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Dev~lopmental Guidance

and Counseling:
A Practical Approach
Fifth Edition


Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Copyright 2011
Educational Media Corporation®

Library of Congress Control Number: 2010942410

ISBN 978-1-930572-58-4

Printing (Last Digit)

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

All rights reserved. No part of the material protected by this copyright notice may be
reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including
photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without
the written permission of the copyright holder. Manufactured in the United States of

Educational Media Corporation®
P.O. Box 21311
Minneapolis, MN 55421-0311
(763) 781-0088 or (800) 966-3382

Production editor-
Don L. Sorenson, Ph.D.

Graphic design-
Earl Sorenson

ii Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.


To Linda,
Who has been there from the beginning...
And, who ...

as an elementary and middle school counselor, a district guidance coor-

dinator, and a university professor, put theory into practice ...

as a contributor and co-author, helped refine and clarify the concepts of

developmental guidance and counseling...

as an editor, sharpened the language and ideas ...

as a consultant and conference presenter, helped others to implement

counselor programs and interventions ...

as a loving and devoted wife and mother, provided timely encourage-

ment and support. ..

as my inspiration and best friend, has my deepest love, respect, and ap-
preciation ...


Educational Media Corporation® iii

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

iv Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Emergence of Developmental Guidance and Counseling ............... 1
Guidance and Counseling Defined ................................................................ 4
The Formative Years ....................................................................................... 7
Four Approaches to Guidance and Counseling ........................................... 11
Guidance and Counseling in a Changing World ........................................ 15
Developmental Guidance for all Schools .................................................... 32
Chapter 2 Developmental Guidance: A Comprehensive Approach ........................ 3
Basic Assumptions and Needs ...................................................................... 33
The Theory of Developmental Guidance .................................................... 34
Developmental Guidance Curriculum and Goals ...................................... .42
Principles of Developmental Guidance ...................................................... .43
A Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling Program ............................... 50
A National Model for School Counseling .................................................... 53
Roles of School Personnel in Guidance ....................................................... 55
Chapter 3 The Teacher as Student Advisor ............................................................. 61
Teacher Concerns ......................................................................................... 63
The Teacher and School Guidance .............................................................. 64
Teachers as Student Advisors ....................................................................... 67
TAP: An Essential Guidance Program .......................................................... 72
The Counselor's Role in TAP ........................................................................ 76
Building Support for TAP ............................................................................. 77
Teachers: Key to Developmental Guidance ................................................. 80
Counselor-Teacher Re la tionshi ps ............................................................... 80
School Guidance Committees .................................................................... 82
Advantages, Limitations, and Conclusion .................................................. 83
Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist ......................... 85
Counseling Theories Revisited ..................................................................... 86
The Professional Counselor ......................................................................... 97
A Practical Approach to the Counselor's Role ........................................... 107
Managing Counselor Time: A Practical Approach ..................................... 109
Six Basic Counselor Interventions ............................................................. 111
Managing Counselor Priorities .................................................................. 120
Managing Interventions ............................................................................ 124
Factors to Consider .................................................................................... 132
Chapter 5 The Counselor as Facilitator. ................................................................ 145
The Facilitative Model ............................................................................... 145
The Facilitative Processes ........................................................................... 148
The High Facilitative Responses ................................................................ 156
The Low Facilitative Responses .................................................................. 168
Facilitative Responses in Groups ............................................................... 172
The Facilitative Activities ........................................................................... 17 3
Facilitative Counseling and Teaching ........................................................ 175

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Chapter 6 Individual Counseling as a Counselor Intervention ........................... 177

Individual Counseling Defined ................................................................. 178
Stages of Counseling .................................................................................. 180
Factors to Consider .................................................................................... 189
The Systematic Problem-Solving Model .................................................... 195
The Case of Kellen ..................................................................................... 198
Contingency Contracts .............................................................................. 203
The Case of Deborah .................................................................................. 204
Helpful Hints .............................................................................................. 208
Advantages, Limitations, and Conclusion ................................................ 221
Conclusion ................................................................................................. 222
Chapter 7 Small Group Counseling as a Counselor Intervention ....................... 223
Group Counseling Defined ........................................................................ 224
Three Small Group Counseling Approaches .............................................. 225
Stages of Small Group Counseling ............................................................. 229
Factors to Consider .................................................................................... 230
Communication Labs: A Growth Group Experience ................................ 239
The Case of Jennifer and Andrew ............................................................. 241
Group Counseling for Negative Attitudes ................................................. 247
Motivational Group Counseling ................................................................ 250
The Go For It Club ..................................................................................... 252
The Journey: Group Counseling for ADHD/ADD ..................................... 254
Helpful Hints .............................................................................................. 259
Small Group Counseling & Counselor Schedule ....................................... 266
Advantages, Limitations, and Conclusion ................................................ 269
Chapter 8 Large Group Guidance as a Counselor Intervention .......................... 271
Large Group Guidance Defined ................................................................. 271
Factors to Consider .................................................................................... 272
The Florida Classroom Guidance Project .................................................. 286
Helpful Hints .............................................................................................. 290
Advantages, Limitations, and Conclusion ................................................ 299
Chapter 9 Peer Facilitator Projects as a Counselor Intervention ......................... 301
Peer Facilitator Defined .............................................................................. 302
The Power of Peer Relationships ................................................................ 303
Four Basic Helping Roles ............................................................................ 304
Peer Facilitator Training ............................................................................. 310
Factors to Consider .................................................................................... 312
Peer Facilitator Programs and Projects ....................................................... 316
Helpful Hints .............................................................................................. 323
Advantages, Limitations, and Conclusion ................................................ 327

vi Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 10 Consultation as a Counselor Intervention .......................................... 329
The Need for Consultation ........................................................................ 329
Consultation Defined ................................................................................ 331
The Consultation Process .......................................................................... 332
Three Types of Consultation ...................................................................... 334
Four Approaches to Consultation .............................................................. 336
Collaboration and Consultation ................................................................ 338
Factors to Consider .................................................................................... 339
A Systematic Approach to Case Consultation ........................................... 347
The Case of the Desperate Teacher CTanet) ................................................ 349
Consulting with Parents ............................................................................ 356
Brief Family Consultation .......................................................................... 358
A Training Approach with Teachers ........................................................... 360
Consulting in Child Study Teams .............................................................. 362
A Process Approach to Rebuilding a Guidance Program ........................... 363
Helpful Hints .............................................................................................. 364
Advantages, Limitations, and Conclusion ................................................ 367
Chapter 11 The Counseloras Guidance Coordinator ............................................. 369
Coordination Defined ................................................................................ 369
Coordinating the Guidance Program ....................................................... 3 71
Coordination as a Counselor Intervention ............................................... 375
Factors to Consider .................................................................................... 390
Case Studies ................................................................................................ 392
Coordinating a Child Study Team ............................................................. 394
Helpful Hints .............................................................................................. 398
Advantages, Limitations, and Conclusion ................................................ 399
Chapter 12 The Counselor and Accountability ...................................................... 401
Accountability Defined .............................................................................. 401
Types of Accountability Studies ................................................................. 403
Factors to Consider .................................................................................... 409
Two Types of Program Evaluation ............................................................ .418
The Systematic Case Study ....................................................................... .421
The Collaborative Study ............................................................................ 423
Helpful Hints .............................................................................................. 430
Counselor Evaluation ................................................................................ 439
Advantages, Limitations, and Conclusion ............................................... .439
Appendix A ASCA National Model:
A Framework for School Counseling Programs .................................. 441
Appendix B The Florida Classroom Guidance Project ............................................. 443
Appendix C ASCA Ethical Standards For School Counselors .................................. 453
Appendix D Peer Facilitator Curriculum (High School) .......................................... 461
References ............................................................................................................... 463
Index ............................................................................................................... 494

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

List of Figures

2.1 Developmental Stages/Tasks .................................................................................. 36

2.2 Principles of Developmental Guidance Programs ............................................... .44
3.1 Developmental Guidance Units-TAP .................................................................. 69
4.1 Counselor Interventions (Weekly Scheduling Plan) ........................................... 110
4.2 Elementary School Counselor Schedule ............................................................. 125
4.3 Middle School Counselor Schedule .................................................................... 126
4.4 High School Counselor Schedule ........................................................................ 127
5.1 Relationship Quadrant ........................................................................................ 149
5.2 Facilitative Processes (Individual or Group) ....................................................... 155
5.3 Feeling Words ...................................................................................................... 158
6.1 Depth of Self-Exploration .................................................................................... 218
6.2 Facilitating theDepth and Direction of Self-Exploration .................................... 220
7.1 Facilitating Groups (Communication Labs) ....................................................... 240
7.2 Group Evaluation (Communication Labs) .......................................................... 246
7.3 Objectives for The Journey:
Group Counseling for ADHD/ADD ..................................................................... 258
8.1 Teacher Inventory Results:
Comparison of Experimental and Control Groups ............................................ 288
8.2 Student Inventory Results:
Comparison of Experimental and Control Groups ............................................ 289
8.3 Managing Large Groups: Seating Arrangements ................................................. 291
10.1 The Consultation Process .................................................................................... 332
10.2 Counseling and Consultation Relationships ...................................................... 333
10.3 The Systematic Facilitative Approach to Consultation ...................................... 348
10.4 Teacher Ratings: Pre-Post Consultation .............................................................. 355
11.1 Florida Program Standards Florida Department of Education (2001) ................ 374
12.1 Learning Behaviors Related to School Achievement ......................................... .412
12.2 Retrospective Measurement Example ................................................................ .413
12.3 Behavior Checklist-Kevin (Teacher Ratings-Pre and Post) ............................ .420
12.4 Final Written Report on K.J ................................................................................. 421
12.5 Collaborative Study: The Counselor Interventions ........................................... .425
12.6 Percentage Gains for Counselor Intervention Group
(Pre and Post Comparison) ................................................................................ .426
12. 7 Questions for School Counselors ........................................................................ 435

viii Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.


Almost everyone has had the ex- Counseling is such a complex process
perience of purchasing something that that it seems almost impossible to chart
needed to be assembled at home. If you a course or diagram a plan of action. Put-
are like a lot of people, you first try to ting together a developmental guidance
recall how the model looked in the store program, and related counseling strate-
or catalog and say, "Hey, this shouldn't be gies, might seem similar to times when
so difficult." Then you start. After reach- you assembled one of those "gadgets."
ing a point of frustration and uncertainty You recognize some familiar pieces and
of what to do next, you finally grab the have a general idea of what you are trying
"How to Assemble Manual" and look for to accomplish. But, it would be easier if
instructions. you had a simple and practical "how-to
It seems, however, many "how-to" manual" beside you.
manuals are written in technical lan- This book is designed to be a coun-
guage only an engineer could understand. selor's manual-a resource guide that can
Plodding ahead, you read the "easy-to- help make your job easier. If you are al-
follow steps and procedures," studying ready a counselor, this book will help you
the figures and diagrams and hoping you identify ways in which you can improve
have all the parts and tools. The adven- your skills and be even more effective
ture continues until eventually you have a than you already are. If you are a student
finished product. or a beginning counselor, it will give you
Counseling can be a little like that. confidence and start you in a productive
First, there are some general theories that direction. It may help you avoid some un-
describe how we might go about the pro- expected pitfalls. Or, if you are a teacher,
cess of helping people. However, theories, administrator, school psychologist, social
at times, seem to be only fully understood worker, or someone in education who is
by a few professors and human engineers. interested in knowing more about school
After attempting to apply some counsel- counseling and guidance, then this book
ing theories in the schools, you too may will help you gain a picture of how coun-
begin looking for some simple diagrams selors and others can work together to
and illustrations. You may want more help students to learn more about them-
specific steps or procedures. selves and others and to create a better
learning environment. Even though this
book is written from the point of view of
a school counselor, it can provide a frame-
work and reference for counselors in other
settings who want to know more about
the developmental approach.

