discipline plan, but what they are absolutely not doing is filling some gap in societies social welfare and care system. They manage students, they run interference with parents for leadership, they schmooze.
secondplace
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Re: Trends in international school counseling

Post by secondplace »

So, let's unpick this....


Counseling in IE is not a vital service. - It is. When you see the transitions and change that students and families can go through you realise how vital effective and supportive counseling is.

It's a student management and liaison position. - No, it's not. It's not about student management, whatever that might mean, and it is about providing important support for students, and often their families.

So often counselors in IE trump themselves as the first line of deference in mental health (MH). They are not, for a variety of reasons from cultural and language barriers to economic affluence, to the nature of IE.

Counselors in IE work with the SEN team - this is correct.

they liaise with parents - also correct, and as appropriate.

they manage the master schedule - what? Clearly we have very different experiences of effective counseling. There's no scheduling input.

they do some acute MH and to a lessor extent critical MH - if this Mental Health, then yes, this is a key part of their role.

they may be part of the student discipline plan - they really shouldn't be.

but what they are absolutely not doing is filling some gap in societies social welfare and care system - in some cases they are filling the gap, as best they can, due to families lack of access to local services. Often they are the bridge between school, students and their families and the local services.

They manage students - nope. No they don't.

they run interference with parents for leadership - nope. No they don't.

they schmooze - I'm sorry you've clearly had such a poor experience of really effective counseling. Or that your views are so skewed, and basically wrong.
shadowjack
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Re: Trends in international school counseling

Post by shadowjack »

Most schools I have been at, counsellors don't manage the master schedule. However, they do run or co-run the advisory program.
Illiane_Blues
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Re: Trends in international school counseling

Post by Illiane_Blues »

I know more than a handful of students who would have either dropped out of school, performed well below their potential at exams, or would have been severely depressed if it hadn't been for the school counselors. They're vital to a good IS.
PsyGuy
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Reply

Post by PsyGuy »

@secondplace

Since were picking nits.

Counseling in IE is not a vital service. Having benefits does not make it vital.

Yes, Its a student management position.

Yes, they work with the SEN team, mainly because someone needs to manage the documentation and counselors are more junior leadership than faculty they typically are the designee that signs off on the IEP/AP. NOT because anyone really needs their expertise.

Liaison meaning they set up the parents morning coffee meeting. They may also be the point of contact for calls how to parents for disciplinary and behavioral issues, since ITs have real work to do.

Yes, they manage the master schedule.

Yes, MH is mental health, its not a key part of their role. Its a tiny percentage of their job. IE counselors basically refer the real problems out to real MH professionals.

They usually are part of the student discipline plan.

They arent filling any camps unless your definition of "filling" is sticking a finger in a leak in a dam. They arent a bridge to anything or anywhere, at most they are making sure a student isnt going to hurt others or themselves and then refer the student out to real MH professionals.

Yes, they manage students.

Yes, they run interference with parents for leadership

More than anything else they do is schmooze

@Illiane_Blues

Did you test some alternative hypothesis? How do you know they would have dropped out, been depressed, etc. What you really mean to claim is you think those things would have happened.
secondplace
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Re: Trends in international school counseling

Post by secondplace »

@psyguy

We have very different ideas of what effective counseling is. This may be based on experience or what we believe it should be.

Either way, there's little common ground to be found between our views.

I'll continue to advocate for the type of excellent counseling I have seen be so effective and the type of counseling I believe is so important for our students.

xx
PsyGuy
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Reply

Post by PsyGuy »

@secondplace

We have very different views of what the job is, you appear to rep counselors as the alpha and omega of MH as if your in some at risk DS in the US/UK, where counselors are often the real only option for MH available to students, when the reality is when the job of counselor transitions to IE it becomes a student management position.
interteach
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Re: Trends in international school counseling

Post by interteach »

PsyGuy is thinking of a counseling model that's nearly thirty years out of date, and is completely wrong on one account.

If you work at a well-functioning international school, counselors will be extremely busy with a wide variety of activities. Most counseling licensing now requires that counselors are able to plan and deliver classroom content, and at a large number of international schools counselors are teaching social/emotional learning, mindfulness, and other topics. A large number of international schools have college admissions seminars for 11th and 12th grade students. Counselors frequently give workshops to parents and support administration in their programming.

I know of almost no school where counselors are expected to create the schedule. They do, however, do a great deal of academic advising, work on changing schedules, and keep up with students who are academically struggling, and it's more than one-off meetings. Counselors collaborate with learning and language support to make sure that they are supporting student progress. At an IB school, they team up a lot with the IB coordinator to help keep things on track.

