School counselors are unique, specialized educators whose main focus is to implement and guide school counseling programs to improve student success for all students. Much of this will take place with a top-down approach that works to address student needs in bulk, but that doesn’t mean that students don’t have access to one-on-one sessions.
School counselors regularly help students with their academic planning and goal setting and work with others, from their teachers to their parents, to give the said student as much support and guidance as possible.
While the main goal of any counselor is to help students academically, of course, they should also be capable of helping children through personal issues and traumas as well. This does not mean you need to become a therapist, but instead that you should use this guide so that you can improve your skillset.
Crisis and Trauma Counseling
Children of all ages will experience traumas and crises from peer pressure and bullying all the way to abuse. While it is not your job or place to provide therapy for your students, you can still help them. Before you jump in with good intentions and no skills, consider earning a crisis and trauma counseling certification.
This certification is designed to give counselors and other similar professionals culturally sensitive and evidence-supported disaster response skills. Advance preparation, early intervention, and follow-up sessions can help those who have lived through a disaster. You can earn this credential online and at your own pace, letting you continue to work while you build up these important skills.
Become Culturally Intelligent
Being culturally intelligent means understanding different cultures and religions. You don’t need to prove to students that you know this information, but it helps to understand where they are coming from and their home life. Even with a primer, however, don’t take the lead. It is important to adjust your knowledge and insight to the child in front of you so that you can offer helpful advice and guidance.
Understand How to Talk About Mental Health
Mental health is a big ticket issue, and knowing how to spot the signs and how to talk about it can directly improve your ability to guide your students. To follow up, you will need to then go and create a list of long-term options for them to explore, or alternatively, get in touch with the parents with a referral if and when it becomes relevant.
Stay up-to-date with Trends
One of the most powerful ways that you can stay connected to your students is by staying up-to-date with the trends. Reports and guides can help you understand the gist of what is going on in the hallways without completely delving into TikTok and the other social channels that teens and kids are using today.
This is how you will keep updated on what language they use, the latest issues they are focussing on, and so on. While it may not help you do your job better per se, it will help you better connect to each student as they come.