Educational Media Corporation® ix

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Developmental guidance and counsel- onstrations, and feedback they have both
ing programs can make a positive differ- confirmed and sharpened the focus of this
ence with students. It is a realistic ap- book. They have inspired me to share and
proach to helping all students at all grade explore my ideas and together we have
levels. In addition, the management of discovered those that stand the test of
guidance programs, counselor interven- time.
tions, and counselor skills is a worthy My graduate students and their host
topic for both experienced and inexperi- counselors in the schools of Alachua
enced educators. The times are changing County, Florida, played a significant role
and so are school guidance programs and in the development and refinement of
the roles of counselors. Consequently, the concepts and suggestions presented
there is a need for a "how-to manual" in here. Their work helped pioneer practical
developmental guidance and counseling guidance procedures and counseling para-
which describes systematic and practical digms. Each student's observations and re-
procedures. Developmental Guidance and search project, in its own way, confirmed
Counseling: A Practical Approach attempts many of the approaches recommended in
to meet that need. this book.
The book is based on many of the As I set about to revise the book and
professional dialogues and experiences bring it up to date, I was reassured by
I have had over the years. Fortunately, I counselors and professional colleagues it
have known many outstanding school was relevant and timely and many of the
counselors, teachers, and administrators original ideas have stood the test of time.
who have contributed to my work. It is Therefore, I am pleased to share the best
impossible to acknowledge all of them of the old and new.
here, including those who have worked
closely with me on research and staff Don and Earl Sorenson deserve a lot
development projects. In addition, there of credit for their consistent support and
have been many people who have attend- production expertise. My wife, Linda,
ed my workshops and classes, who have continues to be a reliable source of per-
stimulated my thinking, clarified ideas, sonal and professional encouragement.
provided me with examples, and-most She also provided thoughtful insights
important-tested theories and concepts and critiques, as we talked and worked
by putting them into practice. It has been together on projects related to Develop-
a rewarding search and adventure for mental Guidance and Counseling: A Practical
many of us. Approach.

In particular, I wish to acknowledge

the support of my colleagues in counselor RDM
education, University of Florida, Gaines-
ville, Florida. There are too many state
consultants, directors of guidance, school
administrators, teachers, and school
counselors who have been of assistance
to list here. They have attended my staff
development workshops over the years
and through our open discussions, dem-

x Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

The Emergence of
Developmental Guidance
and Counseling
What do you remember about the The National Center for Education
days when you went to school? You may Statistics (NCES) released "Projections of
remember times when you had lots of fun Education Statistics to 2018." This report
and perhaps you occasionally reminisce (Hussar & Bailey, 2009) predicted enroll-
about some "glory days." But do you also ment and expenditure increases in educa-
recall the personal concerns and conflicts tion over the coming years.
you and your classmates experienced as Public school enrollment is expected
part of growing up? Do any of the follow- to increase by nine percent between the
ing sound familiar? years 2006 and 2018, from 55.3 million to
"I wish I had more friends." 59.8 million students. This increase will
"My grades aren't what they should occur mostly in the south and west areas
be." of the nation, with some decreases in the
northeast. The greatest enrollment in-
"My parents don't trust me. creases are expected to occur in the PK-8
'Tm not sure what I want to do after grades.
graduation. To these figures, another 6. 7 million
"I need someone who will listen to private school students (2009) must be
me, not yell at me." added. NCES also predicts total expendi-
"Sometimes my friends get me to do tures for K-12 education will increase 36
things I don't want to do. percent between 2006 and 2019 to $626
billion, while per pupil expenditures are
"School is so boring."
expected to increase 24 percent.
"I like somebody very special, but.. ..
While these figures stagger the mind,
"My parents are always nagging me." one major implication is the nation
"Nobody understands me. 11
will need more teachers and counselors.
As you look back, you might be School personnel make up the largest part
amused by some of your past worries and of a school budget. Things are going to
difficult situations. You worked your way cost more.
through them and might now have a dif- Traditional education funding sources,
ferent perspective. But, at the time, they such as property taxes, are less stable and
were serious encounters and it seemed reliable in the economic downturns. All
your very survival hinged on them. states, especially those with growing popu-
lations, are feeling the pressure of finding
new and more sustainable ways to fund
education. At risk are school programs and
the number of school personnel.

Educational Media Corporation® 1

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Enrollment at public and private Statistically speaking, a student who

post-secondary institutions also is ex- is African American, Hispanic, or Na-
pected to increase from the current 18.2 tive American is less likely to succeed in
million to 20.6 million undergraduates school. A major factor is a disparity of re-
by 2018. With the cost of higher educa- sources-the richest school districts spend
tion continuing to rise despite economic more per student than do the poorest;
downturns, many students are going to schools with large numbers of poor chil-
community colleges for their postsecond- dren tend to have fewer books and sup-
ary training. Students who otherwise may plies and teachers with less training and
have pursued a university degree are able experience. The number of poor children
to attend community colleges at much in the U.S. has grown to 13.3 million and
less cost. Many community colleges are approximately 5.8 million of those live in
working closely with school districts to extreme poverty. Nearly 9 million chil-
enable high school students to take their dren lack health coverage (Mead, 2009).
courses and, perhaps, to graduate early. Gaps persist in academic performance
Schools are changing in terms of among different racial/ethnic and socio-
ethnicity. Between 1972 and 2007, the economic groups. These gaps exist when
percentage of public school students who children enter kindergarten and show few
were white decreased from 78 to 56 per- signs of closing by the end of first grade or
cent, which largely reflected the growth in at higher grade levels. The parents of at-
the number of students who were Hispanic, risk children are less likely to engage them
particularly in the West. Also, more black in early literacy activities or to enroll
and Hispanic students are attending college them in a preschool program. A grow-
than ever before. Between 2000 and 2007, ing and increasingly diverse population
the percentage of college students who of elementary and secondary students
were black rose from 11.3 to 13.1 percent, increases the challenge of providing high-
while the percentage of Hispanic students quality instruction and equal educational
rose from 9.5 to 11.4 percent. opportunities.
It is interesting to note women now In general, the dropout rates for
comprise the majority of college students. whites, blacks, and Hispanics declined be-
They are entering professional disciplines tween 1980 and 2009. However, changes
that were once dominated almost ex- in these rates differed by race/ethnicity.
clusively by men. The advancement of For each year during that period, the rate
women in our society is a testimony of was lower for whites and blacks than
what can happen when a person's person- for Hispanics. The rate for Asian/Pacific
al potential is emphasized and realized. Islanders also was lower than those for
Changes in the racial/ethnic/gender Hispanics and blacks.
composition of student enrollments can Regardless of age, race, or ethnic
alter the diversity of languages and cul- background, all students have special
tures in the nation's schools. Although va- needs, problems, and interests that affect
riety in student backgrounds can enhance the ways they learn. While some issues
the learning environment, it also can and concerns are a sign of the times-
create or increase challenges for teachers unique to a new generation and a new
and counselors. Knowledge of the shifting society-there are many familiar ones that
racial/ethnic distribution of students in are associated with the developmental
grades K-12 can be helpful in planning for stages of life.
change and creating responsive guidance

2 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 The Emergence of Developmental Guidance and Counseling

We know some students, more than This book is an attempt to advance

others, are disruptive of the learning these programs by recommending a basic
process in the schools. In addition, the working model for school counselors that
intensity of an experience or the signifi- is relevant to public and private schools
cance of a particular problem is relative (K-12). It embraces the American School
from one person to another. For example, Counselor Association's National Model.
adults may dismiss a broken relationship Yet, many of the concepts presented can
between a young boy qnd girl as only a be applied in other settings beyond the
matter of puppy-love and of no real con- schools.
sequence, especially compared to other
problems. However, some teenage suicides
testify otherwise. Young people who are
severely depressed and feeling at a loss
can do irrational things.
To help young people cope with the
issues of growing up, organized guidance
and counseling programs have become an
integral part of the educational process in
the nation's schools. These programs are
designed to enhance personal, social, aca-
demic, and career growth. A primary goal
is to help students learn more effectively
and efficiently and to help make school
life more satisfying and rewarding.
Comprehensive developmental
guidance and counseling programs were
relatively slow to make their appearance
in the schools. Developmental guidance
attempts to meet the needs of all students,
addressing the typical concerns, ques-
tions, and choices facing young people.
Students learn about interpersonal skills
and relationships. They learn how to take
an active part in school, to set goals, to
develop study skills, to make responsible
decisions, and to solve problems.
To be systematic and effective, a com-
prehensive developmental guidance and
counseling program requires the under-
standing and cooperative efforts of coun-
selors, teachers, administrators, parents,
and students. All must know their respec-
tive roles and support one another.

Educational Media Corporation® 3

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Guidance and In addition to describing a program,

guidance has been used, on occasion, to
Counseling Defined describe a helping process. Career guid-
Although most people agree students ance, for example, might be defined as
need guidance and could benefit from a process of assisting an individual to
counseling, few have a clear understand- choose, enter, and progress in an occupa-
ing of the programs and processes that are tion. Guidance also can be described as an
involved. Even the terms "guidance" and instructional process in which a student is
"counseling" can be elusive. Let's take a given information and told how to move
closer look at these concepts. progressively toward a personal goal. For
example, students might receive guidance
Guidance in choosing or registering for academic
The term 11 guidance" has always pre- courses. They might be given suggestions
sented a confusing picture because of its regarding how to apply to a university or
imprecise meaning and usage. It is a term how to interview for a job. Guidance also
in education that has been flip-flopped has been used to identify structured learn-
with the word "counseling" for more than ing activities or group lessons that guide
50 years. or lead students to reach better under-
standings of themselves and others.
Guidance has been considered a
pervasive force within the school curricu- Thus, we have such terms as guidance
lum or instructional process that aims at program, guidance service, guidance activ-
the maximum development of individual ity, guidance lesson, guidance personnel,
potentialities. In this sense, guidance is a guidance counselor, and guidance materi-
general educational philosophy or an ed- als. The matter becomes more confusing
ucator's state of mind in which individual when people interchange the terms "guid-
uniqueness is valued. When it permeates ance" and "counseling."
the school environment, good teaching is
considered good guidance. Counseling
More traditionally, guidance is an Counseling has been typically viewed
"umbrella" term that encompasses a as a process in which someone who has a
constellation of services aimed at personal problem receives personal assistance, usu-
and career development and school ad- ally in private discussions. School coun-
justment. Professional educators, such as selors are not the only ones to use the
teachers or counselors, commonly deliver term. Lawyers, social workers, ministers,
these services, although support person- and teachers claim they "counsel" people.
nel also may be involved. How are their jobs, and what they
Most schools have guidance programs. do, any different from the work done by
They are outlined by a set of objectives a school counselor? And, if teachers and
and related services. There is a formal, or at others in a school can provide counseling,
least implied, curriculum. Some programs, why is a certified specialist needed in the
more than others, are clearly defined and guidance office?
distinct. They are better organized and the
roles of personnel are more explicit. Ser-
vices are more systematic and accountable.
Guidance, when used to describe an over-
all school program, is a term that implies
personal assistance to students, teachers,
parents, and administrators.

