Staff counseling is a psychological health care intervention which can take many forms. Its aim is to assist both the employer and employee by intervening with an active problem-solving approach to tackling the problems at hand.
Employee counseling can do much to prevent the negative effects of stress at an individual level and ultimately at an organizational level.
Aims of Staff Counseling:
The specific aims of staff counseling are to:
· Explore and find the key sources of difficulty.
· Review the individual’s current strategies and styles of coping.
· Implement methods of dealing with the perceived problem, thereby alleviating the issue. Often, this step may involve also improving interpersonal relations at work and/or improving personal performance.
· Evaluate the effectiveness of the chosen strategies.
While the program must be defined and organized to meet the identified needs of students and the established goals of the program, the assignments of the program staff also must be appropriately defined and organized. Although school counselors have the primary responsibility for delivery of the Texas Comprehensive, Developmental Guidance and Counseling Program, full program implementation calls for employing a wide range of categories of staff and distinguishing between their roles. Organizing the staffing patterns and defining their organizational relationships are also required.
Staff categories: The personnel resources available to a campus or district guidance program vary with the size of the district and the school / district’s commitment to the guidance program. Professional, paraprofessional, and volunteers from the school guidance department, the school staff, and the district and community are used.
• Administrators’ responsibilities may relate to the guidance program: provision of responsive services to students who are having behavior or other problems; referral of students for counseling; provision of system support to the program and the counseling staff; administration of functions which link to guidance activities (e.g., scheduling, testing program coordination).
• Teachers may perform such guidance functions as the teaching guidance curriculum, advising in the individual planning system, and referring students for counseling.
• Guidance department administrators and supervisors lead and assist in developmental guidance and counseling program planning, design, implementation, and evaluation. They provide staff development activities through supervision, evaluation, and in-service training of campus guidance staff. They are responsible for materials and resources.
• Psychological services personnel coordinate and collaborate with counselors to ensure continuity of services for students with special, psychological needs.
• Social Workers and other related mental health specialists augment the guidance program staff. In general, their services are extensions of Responsive Services.
Competence. The responsibilities that various people carry out in comprehensive, developmental guidance and counseling program implementation must be specifically defined. Responsibilities should be appropriate to the individuals’ background, training, and competence; for example, guidance department heads should be trained in supervision of school counselors.
Personnel without school counselor certification should be trained to carry out their responsibilities in the guidance and counseling program, e.g., teachers trained to be advisors, community representatives trained to be school speakers, and parent volunteers trained in tasks and parameters of their jobs. They should also be schooled regarding the needs of students.
Personnel without school counselor certification cannot legally be used in place of certified professional school counselors, but rather to augment the program. All personnel assisting in the delivery of the guidance program should adhere to the ethical and legal standards of the counseling profession. Key standards are those regarding students’ and parents’ rights and confidentiality.
Staffing patterns. Staff load and/or special program assignments for individual staff members need to be:
• supported by a rationale appropriate to student and community needs, and to campus guidance program goals and objectives;
• appropriate to each counselor’s or staff member’s program responsibilities;
• Appropriate to each counselor’s or staff member’s training, background, and area of specialization.
Organizational relationships. The guidance department has primary responsibility to implement the Texas Comprehensive, Developmental Guidance and Counseling Program the local board of education adopts as policy. Personnel without school counselor certification who are active in the program should be supervised by the professional school counselors.
Within the professional school counseling staff, organizational relationships should be clearly defined. Those counselors with special responsibilities should be clearly identified. The guidance department head should be delegated the authority needed to supervise the counseling and guidance department staff.
Mechanisms which facilitate communications between the various members of the guidance program staff need to be employed; for example, regular staff meetings should be held.
• Counselors may be assigned to conduct their responsibilities comprehensively (i.e., to fulfill all responsibilities for the counselees in their group assignments). Specialist counselors may be assigned to carry out special program assignments or to serve special student groups. Special program assignments include guidance department leadership, crisis team, and building test coordination. Special group assignments include students in compensatory education, special education, career and technology education, and substance abuse/prevention programs.
• Paraprofessional support personnel are needed to fully implement the Texas Comprehensive, Developmental Guidance and Counseling Program and include secretaries, registrars, career center technicians, and scheduling clerks.
When a fully certified school counselor is employed, the administration, faculty, parents, and community should expect the counselor to carry out eight basic responsibilities competently and in a professional and accountable manner. The eight responsibilities are:
• Program Management
• Student Assessment
• Professional Behavior
• Professional Standards