ERG SES D 01, Interactive Poster Session
Adolescents experience myriad issues that can affect their social, emotional, and career development, as well as their academic progress. Such issues can range from typical, developmental stressors to more serious mental and emotional issues. For instance, many adolescents experience various levels of stress related to academic performance (Suldo & Shaunessy-Dedrick, 2013), peer relationships (Gardner & Steinberg, 2005), and the transition from high school to a career or postsecondary education (Ferguson & Lamback, 2014). Adolescents may also experience more severe environmental or psychological stressors such as poverty, homelessness, violence, child abuse or neglect, or family substance abuse concerns (DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, & Smith, 2012; Kohl, Johnson-Reid, & Drake, 2011). Mental health issues among children and adolescents are also concerning with an estimated 1 in 5 children and adolescents having a mild or moderate mental health concern and 1 in 20 having a more serious mental health issue (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). Furthermore, suicide remains the third leading cause of death among adolescents (National Institute of Mental Health, 2012). Adolescents who experience any of these factors may be at a greater risk of failing to meet their educational goals and potential (Battin-Pearson, et al., 2000).
Adolescents who need assistance in navigating either developmental stressors or more serious concerns often first receive services through the school (Farmer et al., 2003). Consequently, school counselors are likely to be the first mental health professionals with whom students have contact. The school counselor’s role, however, is currently in the midst of transformation with a strong emphasis on implementing comprehensive, preventive programs with a focus on the needs of the whole child (i.e., academic, career, and social/emotional development) and meeting educational goals (Tang & Erford, 2010). Although researchers have examined various stakeholders’ perspectives of the school counselors’ role within a comprehensive counseling program, there is limited information about students’ perspectives.
In this study, we explored high school students’ perspectives of their school counselors. We sought to better understand how school counselors impact students, given the current delivery model (ASCA, 2012), educational reform movements, and the multiple expectations counselors experience. Therefore, the research question that guided this investigation is: What do adolescents perceive to be beneficial in school counseling?
American School Counselor Association. (2012). The ASCA national model: A framework for school counseling programs (3rd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Author Battin-Pearson, S., Newcomb, M. D., Abbott, R. D., Hill, K. G., Catalano, R. F., & Hawkins, J. D. (2000). Predictors of early high school dropout: A test of five theories. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(3), 568-582. Farmer, E. M. Z., Burns, B. J., Phillips, S. D., Angold, A., & Costello, E. J. (2003). Pathways into and through mental health services for children and adolescents. Psychiatric Services, 54 (1), 60–66. National Institute of Mental Health. (2012). Suicide in the U.S.: Statistics and prevention. Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/suicideintheusstatisticsandprevention/index.shtml Ohrt, J. H., Lambie, G. W., & Ieva, K. P. (2009). Supporting Latino and African-American students in advanced placement courses: A school counseling program’s approach. Professional School Counseling, 13(1), 59-63. Suldo, S. M., & Shaunessy-Dedrick, E. (2013). The psychosocial functioning of high school students in academically rigorous programs. Psychology in the Schools, 50(8), 823-843. Tang, M., & Erford, B. T. (2010). The history of school counseling. In B. T. Erford (Ed.). Professional school counseling: A handbook of theories, programs, and practices (2nd ed., pp. 9–22). Austin, TX: PRO-ED. Toporek, R. L., Lewis, J. A. and Crethar, H. C. (2009), Promoting systemic change through the ACA Advocacy Competencies. Journal of Counseling & Development, 87: 260–268.
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