4 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 The Emergence of Developmental Guidance and Counseling

The term "counseling" is used to In this case, counseling is both a job

describe a special type of helping process. function and a helping process. It identi-
There is a trust relationship in which the fies the work or service of the counselor
focus is on personal meaning of events and the way in which the counselor helps
and experiences. Rather than rely on the students.
general interpretations of information or When counseling and guidance are
behaviors, counseling focuses more on both used to refer to a helping process,
personal awareness, in~erests, attitudes, there is a tendency to view counseling
and goals. It has a philosophical and theo- as more specific and more personal than
retical base which conceptualizes learn- guidance. However, that depends upon
ing, human behavior, and interpersonal one's perceptions and the meaning the
relationships. A professionally trained and experience has for the person. Intensity
certified counselor considers counseling a and personal meaning often are related
professional endeavor. to readiness and can be a product of the
Let us suppose some high school experiential moment, more than what is
students want to know more about career planned by counselors or teachers.
planning. They might meet with a coun-
selor in the school's guidance office. As Other Helping Processes
a part of guidance, they could be given To further complicate matters, just as
some occupational information or they the terms "guidance" and "counseling"
could be directed to places where more ca- have been used interchangeably, "coun-
reer resources might be found. They could seling" and "psychotherapy" have some-
talk about the characteristics of job fields times been used synonymously. The most
or they might examine how their own common distinction between counseling
goals are related to certain job areas. They and psychotherapy (or therapy) is coun-
could participate in group activities with seling is for students or clients who are
other students who have similar interests. within the normal range of functioning.
They might use the internet and work While the problems in counseling may
together to explore job opportunities. be as serious and complex as those one
If any of these students were frustrat- might find in psychotherapy, counseling
ed and worried about their choices or if dwells more on current situations and re-
they were experiencing excessive anxiety lated feelings and behaviors. There is not
that hindered their decision making, then as much effort to explore hidden mean-
a more personal and intense intervention, ings, deep-rooted sources of conflict, or
such as counseling, might be appropriate. long-standing psychological problems.
The students might still meet in a group; Counseling usually takes place with
but in counseling, the discussion is likely clients in a non-medical or non-correc-
to be more personal and problem-cen- tional setting. Psychotherapy, on the
tered. The counselor might pose questions other hand, tends to happen in medical
and use special procedures that encourage or clinical settings with dysfunctioning
students to explore their feelings and val- clients or patients who have more severe
ues in greater depth, such as helping them or chronic problems. Psychotherapy is
to identify major forces that are influenc- typically more intense, longer in duration,
ing their career plans. and, oftentimes, there are more attempts
to gain insights through detailed explora-
tions of the past. In reality, counseling

Educational Media Corporation® 5

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

and psychotherapy can share many of goals. Because classroom teachers are
the same interpersonal dynamics, helping charged by school boards to "teach" an
skills, process variables, and behavioral academic curriculum, classroom teach-
goals. ing tends to be more subject-oriented and
School counselors may provide guid- product-centered. It often is more instruc-
ance or counseling services to students tional and directive than exploratory and
who also are seeing psychotherapists in facilitative of personal interests and goals.
private practice. The setting, the job title The best teachers try to personalize their
of the helper, theoretical assumptions, teaching and use experiential learning,
and the approach could be different, but but it is not easy to focus on individual
the desired outcomes may be the same. growth and needs. Classroom teaching
typically is aimed at the majority of stu-
Even if school counselors are trained dents and is more judgmental and evalua-
as psychotherapists and are able to use tive than guidance or counseling.
sophisticated therapeutic techniques with
students, the intervention is still called Effective counselors use teaching,
counseling when it takes place in the coaching, directing, tutoring, training,
schools. Behavior or personality changes and instructing to help students. Counsel-
resulting from counseling may go far ors, like teachers and other school person-
beyond school settings, but school coun- nel, are primarily concerned students get
selors are concerned first with helping the most out of school and realize their
students develop their positive attributes potential as responsible and productive
and to be better learners. citizens. For instance, this may involve
teaching a student a skill during some
The general public prefers academic counseling sessions, perhaps something
learning and school adjustment should that might be applied to help resolve a
be the focus of a school counselor's work. problem or reduce anxiety.
Although there are young people who
need therapy, most parents and taxpayers
want school counselors to assist these stu-
Some Working Definitions
dents with problems related to the school For our purposes, the term /1 school
environment. Counselors are encouraged guidance" will refer to a generic set of per-
to refer deeply troubled students to com- sonal development services offered to stu-
munity agencies, such as mental health dents. Counseling is one of those services.
centers or counseling psychologists in These are provided through an organized
private practice. School counselors, often guidance program with specific objectives
limited by both job training and job set- that focus on the academic, personal, so-
ting, must be realistic and practical in the cial, and career development of students.
services they provide. The term /1 guidance" also will be used as a
modifier (adjective) to identify a helping
What about the term "teaching?"
process that focuses on general develop-
Guidance, counseling, and teaching are
mental needs, interests, concerns, and
related educational processes. They help
behaviors of students who are within the
students learn. If there is a difference
normal range of functioning.
guidance and counseling concentrat~
more on personal interests, problems,
meanings, experiences, behaviors, and

6 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 The Emergence of Developmental Guidance and Counseling

The term "counseling" will be used to The Formative Years

identify a personal relationship and inter-
The history of school guidance and
action in which students confidentially
counseling can be traced to several trends
explore their feelings, ideas, and behaviors
and events that happened in the United
with a professionally trained counselor.
States during the latter half of the eigh-
School counseling has an educational base
teenth century. The introduction of more
and is limited in scope and duration. The
humane care of "mentally disturbed"
process may have far r~aching personal ef-
patients and the application of scientific
fects on students, but it is not intended to
methods in studying human behavior
be a form of psychotherapy. Counseling
were especially influential. By the turn of
may be provided to an individual student
the century, there was a greater awareness
or to a group of students.
of how people learned and the influence
Although attempts have been made one's environment had on the develop-
to sharpen the definition of guidance and ment of a person. Noted philosophers and
counseling by differentiating them from educators, such as John Dewey, empha-
other helping processes, the distinctions sized the importance of student involve-
are arbitrary and sometimes difficult to ment in education.
defend in practice. They may not even be
While educators were revising their
concepts about child development and
how students learn best, other develop-
ments were happening in psychology that
would lay the groundwork for counsel-
ing. For instance, Sigmund Freud and
his colleagues, such as Alfred Adler and
Karl Jung, made significant contributions
to the development of modern psychol-
ogy and the need to understand human
When Freud gave a series of lectures
at Clark University in 1923, he intro-
duced several new dimensions to therapy
and general psychology. Among these
were the concepts that childhood experi-
ences are determinants of adult behavior
and authority figures shape personality
development. About the same time, J.B.
Watson was formulating many of the
concepts that would lay the foundation
of behaviorism and social learning theory.
His studies led to a broader understanding
of how human beings learn and behave.

Educational Media Corporation® 7

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

G. Stanley Hall is given credit for making the best use of worker skills and
encouraging the child study movement. aptitudes. It was about this time state
He emphasized each child has unique guidance directors were appointed to de-
characteristics and systematic observation velop and coordinate testing programs.
was necessary to identify and meet the During World War II, as had been the
special needs of children. Subsequently, case in World War I, tests were needed to
additional attention was directed toward screen and place draftees. The use of tests,
dysfunctioning children and how they personality inventories, and psychologi-
coped with their environments. cal counseling received a boost. As these
processes became a routine part of the
The Foundation Begins military, they soon found their place in
While more humanistic approaches high school guidance programs.
to child psychology and education were It was during the 1950s the term
being developed, early pioneers in voca- "mental health" was first used. An afflu-
tional or career guidance were introducing ent and rapidly changing society created
guidance programs in the schools. Frank a need for more psychological services.
Parsons (1909) organized the Vocational Crime and divorce rates were increasing,
Bureau of Boston. Eli Weaver laid voca- traditional values were being challenged,
tional guidance foundations in the New the population was becoming more
York public schools. Jesse B. Davis worked mobile, and urbanization created more
in the schools of Grand Rapids, Michigan, personal stress, as well as opportunities.
and helped form the first professional Mental and correctional institutions were
guidance association, the National Vo- overcrowded and there was a demand for
cational Guidance Association in 1913. more psychological services and trained
These men primarily were concerned with professionals to work outside these in-
matching young people to jobs and pre- stitutions. The American Personnel and
paring them for the world of work. They Guidance Association (APGA), which
have been identified as the founders of later became the American Counseling
school guidance (Aubrey, 1982). Association (ACA), the American School
Providing occupational information, Counselor Association (ASCA), and the
vocational assessment, and job place- American Psychological Association (APA)
ment were considered legitimate guidance were formed during this decade.
functions. School guidance went beyond
teaching students "readin', writin', and The Sputnik Spark
'rithmetic," as schools were seen as places It was the spectacular launching of
to encourage young people to plan for the world's first artificial satellite, Sput-
jobs and participation in society. nik, in 1957 by the U.S.S.R., that sparked
The testing movement of the 1920s the rapid development of school guid-
stressed the measurement of intellectual ance and counseling services. That event
and personality traits. Test results were stunned the nation. It dramatized the
used in schools, industry, and the mili- scientific and technological achievements
tary. When the "Great Depression" hit the of the Soviet Union and marked the start
nation, even more emphasis was placed of the space age. Congress immediately
upon individual assessment and ways of responded by passing a landmark piece of
legislation-the National Defense Educa-
tion Act of 1958. This bill is, perhaps, the

8 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 The Emergence of Developmental Guidance and Counseling

single most important event in the his- Although there were many outstand-
tory of the school counseling profession. ing people who became school counselors
First, it recognized the value of guidance and who were eager to help young people,
and counseling, and more importantly, training and entry requirements enabled
it provided funds for the preparation of thousands of minimally qualified people
school counselors. It gave credibility to to hold school counselor jobs. They did
the idea a specialist in guidance and coun- not know much about the nature of coun-
seling was needed in t.he schools. seling, related job skills and services, nor
Counselor education departments in did they have a clear idea of the role of a
universities and colleges across the nation guidance specialist in the schools.
began to develop graduate programs to Without adequate preparation and
train counselors. During this time, most well-defined guidance programs, many
academic preparation was directed toward school counselors drifted into quasi-
high school counselors. A counselor's administrative positions. They became
job was seen primarily as identifying and schedule changers, test coordinators,
encouraging talented youth to attend col- record keepers, and administrative assis-
lege, particularly those who showed inter- tants. Some were seen as resident substi-
est and aptitude in math and science. tute teachers, clerical aides, or disciplinar-
While the intent was clear and the ians. Many counselors saw the position as
effort a noble one, preparation of school a step toward becoming a building prin-
counselors was inadequate. Nobody was cipal and opted to work in an administra-
sure what counselors should do. In most tive role when given the opportunity.
states, classroom teaching experience Despite a shaky start, school counsel-
was necessary before counselor certifica- ing was emerging as a profession. With
tion could be granted. This requirement the help of leaders in ASCA, state depart-
restricted entry into the profession to ments of education, universities, and
school teachers. In addition, the first school districts, a vision of what school
university programs were limited in scope counseling could be for all students at all
and entrance requirements were minimal. grade levels began to take form (Schmidt,
It was common for teachers to take four 2008).
or five graduate courses and then apply
for state certification as school counselors. The Counselor
The course work, frequently taken dur- in a Changing World
ing the summer, usually consisted of: (1)
counseling theories; (2) tests and mea- APGA appointed C. Gilbert Wrenn to
surements; (3) occupational information; chair The Commission on Guidance in
and (4) general introduction to guidance the American Schools. This commission
services. Only a few graduate school pro- studied the role and function of school
grams required a supervised field or practi- counselors, as well as their preparation,
cum experience. and made strong recommendations that
resulted in a significant report written
by Wrenn in 1962. It was entitled The
Counselor in a Changing World. This work
solidified the goals of the school counsel-
ing profession.

