Counseling Techniques for School Psychologists

Cross Country Education
March 05, 2021 05:08 AM (GMT-04:00)

As school psychologists, we often perform counseling sessions for students who have counseling written into their IEPs and general education students who require check-ins. It is important for school psychologists to continually update our counseling toolbox so we can best serve students with mental health needs.

With that in mind, here are some helpful resources on the two main counseling models used in schools, solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), to bookmark and use when counseling your students.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)

The Institute for Solution-Focused Therapy states that the goal of solution therapy is to develop and achieve the student’s vision of solutions. Because in schools, counseling sessions are often shorter, solution-focused brief therapy is a useful approach to helping students solve problems.

The main techniques in solution-focused therapy are: 

  1. Looking for previous solutions
  2. Looking for exceptions to the problem&
  3. Maintaining a present and future focus
  4. Complimenting on small and large successes
  5. Inviting students to do more of what is already working
  6. Using the miracle question, scaling questions, and coping questions  

You can find more information about tips, strategies, and implementation of SFBT from the Solutions Center.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

The main objective of CBT is to help students become aware of the ways in which their thoughts can affect their emotions and behaviors. CBT helps students reframe, identify, interpret, and evaluate their reactions to negative experiences.

Techniques involved in CBT are: 

  1. Cognitive restructuring/reframing 
  2. Journaling 
  3. Thought records to help identify unproductive thoughts 
  4. Activity scheduling and behavior activation 
  5. Relaxation techniques (deep breathing, muscle relaxation

More CBT strategies, curriculum, and worksheets can be found in this resource from Positive Psychology and in this CPD-approved CBT course from NASP.

Resources for School Psychologists

Thanks for reading this resource from our school psychologists on counseling techniques. We hope you find it a useful addition to your toolkit. While you’re here, check out our other resources for school psychologists at Cross Country Education.

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