Good morning! And it is fabulous morning for us here at Bilingual Learner because we just put a contract on a lovely, 7 acre piece of land!! Finally the search is over and we will soon be looking out over breathtaking views of central TX from our new home office perched atop a hillside! Super exciting. Here are some of our soon-to-be-views, if you'd like to have a look:
Ok! So, onto more pressing matters. I thought I'd write today about recurring individual counseling sessions, since I've seen so many questions about this topic lately on counseling forums. Must be that time of year, when all the beginning-of-the-school-year issues are out of the way, and counselors can roll up their sleeves and focus on the individual counseling needs. As always, I've included a lot of links below as helpful resources- the blue ones will take you right to an article, video, or product you can use and the red ones will take you to a freebie that you can download after you leave a comment below (once you leave a comment, the download automatically gets sent to you within a day).
Despite my caseload of 400+ students, I still manage to squeeze in a few individuals that I see on a recurring basis throughout the school year. I use my Where There's a Goal, There's a Way sessions guide to plan my sessions and I try to schedule only five students or less at any given stretch, because with the high caseloads most of us have, its hard to justify spending 30 minutes of your day repeatedly on one student only. But, these are the students who really can't get the support they need from any other part of our counseling department such as a group, guidance lessons, one visit with me, etc. Usually, these are my students who have suffered a terrible loss recently (and no grief group is running for them to join) or they don't work well with others who are in group counseling, or their issue is just so unique, that it's best I see them one-on-one. So, here is the way that I structure my recurring individual counseling sessions. On my Outlook calendar, I set up 4-5 sessions to meet once every other week for 20-30 minutes. In these sessions, I am careful to counsel students rather than provide therapy, since I am not licensed for therapy. To achieve this counseling focus, I either follow my goal-oriented brief counseling model (Where There's a Goal, There's a Way) or use books/projects to share info on a specific psychoeducational topic (such as in the case of teaching students about the stages of grief in grief counseling).
Some of my favorite resources to use in individual counseling are my sessions notes sheets (I use one format for the goal focused counseling, the other format for the psychoeducational counseling)- this helps me to plan and keep track of all my work with my individuals. I also use this scale as a pre/post test of how the counseling has influenced the student's outlook. Finally, I wrap things up with this evaluation where the student can tell me what they learned and the overall helpfulness of their counseling sessions. I also have a bilingual individual counseling guide with all these resources in Spanish if you work with that population.
Before I sign off, I thought I'd leave you with a supercute Youtube video that really made me smile the other day when I stumbled across it...and it's great for motivating any girl you are working with in individual counseling! Enjoy!
And that brings us to the end of this Saturday's counseling post. Catch up with us again next Saturday for our post focusing on the ESL world. So, see ya back here next week, same time-same place! We'd love to hear about your experiences with individual counseling, so please leave us a comment. Remember, we'll trade ya a comment for a freebie resource- comment below and we'll send you the code for the resources in RED above so you can download it for free from our Google Docs account. In the meantime, you can find out about our latest promotions, free stuff, or our counseling/ESL adventures by following us on our Facebook Page or Twitter Page.