Educational Media Corporation® 9

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

The report recommended counsel- Thus, as characterized by Mitchell and

ors should provide individual and group Gysbers (1980), the first years of school
counseling to students, as well as consul- guidance might be viewed as a time when
tation to parents and teachers. There was occupational selection and placement
considerable emphasis upon counselors was emphasized (1900-1920), followed by
being informed about student develop- school adjustment (1930-1960), and then
mental needs. While the traditional work personal development (1960 to 1990).
of psychological appraisal and assistance The theme of the 1990s seemed to be
in making educational-vocational plans academic testing, assessment, placement,
was advocated, counselors were encour- and adjustment.
aged to take an active part in curriculum New themes continue to emerge that
development. transcend traditional approaches. For
It was evident the commission en- instance, counselors are currently focus-
visioned the counselor as providing ing more on academics and test perfor-
services to maximize student potential mance, learning readiness, and personal
by emphasizing personal growth, self- adjustment. The focus of developmental
determination, and responsibility. Even school counselors has not changed and
though Wrenn later said it was probably continues to be about helping students
too conservative, the report provided a develop personally-to get the most out
needed and valuable reference for coun- of school by learning more effectively and
selor educators and school leaders. efficiently.
The federal government continued Many of the nation's problems can
to influence the development of school be addressed through prevention and
guidance and counseling during the 1960s early intervention. The demands of our
through legislative acts and funds. For multi-cultural society and the need for an
example, the 1965 extension of the NDEA educated and caring citizenship will affect
Act provided the impetus for the growth the direction of educators, as they seek to
and development of elementary school prevent the loss of human potential and
counseling. It provided funds for the provide for the total development of our
training of elementary school counselors nation's youth. There will be an increased
through special institutes and graduate focus on learning and achievement. The
stipends. Later, the Elementary and Sec- goal of educating responsible and produc-
ondary Education Act of 1965 (Titles I and tive citizens who have a global conscious-
III) provided more support for elementary ness will be emphasized. It is the age of
school guidance. The federal government the developmental school counselor.
also continued its influence through such
programs as the Manpower Develop-
ment and Training Act, Job Corps, Youth
Opportunity Centers, and Employment

10 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 The Emergence of Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Four Approaches to Guid- Counselors, by nature of their train-

ing and job assignments, are likely to be
ance and Counseling involved when students lose self-control
Four general approaches to guidance and need quick attention. Counselors
and counseling can be identified. These sometimes act as mediators. At other
are: (1) Crisis; (2) Remedial; (3) Preven- times, they help negotiate or assist people
tive; and (4) Developmental. It sometimes to talk with one another. Frequently,
may appear these four approaches overlap counselors listen and talk calmly with
one another and it is certainly possible people in crisis, helping them find a rea-
to incorporate all of them into a develop- sonable and responsible next step.
mental approach. However, each ap- Sometimes a crisis can be avoided and
proach has a salient theme that influences at other times it cannot. For instance,
program direction, the type of services a counselor or teacher might suspect a
provided to students, and how profes- student is under a lot of stress and pres-
sional personnel spend their time. sure, but the moment of crisis cannot be
predicted. It might appear a student is
The Crisis Approach behaving in a responsible way, given a
Everyone has problems. The crisis ap- difficult situation. Then, suddenly, there
proach to counseling and guidance is to is an unpredictable change of events that
wait and react to critical situations. When results in an outburst and the counselor
people reach a point where their welfare, reacts with some kind of a crisis interven-
or the welfare of others, is threatened or tion.
when a decisive action must be taken, a Not all problems are of a crisis na-
counselor could provide a crisis interven- ture, but they may have that potential if
tion. ignored or allowed to build up unneces-
Crisis interventions are an inevi- sarily. For example, a boy may be the butt
table part of a school counselor's work. of jokes by his classmates. As the jokes
A teacher and student, for example, may continue, the conflict might increase
exchange angry words. Suddenly, there is and a verbal exchange could erupt into
an awkward and uncomfortable confron- a physical fight. The crisis, in this case,
tation that needs attention. Or, maybe had a history. There may have been some
a boy reports to school and unexpect- critical moments that preceded the crisis,
edly bursts into tears, as thoughts of his which were less intense and where a pre-
parents' pending divorce sadden him. A ventive measure might have taken place,
crisis moment has occurred and a coun- but it was the fight that abruptly brought
selor may help. A girl may refuse to attend the problem to everyone's attention and
a class because a classmate is threatening called for a strong and immediate re-
her. A student may be caught with illegal sponse. Unfortunately, too many people
drugs. In each of these cases, a turning wait until a crisis is at hand before recog-
point is at hand and the crisis might re- nizing the seriousness of a situation and
ceive attention by a counselor. asking for assistance.

Educational Media Corporation® 11

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Personal and social problems fre- The number of students who are
quently spill over into the classroom. having conflicts in school is increasing.
Teachers do what they can. If some an- Yet, the sources of the conflicts gener-
noying problems persist, then students ally remain the same. They are found in
are sent to guidance specialists, such as the personal relationships that happen
school counselors, for "counseling." The at home and in school. While counselors
expectation is a counselor will do some- complain they do not have time to see all
thing to make matters better, if not for the students who need their help, there is
the students, at least for the teachers. always time to react to a crisis.
From the beginning, when counselors The pressure to "hurry up and fix it" is
were first employed, they were in the "fix- a primary cause of burnout among coun-
it-up business." If students were squab- selors. One crisis seems to lead to another
bling over something, a counselor was and the same students keep showing up
supposed to "patch things up." If students for more counseling as they continue to
had poor attitudes about school, a coun- get into trouble.
selor was to "set them straight" or "put On occasion, if it forces some needed
them back on course." It was as though changes, a crisis can be helpful. A critical
the counselor had some magic solution or situation might produce enough personal
inspiring speech that would make stu- discomfort to make a person take some
dents more cooperative. positive action or try something new. It
The crisis approach to guidance and might be the precipitating event that en-
counseling is an inevitable part of every courages a person to seek out a counselor,
school environment, but it fails to address a therapist, or someone who can provide
the real issues. It forces teachers and coun- timely assistance.
selors to attend to the immediacy of an But, the crisis approach is too expen-
incident. The circumstances for working sive, inefficient, and time consuming to
out solutions are usually not the best, as be the only one used in a guidance pro-
the persons involved are frequently tense, gram. In addition, there are not enough
emotional, and defensive. In far too many helpers available to attend to all the criti-
schools, the operational mode is to wait cal issues and problems that occur. Con-
and react to crises. sequently, many problems that are on the
It appears to be human nature to verge of becoming crises often are ignored
put things off. Sometimes problems are or quickly dismissed in the hope things
postponed until they become explosive will get better in time. Counselor time is
and difficult to manage. For instance, a premium time and it can be consumed
teacher may notice a boy is unhappy with quickly by responding to crisis after crisis.
school and sulks when his work is criti-
cized. But, nothing is done. The problem
is ignored. Then, one day he loses control
and stomps out of class after insulting a
classmate. The boy is suspended for his
behavior and told to see the counselor
before returning to class.

12 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 The Emergence of Developmental Guidance and Counseling

The Remedial Approach The preventive approach tries to

The remedial approach focuses on anticipate problems and then stop them
from happening. However, think of all the
identifiable deficiencies. A remedy is sug-
things society is trying to prevent young
gested or applied in the hope a student
people from experiencing.
will be able to make normal progress and
avoid a crisis situation. • Sexual promiscuity
Some students do not, for different • Unwanted pregnancies
reasons, learn various basic skills as they • Drug abuse
pass through the grade levels. They may • Excessive absenteeism
miss important developmental experi-
ences or tasks. These students can benefit • Poor study habits
from a learning or relearning approach • Juvenile delinquency
that helps them make up their academic • Smoking
or social deficits. Through student assess-
ments, and then focused counseling and • Overeating
guidance interventions, they can catch • Laziness
up before their lack of preparation creates • Indifferent voting
• Reckless driving
A troubled student might not relate
• Abuse of property rights
well to classmates and teachers. Perhaps
social courtesies were missed along the • Unemployment
way or effective interpersonal skills were And, that is not all. The list seems
absent in parenting. The student might endless. The problem with this approach
participate in counselor-led group activi- is we must know and identify what we
ties where interpersonal skills could be want to prevent. Teaching or counseling
discussed and practiced. As the student strategies are then developed for each
makes up social deficits, relationships one.
with teachers and other students would If we want to prevent children from
improve. catching polio, then we administer a
polio vaccine. Or, if we want to prevent
The Preventive Approach students from writing a disorganized let-
Another approach to guidance and ter, then we teach them about grammar,
counseling is about preventing problems. punctuation, and paragraphing. If we
For instance, instead of waiting until a want to keep them from being disruptive
young couple become pregnant, wouldn't in a classroom, then we teach them ap-
it be better if they knew something about propriate classroom behaviors. If we want
birth control, so an unwanted pregnancy to prevent teacher-student conflicts, then
could be prevented? Instead of waiting we teach them how to cope with teachers'
until a boy physically strikes a teacher, needs and styles. A potential problem is
wouldn't it be better to teach the boy identified and a prevention plan is de-
some communication skills, so differences signed.
could be discussed instead of acted out?

Educational Media Corporation® 13

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

While the term "prevention" attempts Skill building in the developmental

to capture the spirit of education and the approach is related directly to develop-
goodness of helping, it is too limited. It mental stages, tasks, and learning condi-
requires drafting a list of things to pre- tions. Sometimes it may appear there is
vent or to be avoided, which is likely to less personal energy or student involve-
become long and confusing. The list can ment because hypothetical situations are
change, depending upon who is setting frequently used to explore ideas, feelings,
the priorities or drafting the list. Another and behaviors. It may appear to be too
problem is it concentrates on what we do indirect to arouse student interest. But,
not want, instead of what we want. By skilled teachers and counselors prefer to
nature of its perspective, it is a negative motivate students in the developmental
way of looking at things and it sometimes approach, instead of relying on the excite-
forces us to think about obedience more ment and fragmented energy of a crisis
than achievement. situation.
When the developmental approach is
The Developmental Approach used, it incorporates the preventive, reme-
The developmental approach is an dial, and crisis approaches. The develop-
attempt to identify certain skills and mental approach looks at teaching, coach-
experiences students need to have as part ing, tutoring, instructing, informing, and
of their going to school and being suc- counseling as part of the helping process.
cessful. Learning behaviors and tasks are It is a flexible approach that draws upon
identified and clarified for students. Then, whatever is appropriate to meet student
a guidance curriculum is planned which needs and interests.
complements the academic curriculum. The developmental approach to guid-
In addition, life skills are identified and ance emphasizes the importance of the
these are emphasized as part of preparing learning environment. It also recognizes
students for adulthood. students and teachers, as well as other
In the developmental approach, stu- personnel in a school building, work in
dents have an opportunity to learn more concert to form the learning climate.
about themselves and others in advance Therefore, interpersonal relationships are
of problem moments in their lives. They an essential part of this approach and
learn interpersonal skills before they have everyone in the school is considered a fa-
an interpersonal crisis. If a crisis situa- cilitator of personal, social, and academic
tion does happen, they can draw upon growth.
their skills to work themselves out of the The four general approaches to school
problem. guidance and the work of school counsel-
Students are usually more open to ors probably can be found to some extent
learning when they are not defensive. in all schools. However, history suggests
As students learn how to be positive and one approach or another has dominated
interact effectively with others through different grade levels and, subsequently,
developmental guidance, they take a more determined the current status of guidance
active part in learning. They help create and counseling in our nation's schools.
positive school environments.