Yes, there is some management work - it comes with any school job, including teaching. But counselors do far more than student management, and if they aren't it's the fault of the administration who doesn't understand school counseling or a counselor not will to do the job.

With regard to mental health, contrary to what PG says, it's outside of the US and UK where counselors often face their most stressful and time consuming challenges. With poor mental health resources for non-native and/or native speakers, different cultural attitudes towards mental health issues (most of them not helpful for students), and a lack of robust government resources and laws, counselors face difficult responsibilities with a much wider array of mental health issues than they would in the majority of English speaking countries. In the US or UK, which PG uses as his example, outside referral is required and clearly delineated. In international schools, that's often not the case.

Counselors aren't the alpha and omega of a school. But they can and should make a difference, and it's a lot of work although of a different sort than teaching. Counselors manage time more than students, since so much of what a counselor has to do must be accomplished during a school day. But I know a lot of international school counselors who put in hours on the evenings and weekends. Especially if they also work on college admissions. International schools are only just starting to separate college and school counseling. Doing both is a great deal of work during first semesters.

I feel sorry for any school where PG has worked where all counselors do is the work he mentions and spend most of their day "schmoozing." And I have yet to find one.
IE_sciteacher
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Re: Trends in international school counseling

Post by IE_sciteacher »

What InterTeach described is much closer to how counsellors have been used in the schools I have been at.
secondplace
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Re: Trends in international school counseling

Post by secondplace »

Also, @psyguy seems to the be wilfully confusing, and using interchangeably, Counseling and College Counseling.
PsyGuy
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Reply

Post by PsyGuy »

@interteach

No, its a current and accurate model, not 30 years ago.

Yes, a wide variety of ideas, such as looking up furniture and clothes on the internet and keeping up with their social media.

No, most counseling programs do not have a component that includes classroom activities. I've seen the counselor try to teach upper level psychology, they usually do a poor job of it.

No, they aren't they arent teaching anything and parading. They might repeat a seminar every month or so, thats presenting not teaching. Even then its a minuscule portion of their job, and often theyre material is in error.

Uni counseling and MH counseling are not the same things. Some counselors do both but the Uni counseling portion is mostly end of year work.

Yeah they support leadership, thats what Ive been writing. Its a student management position.

Very common for the counselor to manage the master schedule, advising and changing schedules, thats managing the master schedule. Student management.

Struggling students is more the purview of the mentoring class IT than the counselor.

Its rarely anything more than a one off meeting.

They may sign off on learning and language support, but counselors rarely have a background as an educator, who would know or have been trained in anything related to teaching, much less language acquisition. Again, signing off on the documentation, student management tasking.

Yes, they "team up" with coordinators, such as the IB coordinator, because the counselor is a junior leadership position and their job is, again, student management.

Conflating the student management work of a counselor to that of an IT is so far off the mark. Its akin to comparing the management of an IS to that of a fortune 100 company. The only element they have in common is the term management.

No they dont. Not even close, student pregnancy, drug use, violent and abusive domestic and home environments, active shooters. The only data that supports that is the fact that counselors are the writers of their own press releases.

IE students have generous access to MH options, their parents can afford it, thats part and parcel why the IE counselors job is referral, because there are real MH professionals who are fluent speakers in the host language.

You mean western ideals of MH. Another classic IE counselor form of bunk that the western approach to MH is the right approach for everyone. The reason why MH care in many foreign regions (mostly Asia) is that their approach to solving and addressing MH issues is not the go to a therapist or counselor to solve it. You go to a friend or family member because going to a stranger and telling them your problems is within the context of their culture dumb.

You have a problem, your head hurts, you go to a cardiologist and they tell you its a heart problem, you go to a endocrinologist and they tell you its a hormone problem, you go to a counselor and they tell you its a MH problem. IE counselors have this delusional POV that they are MH professionals so thats what they see.

In IE referal is far more common the case then in DE, in DE the counselor has the tools such as language fluency and they are actually licensed to provide services, and with lacking resources in various communities they often find themselves managing a substantial number of cases, where in IE those conditions in whatever combination mean the IE counselor is just a referral point of contact.

Oh they make a difference alright, someone has to run the parents (moms) morning coffee mixer, and someone has to run interference with behavior management and discipline cases, and someone has to do all that advising and scheduling, because senior leadership has more important and better things to do.

So much of what an IT has to do, must be done during the school day, as opposed to the IE counselor who really only needs an internet connection wherever they are.

Uni counseling and MH counseling have been differentiated for a number of years now, easily a decade.

@secondplace

No Im not using them interchangeably or confusing the two.
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