According to the ASCA National Model, “Responsive services are activities designed to meet students’ immediate needs and concerns. Responsive services may include counseling in individual or small-group settings or crisis response.”
Responding to student needs can be a little daunting, as we cannot accurately predict the issues and concerns they will bring us. Thankfully, we can actually be proactive in responding by educating ourselves and collaborating with other professional school counselors.
I would like to share two resources that help me tremendously in responding to students. The first is a book and the second is an Internet resource. (A non-techie and a techie resource)
While attending the ASCA conference this past summer, I attended an amazing session led by two gentlemen Keith Fulthorp and Around Schonberg. They used the time in the session to share how they incorporate Solution-Focused Brief Therapy into their school counseling programs. One of the books they recommend is Solutioning by Willyn Webb. I was so excited about their session that I ordered the book as soon as I returned home from the conference! I am in the middle of reading the book Solutioning.
Here is what I like about Solutioning:
1. It is easy to read. Not full of a bunch of theoretical jargon.
2. This book is full of examples. I love being able to see how someone else handled an issue I might face.
3. This book features real language I can practice and use at school with my students.
4. Each chapter ends with practice exercises to put me in the mindset to focus on solutions rather than problems.
5. This may seem trivial, but I really like the size of this book. It has over 300 pages, yet still fits in my purse. This means I can take it with me and read whenever I have a few minutes.
My other favorite responsive service resource is a Facebook group called, “Caught in the Middle School Counselors” or CITM for short. I found this group my first year as a school counselor and it has proven to be a constant support and resource for me as a professional. Keeping up with this group is like getting a little bit of PD every time I check it. If you are familiar with Facebook, you understand that people will post questions, comments, and pictures while group members have a chance to respond by offering support, opinions, or ideas. It is virtual collaboration. J
Here is what I like about “Caught in the Middle School Counselors”:
1. This is a closed group consisting only of school counselors, mental health providers (such as social workers, psychiatrists, and therapists) and students studying to become school counselors and/or mental health practitioners.
2. The members are at all different experience levels! Ideas based on years of experience as well as fresh ideas from those new in the field.
3. This is a super active group! Every time I check it, there is a new post. So much information at my fingertips!! J
4. This group is full of real people in the trenches…just like me! People who have faced some of the same challenges I have like the death of a student. Not something any of us want to face, but definitely something that happens. It is so nice to have others respond so quickly with tried and true information.
5. This group has a Google Drive with files! Just this week I used a peer conflict contract I found in this group. So many resources already typed up and used by those with more experience than I have. What’s not to love?
As school counselors, we want to be more proactive than reactive, but the truth is we need to be flexible with our time as a great portion of our program includes responding to student needs. The two resources mentioned above are great ways of educating ourselves so that we can respond to student needs effectively and efficiently. J