14 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 The Emergence of Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Guidance and Counseling For example, there has been an in-

crease in the use of convenience foods
in a Changing World and eating habits have changed. The fam-
Born out of the desire to help stu- ily dinner, once a rallying point for family
dents with vocational information and members, is not a nightly scene as much
planning, school guidance first found its as it once was, as more people are eating
place in the nation's high schools. Voca- out in restaurants or sitting in front of
tional guidance was an observable need their television sets.
of adolescents, one that was especially Family life has changed in many ways.
acute during the war years and the times There are more working parents, which
of depression. It is still a viable concept has meant more children are spending
that deserves a special place in a guidance their after-school hours alone and un-
program. supervised. Although there is a concern
As the years passed and society about elementary school children, people
changed, the needs of adolescents also are forgetting about young adolescents
changed. Young people are now confront- (12 to 15 years of age). Many of them
ed by a host of opportunities, decisions, drift aimlessly. At a stage in their lives
and conflicts past generations never knew. when they are full of energy and need-
While many problems apparently remain ing to further develop the skills learned
the same from one decade to another in school, they often lack a safe place to
(e.g., conflicts with teachers, parents, and go-somewhere besides shopping malls or
peers), contemporary youth are growing the internet-to meet their friends and to
up in a different world, a different society, interact with adults.
and one in which there is a need for dif- About three out of ten high school
ferent helpers. students are shoplifters and many teenag-
ers hang out in shopping malls with no
A Fast Changing Society money and nothing to do. A study by
Within the past several years, we the California Department of Education
have witnessed the appearance of digital showed three-fourths of the high school
electronics. Video arcades and stores, CD students surveyed admitted to cheating
records, wireless and smart telephones, on tests. The students said most of their
and lap top computers are common and classmates accept cheating as a general
taken for granted. The internet has be- practice. In a similar vein, 88 percent of
come a social phenomenon, featuring in- the nation's ninth graders reported lying
terpersonal connections such as Facebook, to their parents one or more times during
MySpace, and Twitter. Life styles have been a year.
influenced by physical fitness centers and The "Ozzie and Harriet" model of
athletic gear stores. Popular songs, mov- 1950s fame featured a working husband
ies, clothes, and celebrities have changed. and a wife who stayed home with the
But, only when we take a closer look do children, which was once the dominant
we see significant changes that have af- pattern of family life in the nation. It was
fected families and children. the family picture around which schools
typically built their organizational pro-
cedures. It was the general image school
personnel often carried in their minds as
they thought of their students and made
plans for parental involvement.

Educational Media Corporation® 15

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Twenty years later, a television sit- the working mothers have full-time jobs
com called The Brady Bunch featured two (Child Health, 2009). This implies there
families and siblings becoming one fam- are a lot of unsupervised young people
ily. This TV icon also was a reflection of drifting about after school when parents
the times (1970s) in which there was an are not a home.
increase in the number of divorces and The number of American children
remarriages. In a blended family, or step living below the poverty line fell to 11.6
family, one or both partners have been million in the year 2000, the lowest in
married before. One or both has lost a 20 years, according to the U.S. Bureau
spouse through divorce or death and may of Census (2000). By 2008, that number
have children from the previous mar- increased to 13.3 million, with 5.8 million
riages. children living in extreme poverty. Nearly
The number of blended families 9 million children lack health coverage
continues to increase. About 50 percent (Mead, 2009).
of marriages are ending in divorce and Ironically, the proportion of poor chil-
75 percent of the people involved will re- dren who live in families where someone
marry. This suggests that by the 2010 cen- worked throughout the year increased.
sus, there will be more step families than Among poor families with children, the
original families. One out of three Ameri- likelihood of being headed by a full-time
cans is a member of a step family and the year-round worker is at the highest point
number is expected to rise in the future on record in the three decades for which
(Sarin & Lee, 2010). Step family members figures exist. Despite working harder,
experience losses and face complicated many low-income parents remained poor.
adjustments to new family situations.
The effects of poverty on children's
According to Kathryn Tillman (2008), education are well documented. Children
a professor at Florida State University from poor families have lower than aver-
who examined data from thousands of age achievement and higher than average
subjects, adolescents from blended fami- dropout rates. These children may not
lies tend to have lower grades and more come to school ready to learn and, there-
school-related behavior problems. Such fore, may need additional services. In the
a home life is apparently harder for boys most disturbing negative trend for poor
than for girls. Their GPAs are a quarter of black children, their rates of residential
a letter grade lower than their counter- mobility increased 14-fold from 1985
parts living with full siblings. But, both through 2007 (Mead, 2009). The learn-
boys and girls in blended families have ing environment for these children lacks
more difficulty paying attention, finishing stability and continuity.
their homework, and getting along well
with teachers and students. Counselors Although often viewed as an urban
can help children talk about their new problem, poverty now pervades every
families and how it affects their attitudes region of the country and the rate has
and work at school. been rising in almost every state. Poverty
is more pronounced in large cities, where
Women have traditionally been the one out of four children is poor and, in
child care-takers. In 2007, more than 71 some cities, one-half to two-thirds of chil-
percent of American women with chil- dren in minority groups are poor. Many
dren under 18 worked outside the home, families cannot afford quality childcare.
including 60 percent of mothers with
children under 3. While there is a prefer-
ence for part-time work, three-quarters of

16 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 The Emergence of Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Parents in poverty usually lack the Despite the valiant efforts of many
education to help them find work and poor families to provide for their children,
they frequently lack good parenting skills. approximately seven million school-age
They often take their frustrations out on children are left alone after school with-
their children. During 2007, an estimated out supervision. Lack of adult supervision
794,000 children were determined to often leads to other problems. There are
be victims of abuse or neglect, yet only more opportunities to become involved in
25% received any treatment. Most child risky behaviors.
welfare referrals involve alcohol and sub- The results of a study on risky behav-
stance abuse. ior among U.S. teenagers in the 1990s,
It can be difficult to talk about sexual released by the Center for Disease Control
abuse and even more difficult to acknowl- and Prevention (2002), had some good
edge that sexual abuse of children of all news for parents. Sexual promiscuity, and
ages, including infants, happens in our especially unprotected intercourse, the use
nation every day. Statistics indicate girls of weapons, and the contemplation of sui-
are more frequently the victims of sexual cide are not as commonplace with teens
abuse, but the number of boys also is as they once were. The CDC attributed
significant. Child sexual abuse is a major the improvements to public education.
concern of many communities and the There were other reports that con-
focus of many legislative and professional tained good news about the crime rate
initiatives. An expanding body of litera- of youth. After peaking in 1994, juve-
ture about sexual abuse, public declara- nile violent crime arrests were reduced.
tions by adult survivors, and an increased The number of juvenile arrests declined
in media coverage reflects this worry. in every violent crime category despite
More children suffer abuse and ne- an eight percent growth in the juvenile
glect than is ever reported to child protec- population from 1993 to 1999 (Snyder,
tive services agencies. Child sexual abuse 2000). Yet, despite drops in juvenile crime
has been reported up to 80,000 times a rates, the arrest rate for girls increased.
year, but the number of unreported in- In the past decade, teenagers reported
stances is far greater, because the children smoking more and doing more drugs than
are afraid to tell anyone what has hap- their counterparts in 1999. One-third of
pened and the legal procedure for validat- the students reported having had at least
ing an episode is difficult. One-third of all one drink of alcohol in the month be-
sexual assaults reported involved a child fore the national survey. Marijuana had
under age 12. Of the perpetrators, 36 per- reportedly been tried by 27 percent of
cent were strangers and 45 percent were the students and cocaine by four percent.
friends or relatives (State of America's Approximately one-third of all crimes are
Children, 2008). attributed to children under the age of 18
Yet, it would be a mistake for anyone and many crimes are drug related.
to think poor parents inevitably abuse
their children. Given limited family
resources, some children are held in high
esteem and receive special attention from
family members. Some families sacrifice a
great deal in order to help their children
to learn. The parents' hopes for rewarding
and satisfying lives are achieved through
their children's accomplishments.

Educational Media Corporation® 17

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Violence has become part of many Ideally, schools should be havens

children's lives. It begins early in life for where students and teachers can engage
some. Exposure to violence in media, in activities related to learning-free of
including television, movies, music, and concern about personal safety. In reality,
video games, can be a risk to the health of today's schools are touched by the vio-
children and adolescents. In addition to lence that is widespread in society.
direct physical harm suffered by victims The number of guns and other weap-
of serious violence, the impact on their ons that are brought to school has in-
mental health and development may in- creased steadily over the years. In some
crease the likelihood they themselves will communities, young people band to-
commit acts of serious violence. gether in gangs, sometimes as a means of
For example, in the U.S., an average protecting themselves, but primarily for
of 20-25 violent acts are shown in chil- support and a sense of belonging.
dren's television programs each hour. A Street gangs were once considered
significant association was found between loosely organized thugs, engaged in petty
the amount of time spent watching thefts and drugs on only a local level.
television during adolescence, with its Today's gangs are very different. A sophis-
exposure to violence, and the likelihood ticated gang operation can claim thou-
of subsequent antisocial behavior, such as sands of members, crossing state lines to
threatening aggression, assault, or physi- establish syndicates in dozens of states.
cal fights resulting in injury and robbery These criminal organizations engage in
(Browne & Hamilton-Giachritsis, (2005, high-stakes narcotics and weapons traf-
Boyse, (2009). ficking, gambling, smuggling, robbery,
Exposure to violence continues when and other equally serious crimes. Never
children enter school. Students are at- before have gangs been so mobile and
tacked in school each month and fear dangerous and the problem is spreading.
causes as many as one in five second- It has been estimated that approximately
ary students to avoid restrooms. Many one million gang members belonging to
students stay home rather than attend more than 20,000 gangs were criminally
school because they are afraid. During the active within all SO states and the Dis-
2007-08 school year, 85 percent of public trict of Columbia (National Drug Threat
schools reported incidents of violence and Survey, 2008).
this amounted to an estimated 2 million While updated laws and tougher
crimes (Snyder, 2009). penalties are needed by law enforcement
Attending school in an environ- agencies to fight gang violence, education
ment where disturbing events are known and community-based anti-gang pro-
to happen may have an impact upon grams are critical in furthering this effort.
students' sense of security, potentially Teaching children about peaceful conflict
contributing to less effective learning. Ac- resolution, the harmful effects of drugs,
cording to students, incidents of bullying, and methods to develop self-confidence
physical attack, or robbery occurred in are just a few of the ways communities,
schools at all grade levels and a majority schools, and churches are trying to keep
of students witnessed at least one of these youngsters from joining gangs. A sense of
incidents. belonging, being cared about, and being
loved also draws many teenagers into
sexual activity before they are ready for
the responsibility.

