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We're Gonna Change the World, We're Gonna Change the World!

October 12, 2013


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.

Thank you so much for this post. I'm just starting out and having a difficult time measuring whether or not growth is occurring because of individual sessions!

Hi, Stephanie,

I'm so curious to see your pre/post structure for individual counseling. I would like to be more focused on the end result with my students, so am looking for something to guide and direct my approach in a more concrete way while also being able to use data for accountability.

Thanks for your generosity and willingness to share what you use.

Hi Stephanie,

I'm interested in downloading your survey and evaluation you have on your blog. Thanks.

Quita Jones

Thx Linette, Jan, and Quita! I struggled for a loooooong time before I made the survey and eval from many years of trial and error. It's not as objective as I'd like it to be (like my pre/post test for guidance lessons and groups which measure quantifiable data), but it helps shed some light on what students have learned in individual counseling. If I ever I figure out how to quantify that, I'll let you know;)

I am very interested in all the red documents related to individual counseling with students!

I am interested too in your counseling documents. Thanks in advance

Hi Leslie and Ann, I just sent the docs to you. Leslie- your email kept changing to a gmail address even though that wasn't what I typed in. Let me know if you don't get the docs and I'll see if I can figure out what's up...

Hi there,
Glad that I found your blog - thanks to Caught in the Middle School Counseling FB page. I would love to access your Google Docs if at all possible. Very interested in the pre/post test assessment.
Thanks so much,