18 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 The Emergence of Developmental Guidance and Counseling

About one million teenage girls in the It is a stressful world for students.
United States become pregnant each year. Some have learned to cope with the
Of these, approximately six out of ten most burdensome of situations. Others
result in live births, three in abortion, and are overwhelmed and become depressed,
one in a miscarriage. It is estimated 40 unmotivated, and, perhaps, drop out of
percent of 14-year-old girls will become school. Still others are unable to function
pregnant at least once before they are 20. well in their lives and suffer severe mental
In addition, it is estim.ated teenage preg- health problems. Children often are con-
nancies will cost the nation six billion sidered one of the most neglected groups
dollars in welfare benefits for the next two in mental health.
decades. Children's anxiety is apparently at
Starting early in life, children watch an all-time high. Crime, fear of AIDS,
television shows and movies where they social isolation, and pressure to perform
learn about sex and sex appeal. Sex is in school, among other factors, might
mass-marketed. TV shows and advertise- underlie the high levels of anxiety among
ments, movies, and music are not the today's young people. An analysis based
only influences-the internet provides on two studies that looked at more than
teens with seemingly unlimited access to 60,000 children and college students
information on sex, as well as a steady over four decades showed both groups
supply of people willing to talk about sex experienced increasing levels of anxiety
with them. Teens may feel safe because from the 1950s to the 1990s. Surprisingly,
they can remain anonymous while look- children who were viewed as "healthy"
ing for information on sex. Sexual preda- by 1980 standards reported more anxiety
tors know this and manipulate young than child psychiatric patients reported
people into online relationships and, thirty years earlier (Twenge, 2000).
later, set up a time and place to meet. Teenage suicide is a growing na-
More than half of U.S. teenagers re- tional concern. In a survey of high school
port having sexual intercourse by age 17 students, the National Youth Violence
and some 2.5 million teens contact a sex- Prevention Resource Center (2005) found
ually transmitted disease each year. Hun- almost 1 in 5 teens had thought about
dreds of adolescents have been diagnosed suicide, about 1 in 6 teens had made
with AIDS. Thousands more are infected plans for suicide, and more than 1 in 12
with the human immunodeficiency virus teens had attempted suicide. Females were
and, given the incubation period of 10 much more likely to contemplate suicide
or more years, they will develop AIDS in than males. As many as 8 out of 10 teens
their 20s. Because these are matters of life who commit suicide try to ask for help
and death, AIDS and HIV infection have in some way before committing suicide,
prompted educators and communities to such as by seeing a doctor shortly before
look at politically sensitive issues (e.g., the suicide attempt.
adolescent sexuality, homosexuality). Several factors increase the risk a teen-
ager will attempt suicide:
• Depression or feelings of loneliness or
• Alcohol or drug addiction.
• A family history of abuse, suicide, or

Educational Media Corporation® 19

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

• Half of teens who commit suicide had Yet, the dropout rate of high school
attempted suicide previously. students also is higher than what might
• A recent loss such as a death, break- be expected for a nation that is moving
up, or parents' divorce. from an age of industry to one of high
technology. In the next decade, 80 per-
• Stress over school, relationships, or cent of the nation's jobs will require a
performance expectations. high school education, as more emphasis
• Fear of ridicule for getting help for is given to automation and electronics.
problems. Approximately 7,000 high school
• Being bullied or being a bully. students drop out every school day,
• Exposure to teens committing suicide which translates to one in three students.
(e.g., at school or in the media). Students who decide to drop out typi-
cally lack the tools to compete in today's
• Access to firearms or other lethal ob-
society and diminish their chances for
greater success. But such a decision does
• A belief that suicide is noble (some not happen overnight; it comes after years
musical lyrics). of frustration and failure. School seems
• Mental health problems. hopeless. Often, those that drop out have
run out of motivation and have no source
Although it is difficult to obtain accu- of support or encouragement in school or
rate statistics, the data available indicate at home (Balfanz & Legters, 2006).
15 to 19 percent of the nation's children
and youth suffer emotional or other prob- Dropouts make up nearly half the
lems that warrant mental health treat- heads of households on welfare. Dropouts
ment and that prevent them from being also make up nearly half the prison popu-
successful in relationships with others and lation. The prevention of school dropouts
successful in school. is a high priority for counselors in a guid-
ance program. However, on average, only
Each year, about 100,000 young one certified counselor is available for
people are placed in residential psychiat- each 500 students in all schools and one
ric programs, according to the Children's counselor to 285 students in high schools.
Defense Fund (2001). The total number And, they have many assignments that
of children who receive such treatment leave little time to spend with students
is unknown; however, the demand for who are at risk of dropping out (Thacker,
adolescent psychiatric services continues Thacker & Bell (2007).
to increase.
Some commission reports and task
Americans are becoming more edu- forces blame teachers and schools for
cated. Between 1980 and 1994, the pro- a lack of academic excellence. Yet, the
portion of the adult population 25 years nation invariably turns to educators and
of age and over with four years of high the schools for more help with society's
school or more rose from 69 percent to 81 serious social problems. While the public
percent. At the same time, the proportion continues to demand schools expect high
of adults with at least four years of college academic performances from students,
increased from 17 percent to 22 percent it also asks these same students to learn
(Chandler, Nolin, & Davies, 1996). to be responsible citizens who can live
socially productive lives.

20 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 The Emergence of Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Guidance in the High Schools Rogers' theory appealed to many

Before the 1960s, most books about counselors because it placed responsibility
school guidance were directed to teachers on the client. It was the client who ac-
in elementary and secondary schools (e.g., cepted the burden of problem solving and
decision making as the counselor assumed
Arbuckle, 1950; Gordon, 1956). There
the role of an attentive listener. It ap-
were few counseling specialists and most
peared the theory could be implemented
of them were found in the large urban
without extensive training or knowledge
school districts.
of therapy. Consequently, it was possible
The first wave of high school coun- to provide school counselors with a model
selors after Sputnik concentrated most of that could be used with students.
their time on testing programs and college
The door was opened for personal
placement, but it was not long before they
counseling and other theories and meth-
were asked to exceed the vocational needs
odologies. According to Aubrey (1982),
of adolescents and to help young people
an early observer and historian of the
with their personal problems. Many
profession: "The area of school guid-
teachers were at a loss of what to do with
ance became open game for numerous
a new generation of students who were
advocates of counseling, ranging from
growing up in a different world than they
such diverse fields as psychiatry, clini-
had known. Administrators were worried
school discipline was breaking down and cal psychology, psychoanalysis, learning
students needed more help in adjusting to theory, and pastoral counseling. Collec-
school. Parents pleaded for help and the tively, the advocates of these approaches
offered to school counselors a bonanza
schools began to take on more responsi-
of tools and techniques" (p. 199). There
was more acceptance of the idea school
The number of high school counselors counselors could and should be involved
increased because of national security in- with students who were having personal
terests. Beating the Russians in the race to adjustment problems.
the moon and the conquest of outer space
Nevertheless, many counseling ideas
was an exciting adventure that captured
were not welcomed openly in the high
the imagination of politicians, scientists,
schools. Counselors felt inadequately
and educators. However, the race paled
prepared to provide personal counseling
in terms of the everyday problems young
services or to draw upon accepted thera-
people faced at home and in the schools.
peutic techniques. Moreover, the theories
There was a need for more counseling
and techniques seemed out of context.
services in the schools and a need for
Skepticism regarding their efficacy started
counselors to reexamine their roles and
to spread. After a few years of experi-
menting, the large majority of counselors
Carl Rogers' book, On Becoming a concluded the published and popular
Person (1961), and his earlier book, Client- counseling theories and techniques of the
Centered Therapy (1951), helped change time were not applicable to school set-
the role of school counselors forever. First, tings. And they were right.
the personal counseling theory was clear
a_nd the methodology was deceptively
simple, compared to other traditional
counseling theories. It appeared the basic
concepts could be learned easily and
adapted quickly to the work of school

Educational Media Corporation® 21

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

The result, however, was a new image Group counseling, at the time, was
of a helper was created-that of a counsel- synonymous with encounter and therapy.
or, not just a guidance worker who gave Counselors feared they would do more
tests and passed out career information. damage to students than good. Only a few
Unfortunately, only a few counselors were counselors had group counseling training.
willing or able to counsel and work with The horror stories about people "break-
troubled students and this image became ing down" in groups and needing therapy
flawed. Most counselors complained other after experiencing an incompetent group
duties and responsibilities did not allow leader were enough to discourage all
them enough time to provide "counsel- except the most confident and adventure-
ing" to students, even if they had the skill some counselors.
(Wells & Ritter, 1979). Group procedures, for the most part,
By the 1970s, high school counselors were dismissed as inappropriate for high
were receiving public criticism. One coun- schools, although group counseling was
selor, in defense of the profession, said, more efficient, and perhaps more effec-
"We are always ready to help, to listen to tive, than individual counseling. The few
students, to understand, and to sincerely counselors who applied the newest group
care about them." But in light of the stud- skills and methods frequently lacked
ies of the national student-to-counselor support from colleagues, teachers, and
ratios that showed an average of 450 to 1, parents. Groups were considered a less
this seemed like an unrealistic statement. personal approach and a passing fad.
In some metropolitan areas, ratios soared High school counselors were failing to
as high as 1,000 to I. It was difficult, if provide a systematic and carefully orga-
not impossible, for counselors to meet nized response to the problems of ado-
and talk with their assigned counselees on lescents. Many had not won the trust of
an individual basis for much time. Indi- students and too often fell into the trap of
vidual counseling for all students seemed lecturing, clarifying rules and regulations,
almost out of the question. This may be or disciplining students who had prob-
the reality of profession, since those ratios lems. Consequently, many students kept
have not changed for decades and the their distance.
same concerns remain.
The result was first shouted in a ban-
Group procedures were suggested ner headline of The National Observer
to compensate for the high counselor- (Gribbin, 1973), which described high
student ratios. But, group counseling school counselors as "No-Help Helpers."
methods were suspect, especially since Public criticism mounted. Pine (1976)
they were an outgrowth of the flamboy- described it as relentless. Parents saw very
ant and deeply introspective group move- little guidance being offered. They were
ment of the late 1960s and 1970s. The critical of the traditional helping role of
idea of leading an encounter group was a the high school counselor and only 20
frightening thought for many high school percent saw counselors helping their stu-
counselors. The public, too, was skepti- dents with career guidance (Gallup, 1979).
cal. People worried that in "sensitivity Opinions had not changed by 1983 (Gal-
groups" more rebellion would take place lup, 1983). Those same kinds of criticisms
rather than cooperation and more psychic remain in 2010 (Gates, 2010).
trauma would occur than psychological
support. There also was the charge such
groups were a form of brainwashing.

22 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 The Emergence of Developmental Guidance and Counseling

While high school counselors defend- In another study completed ten years
ed themselves on the basis that preparing later, many of the same conclusions were
students for college took much of their reached. First, dropouts listed both school
time, one national study of 1, 100 high problems and personal factors as reasons
schools found college counseling, too, for dropping out:
was inadequate (Tugend, 1984). This early • Didn't like school in general or the
criticism continues to capture headlines school they were attending.
(Gates, 2010). Although colleges were
sending out more information than ever • Were failing, getting poor grades, or
before, it was not reaching students. The couldn't keep up with schoolwork.
study also found a typical high school ju- • Didn't get along with teachers and/or
nior or senior received only 20 minutes of students.
a counselor's time as a basis on which to • Had behavior disorders and were sent
begin the complex process of planning an to administrators for discipline and
education and career. This same study also were suspended or expelled.
found counselors defensive. More than 99
• Didn't feel safe in school.
percent of the counselors rated their col-
lege guidance programs as effective. Yet, • Preferred to find a job and get away
less than 25 percent of the counselors had from the stress of school.
asked their students and parents for any • Trouble managing both school and
type of feedback or evaluation. work.
It was alarming that close to a million • Pregnant or became a parent.
school-aged youths annually were drop- • Involved with drugs and failed to at-
ping out of school. Yet, over 50 percent of tend regularly.
the dropouts had no record of disciplinary
infractions and only 17 percent were fail- Despite leaving high school, many
ing. In more than 40 percent of the cases, dropouts said they expected to continue
the reason for leaving school was because their education someday. Most were
of unfavorable teacher-student relation- interested in a career education school
ships. Some dropouts used terms such as or even college. But rather than remain
"they put you down," or "they give you a in school, many thought schools didn't
hard time" to describe their relationships do very much to try to keep them and
with teachers. There is nothing to indi- their families didn't seem to care (Colby,
cated things have changed. 1995). While it is possible these youth
didn't recognize some offers of help, it is
Convinced there are no adults in the important for youth to realize the adults
school to whom they could turn, it is not in their lives do want them to remain in
surprising 72 percent of the dropouts in school and are willing to do a lot to make
a national survey reported they did not it possible.
consult with any school personnel before
leaving. And, more than 70 percent said A study of almost 1,800 high school
they might have stayed if school had been seniors examined the kinds of problems
different, particularly "if teachers paid students would discuss with their coun-
more attention to students," "if we were selors (Hutchinson & Reagan, 1989).
treated as students, not as inmates," and Results showed few students felt comfort-
"if teachers made it fun to learn" (Wells, able seeking assistance from counselors
1983). on personal problems. They did see them
as resources in terms of administrative

Educational Media Corporation® 23

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

concerns in school. It was recommended and revised some old ones. Accountability
school counselors clearly define their roles studies were planned as district projects.
and avoid being seen as "paper oriented Consequently, four years after adopting
instead of people oriented." a developmental guidance approach, the
We know there are many students school board was more satisfied and the
who believe their counselors were helpful counselor positions were secured. Most
and some may credit their counselors for important, the counselors liked their
having been the single most important new image, felt more positive about their
difference in their getting through school. work, and enjoyed being in more control
But, this has been the exception and it is of their roles and responsibilities.
getting to be more so. Drury (1984) warned school coun-
Where does this leave the coun- selors were an endangered species and
selor? Unfortunately, there is not much claimed, "The tragedy is they have been
evidence high school counselors make a and are still participating in their own de-
positive difference in their work. Account- struction" (p. 234). Counselors have had
ability studies at the high school level are problems in role definition. They create
limited. and poorly manage piecemeal programs
which depend upon the particular inter-
Some high school counselor positions ests of counselors themselves and many
have been eliminated or cuts have been ignore the public relations aspect of their
threatened and, ironically, this is coming jobs. She concluded, "Counselors must
at a time when societal changes are put- stop contributing to their own extinction
ting increased demands on school coun- and take a proactive role in ensuring the
selors and emphasizing a need for their survival and growth of the profession" (p.
services. 239). Some of these concerns have been
A school superintendent and school attempted to be addressed over the years,
board confronted counselors in a Texas but results have been mixed.
school district. They were unhappy with Along the same lines about that time,
the work of the counselors and told them state guidance directors (Peer, 1985) saw
to change their roles and image or their the status of guidance programs eroding
jobs would be eliminated. After some and felt a sense of urgency in challenging
initial anger, disappointment, and feelings counselors and their supporters to give a
of being unappreciated-after all, they greater commitment to change and de-
saw themselves as busy and working long velopment. Almost ten years later, critics
hours-the counselors grouped together claimed high school guidance programs
to examine their job functions, priori- could no longer remain the same as they
ties, and counseling skills. Consultants once were (Hitchner, 1996). Times were
were brought into the district to help different and counselor roles and func-
counselors and district personnel clarify tions are being carefully examined and
roles and the direction in which they evaluated (Marks, 1995).
wanted their programs to move. Counsel-
ors participated in workshops where they
learned some new counseling strategies

24 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 The Emergence of Developmental Guidance and Counseling

The mission of counseling and (2005) (see Appendix A). This model helps
guidance programs had become increas- school counselors design and implement
ingly vague and obscure. Some programs programs that meet the national stan-
focused on special populations of stu- dards and establish school counseling
dents, others on disruptive behavior and as an integral component of a school's
discipline problems, while others have an academic mission.
administrative emphasis (Baker, 2000). However, there is still much work to
Counselors were performing various be done in describing how counselors
non-counseling and guidance tasks such might help students meet those standards.
as scheduling, substitute teaching, hall What are some practical ways in which
monitoring, and record keeping. counselors can manage their schedules,
The constant and overwhelming provide timely interventions, and be ac-
needs posed by a "demand-driven" or cri- countable?
sis-oriented model allowed little time for a A 2009 survey showed high school
counseling staff to address developmental counseling needs to be reformed consid-
issues in students' lives and interfered erably in terms of helping and preparing
with the establishment of a clear mission students for post-secondary opportunities.
that gave focus and coherence to the pro- Results showed rating their counselors
gram. As a consequence, counseling pro- fair or poor for helping them think about
grams are sometimes viewed as expensive different careers. More specifically, the
ancillary services whose activities have responses were:
little direct relevance to the educational
goals of the school. • Helping you decide what school was
right for you: 35% poor, 32% fair.
In response to these concerns, vari-
ous school districts and state departments • Helping you find ways to pay for col-
of education developed frameworks that lege, like financial aid or scholarship
could be used to improve school guidance programs: 33% poor, 26% fair.
and counseling. In Florida, for example, • Helping you think about different
efforts were made to contrast traditional kinds of careers you might want to
guidance and comprehensive student pursue: 29% poor, 33% fair.
development (Florida's School Counsel- • Explaining and helping you with the
ing and Guidance Framework (1995) and application process: 29% poor, 25%
to provide a guide for school administra- poor.
tors (Florida Department of Education,
These statistics do not give high
2002). Student learning and readiness
school counselors much confidence to
for achievement was considered the goal
continue doing what they have been do-
of all comprehensive programs. Student
ing. Its central conclusion is most people
objectives were organized along academic,
who graduated from high school in the
personal, social, and career domains.
past dozen years say their counselors
As part of a national reform move- provided little meaningful advice about
ment in education, the American School college or careers. And many said the best
Counselor Association (2004) described advice they got on the future came from
national standards for students in a major their teachers.
publication. It severed as the foundation
for The ASCA National Model: A Frame-
work for School Counseling Programs

Educational Media Corporation® 25

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

In defensive of some counselors, ASCA One problem that continued to

recommends a student to counselor ratio plague junior high schools is few teach-
of 100:1, but states the national average is ers were specifically prepared for teach-
more like 265:1. Some states have a much ing early adolescents. Many junior high
higher ratio. California, for example, has school teachers were certified as high
a 1000:1 ratio. In Minnesota Arizona
1 school teachers and their preparation
Washington, D.C. and Utah, the rati; is focused primarily on a departmental-
about 700:1. ized curriculum that was subject-matter
Some districts are cutting counselors oriented. Another criticism of junior high
for the 2010-2011 school year. Des Moines schools is they too often are an imitation
Iowa Public Schools are severely cutting of high schools. Thus, they fail to ease the
counselors and there is a strong possibility transition of students from elementary to
high school ratios will be 1,200:1, which high school.
could be the highest in the nation Qohn- Poor transition between elementary
son, Richkind, & Ott, 2010). and middle school has been linked to
In a perfect world, high school coun- dropouts and other problems. For exam-
selors could focus on helping students ple, in Fall River, Massachusetts, a study
enter college or the world of work. How- was conducted that followed academic
ever, that is not the case. Counselors performance of students from the fourth
are busy with other duties. In addition, grade to twelfth grade. It showed for all
responsibility for the guidance program dropouts, attendance began to decline in
cannot rest alone with counselors and the sixth grade and academic difficulties
other specialists. Classroom teachers must experienced during this stage were critical
become more systematically involved in indicators of school success (Fax, 1992).
the demand for guidance and counseling One of the problems is fewer than 16
services. percent of the nation's teachers have been
prepared to work in middle schools. The
Guidance in the Middle Schools vast majority (84%) have been trained
to work in elementary or high school
Junior high schools came into exis- programs (Gursky, 1991). Few had been
tence about the turn of the century when trained in the part they can play in devel-
educators agreed there was a need for an opmental guidance.
intermediate school between elementary
and high school to meet student needs. The challenge of guidance and coun-
Since that time, there have been several seling in the middle schools is centered
organizational schemes, with the highest on the physical, intellectual, emotional,
percentage of school systems adopting the and social development that comes with
6-3-3 plan. This puts grades 7, 8, and 9 in early adolescence. It is the challenge of
the same junior high school. The 6-2-4 helping students form less dependent re-
plan has been the next most popular, lationships, contend with peer pressures,
where grades 7 and 8 attend the junior cope with physical development and
high. To a much lesser extent are the 5-3- sexual maturity, and starting the search
4 and 4-4-4 plans. for "Who am I and what do I want from
life? What is my future?"
Because of the different plans that
have been tried over the years, it has been
difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of
the junior highs. While some are out-
standing, others appear less than satisfac-
tory in meeting the needs of students.

26 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 The Emergence of Developmental Guidance and Counseling

In response to providing a better If you were to visit a junior high

school for students with unique develop- school and then visit a middle school,
mental needs, the middle school move- you probably would be able to identify
ment gathered strength during the 1960s. the differences in guidance programs. Ju-
Although there are different kinds of or- nior high schools tend to have traditional
ganizational schemes, the middle school programs that look like those in the high
is preferably based on the 5-3-4 plan. schools. Career planning and school ad-
This age grouping is ~logical outcome of justment are given highest priority. There
studying the social, physical, mental, and is, primarily, a crisis approach to counsel-
emotional characteristics of children from ing; whereas, middle schools tend to have
kindergarten through grade twelve. a developmental focus.
A combination of other factors-such In addition, junior high guidance
as social change, more rapid maturation programs rely on school counselors to
rates, increased pressure for the ninth provide most of the guidance and coun-
grade to be part of a college-preparatory seling services to students. The guid-
group, and the social activities of older ance program frequently centers around
adolescents-also have contributed to orientation to school, career exploration,
school reform. Currently, the national and crisis-interventions. Large group or
trend is to replace junior high schools classroom guidance activities are almost
with middle schools, although many of absent. Most important, junior high
the curriculum objectives remain the school teachers are rarely involved in the
same. The 6-3-3 plan appears to be on its guidance process, unless it is with trou-
way out. This reorganization of schools bled students.
and the renewed emphasis upon early Middle schools, on the other hand,
adolescence has opened new doors for emphasize teachers are an integral part
developmental guidance and counseling of guidance and sometimes there is no
programs. distinction between a guidance teacher
Middle schools are based on an ac- and a classroom teacher. While a certified
cepted body of knowledge about the and well-prepared counselor is needed,
developmental needs of students in the the core of the guidance program is cen-
age bracket of ten to fourteen. These ages tered in the total curriculum and teaching
are marked by dramatic body changes faculty.
and growth. Puberty and sex-role iden- Most middle schools incorporate or-
tification, changes in self-concept, and ganized guidance periods into the school
the search for personal values are joined schedule. Students are usually assigned or
with the desire for peer approval and au- given the opportunity to choose a teacher
tonomy, unpredictable emotional fluctua- who will be their advisor and referral base.
tions, and the need to be recognized as a Teachers as advisors (see Chapter 3) meet
competent and unique being. Although with all their advisees during regularly
contemporary youth are probably more scheduled homeroom or homebase peri-
sophisticated than in years past, the ods. The homeroom is the foundation for
growth patterns are much the same and a group approach to guidance. In many
the socialization process is just as vital. middle schools, one or more homeroom
It has simply taken time for the middle periods a week are scheduled for group
school concept to be accepted. guidance activities. Students can raise
questions, identify problems, and talk
about their feelings, behaviors, and goals.

Educational Media Corporation® 27

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Some of the issues discussed in home- The most important consideration

room are related to personal matters, such for any guidance program is personnel.
as peer relationships, getting along with The reputation of a school depends more
parents and teachers, and finding out upon the personnel who are employed
more about one's self. Other discussions and their skills than the physical plant
might evolve from school issues, such as or classroom lesson plans. It is somewhat
homework, study skills, time-manage- surprising, therefore, most middle school
ment, and meeting teacher expectations. teachers have not had much preparation
The homeroom group can be divided into in guidance. Instruction in how teacher-
subgroups for special group activities and advisors work with advisees in a home-
learning experiences. room period and the fundamentals of a
For the most part, the homeroom is developmental guidance program often is
not just a place to take care of routine limited.
administrative details and procedures. In-service training of teachers is a
For example, it is not only a place to take prerequisite for a successful guidance pro-
attendance and compile absentee lists for gram. Teachers need to know how to fa-
the office, to make daily announcements, cilitate students in guidance activities and
or to report briefly before going to class. how to apply some brief counseling skills
It is not a study hall or where students with their advisees. It also is important
gather to socialize "before school really teachers understand the role and function
begins." To the contrary, homeroom is a of school counselors and how counselors
core period, no matter the time of day it and teachers can work together to imple-
is scheduled, and it has a developmental ment a total guidance program for all
guidance curriculum. students.
Calling a school a middle school is no During this passage from childhood
guarantee developmental guidance will to adolescence, middle school students
happen. For instance, a survey of junior need to explore a variety of interests and
high/middle schools indicated student connect their classroom learning to its
apathy was a problem and ninth graders practical application in life and work.
in the junior high felt little intellectual Their high levels of activity coupled with
challenge. Most important, the survey re- frequent fatigue due to rapid growth can
ported few counseling programs for ninth frustrate adults. They are searching for
grade students and no group counseling their own unique identity as they begin
activities. Counseling was viewed by the turning more frequently to peers rather
counselors in the survey as a remedial than parents for ideas and affirmation.
activity in which they corrected problems They can be extremely sensitivity to the
instead of a developmental process to comments from others. There is a heavy
help prevent them. reliance on friends to provide comfort,
understanding, and approval. Middle
school is an exciting, yet challenging,
time for students, their parents, teachers,
and counselors.

28 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 The Emergence of Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Guidance in the Elementary school counselors were

Elementary Schools employed in the schools as early as the
1920s. However, they were few in number
Elementary schools are typically or- and only in large urban cities. Their role
ganized into classrooms where one grade was close to that of a social worker and
level teacher is responsible for 25 to 30 was influenced by high school guidance.
students. A few schools may have more The counselor worked with cumulative
than one grade level of students placed in folders, administered tests, analyzed
the same room with a teacher or team of student data, consulted with teachers,
teachers. Other schools may be organized and provided individual counseling to
into grade level teams and teachers work students with adjustment problems. The
together to meet the needs of the students number of elementary school counselor
assigned to them. Within a team, how- positions grew insignificantly through the
ever, each teacher is usually assigned to next three decades.
a few students who receive their special
attention for guidance. Again, events in the 1960s changed
counseling in the elementary schools. De-
Every school has students who have velopmental guidance and counseling was
problems and some are very serious. described in more detail (Blocher, 1974).
Elementary schools are no exception. Guidance activities were organized and
However, it has been recognized for many presented in a more systematic way. Pre-
years developmental guidance is the best vention was highlighted and the learning
approach for elementary school students. climate received particular attention since
Elementary school teachers work with it affected all children (Chase, 197 5).
fewer numbers of students than do ju- One of the most influential writers
nior/middle and high school teachers. In of the time was Don Dinkmeyer, Sr., who
the elementary school, there is more op- was the first to advocate a comprehensive
portunity to observe children's behavior developmental approach to guidance
patterns and to take note of any changes (e.g., Dinkmeyer & Caldwell, 1970). He
that may happen. It is easier to identify was the first editor of Elementary School
students who have special needs and Guidance and Counseling, an ACA (Ameri-
who are not realizing their potential. The can Counseling Association) publication
school environment is more controlled which went to press for the first time in
and the teacher with an understanding 1965. This journal provided a vehicle
of guidance is in a position to intervene through which counselor educators,
when children are most amenable. The teachers, counselors, and others could
elementary school teacher works with communicate their ideas about elemen-
children during some of the most forma- tary guidance. It helped establish the
tive years of their lives. counselor in the elementary schools.
Historically, the teachers in self-con- In the beginning, it was not economi-
tained classrooms have been responsible cally feasible to talk about counselor-stu-
for guidance activities. It has been only dent ratios at the elementary level. To
within the past thirty years guidance spe- have a reasonable ratio in a school would
cialists, such as school counselors, have have required too many counselors to be
been employed to assist them (Holmgren, employed at one time. Therefore, to help
1996). establish the counselor in the elementary

Educational Media Corporation® 29

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

schools, emphasis was placed upon the It was during the 1970s and 1980s
counselor's consultation role and coun- that developmental guidance services
selors were viewed more in terms of their and programs, and the roles of school
ratio to teachers. counselors, were further clarified (Muro
Verne Faust's classic book for elemen- & Dinkmeyer, 1977; Myrick, 1980). There
tary school counselors was entitled The was less concern about "why" counselors
Counselor-Consultant in the Elementary should be employed. More questions were
School. He listed a hierarchy of roles and asked about "how" counselors really func-
consultation with teachers was first. tioned in their jobs and accomplished
Group counseling came next and indi- their goals. More specifically, counselors
vidual counseling was last. Emphasis were starting to be seen as a part of an
was determined by efficient use of the elementary school guidance team. Less
counselor's time as much as anything else emphasis was given to testing, education-
(Faust, 1968). al planning, and individual counseling.
Rather, consultation and group approach-
Eckerson and Smith (1966) used the es were advocated.
term "child development consultant."
They reported elementary principals most Elementary school counselors pro-
wanted their guidance specialists (the vided classroom guidance units and peer
counselors) to consult with parents, teach- facilitator training and they coordinated
ers, and children, and in that order. It was other guidance procedures such as testing,
easier to sell budget-minded school boards parent conferences, child study teams,
and the public on the idea a counselor- and exceptional student placement. In
consultant would be of great assistance to addition, these counselors accepted the
teachers and administrators than it was challenge of accountability, knowing their
to request counselors based on counselor- jobs depended upon it. Consequently,
student ratios. When teacher-counselor there is more published professional
ratios were the first consideration, the literature on the effectiveness of elemen-
conclusion was most elementary schools tary school counselors than at any other
in the nation needed a full-time coun- school level.
selor. A new type of school counselor was
Some school districts started formal- coming to the front (Myrick, 1989; Rotter,
ized guidance and counseling programs in 1990). These counselors found it practi-
their elementary schools by assigning one cal and feasible to move their work into
counselor to more than one school. Funds places outside of the guidance offices-
were limited and it was not considered classrooms, playgrounds, cafeterias, and
politically wise by many administrators hallways-to have access to students and
to float a bond issue for additional school teachers. Because these counselors used a
personnel, especially for such an un- developmental approach instead of wait-
known position as an elementary school ing to react to crises, the need for privacy
counselor. In addition, other professional seemed less of a concern. Students often
personnel were building a case for em - saw other students meeting and talking
ployment (e.g., social workers, media with a counselor in different places within
specialists, exceptional education teach- the school. Elementary school counselors
ers, and health-related staff). had high visibility because they did not
remain in their offices.

30 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 1 The Emergence of Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Elementary school counselors were The organization of schools also has

among the first to use published class- been changing. Sixth grade students are
room guidance activities. Kits such as now being moved in to middle schools
DUSO-Developing Understanding of Self and pre-kindergarten programs have
and Others (Dinkmeyer & Dinkmeyer, been added to many elementary schools.
1982), and workbooks such as Magic Circle Children are starting to attend school
(Summerlin, 1985) helped teachers and at an earlier age and schools are being
counselors provide clqssroom guidance. viewed in some communities as a resource
Glasser's (1986) "classroom meetings" be- for childcare, before and after the regular
came an accepted approach to encourage school day. Further, it has been suggested
students to learn more about themselves. pre-kindergarten children and their fami-
The value of psychological education lies require a full complement of guidance
(Mosher & Sprinthall, 1971) in the class- and counseling-related services (Gerler &
room continues to gain support. Myrick, 1991; Vernon, 1993).
Although the basic concept of class- While birthrates declined in the
room guidance was not new, the curricu- 1970s, the school age population grew
lum materials and group methods were. more than eight percent during the 1990s.
Guidance sessions were sequentially or- It was more than a baby boom echo.
ganized around developmental guidance Immigration helped produce the huge
objectives and lesson plans, with activities enrollment increase and will continue to
and discussion questions. Because of their account for the majority of the new stu-
convenience, these kits and materials dents over this decade. What once worked
helped teachers provide more classroom in education may not work as well in such
guidance activities to students than ever a diverse and fast growing nation.
before. Skeptics worry the new generation of
It is surprising, in many respects, that students will not match the educational
formalized guidance programs and ser- levels attained in the past, as there are
vices were first instituted in high schools. too many problems facing the nation's
If the problems older students experience schools. However, through developmental
are to be prevented, then more attention guidance and other strategies, educational
must be given to the early school years excellence and new heights in personal
where the foundation for learning is laid growth and productivity can be obtained.
(Gerler, Ciechalski, & Parker, 1990; Lewis,
Gibson, Mitchell, & Basile, 1993).

Educational Media Corporation® 31

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Developmental Guidance There were approximately 96,000

school counselors who were counted as
for all Schools support staff for students. This translates
The nation's schools are big business. to about 490 students for every guidance
They have a way of touching almost every counselor reported.
person in the United States, as either a Guidance and counseling in the
parent, legislator, or a tax payer. In the schools has a significant history, although
school year 2009, there were 56 million a short one. At this point in time, the
students enrolled in public elementary developmental approach has become the
and secondary schools (Hussar & Bailey, most accepted approach for all school lev-
2009) in more than 16,000 school dis- els. It is an approach that has influenced
tricts. the work of counselors in other settings
Although distributions and ratios vary too (Baker, 2000; Van Zandt & Hayslip,
greatly from state to state, the instruc- 1994). It is supported by administrators
tional staff (teachers and instructional who recognize the need for school coun-
aides, coordinators, and supervisors) in selors (Stone & Clark, 2001).
the public schools made up 63.5 percent According to the Bureau of Labor
of all staff. Another 26.4 percent of all Statistics (2009), employment of school
staff (librarians, counselors, psychologists, counselors is expected to grow about 14
and other support staff) provided support percent from 2008 to 2018, which is faster
services to schools and students. Admin- than the average for all jobs because of
istrators and administrative support staff increasing school enrollments. Although
made up another 10.2 percent. schools and governments realize the
About 2.9 million full-time equivalent value of counselors in helping students to
teachers provided instruction in public el- achieve academic success, budget con-
ementary and secondary schools. Among straints at every school level can dampen
this group, 1,620,000 were elementary the job growth of school counselors.
school teachers and 1,031,000 were sec- Federal grants and subsidies may help to
ondary school teachers, while the remain- offset tight budgets and enable a reduc-
ing 255,000 teachers taught nongraded tion in student-to-counselor ratios.
classes or were not assigned a specific Developmental guidance and coun-
grade. In addition, there were thousands seling programs are an evolutionary
of instructional aides, who directly as- product of what has already taken place
sisted teachers in their classrooms, and in- in the schools and what is demanded for
structional coordinators and supervisors, the future. Implementing such programs
who helped teachers through curriculum requires specialized knowledge and skills.
development and in-service training. With new variations and new methodol-
There were 133,000 school adminis- ogy, a comprehensive guidance program
trators (mostly principals and assistant can meet the growing needs of students
principals), 55,000 school district admin- and the adults who work with them.
istrators, and about 384,000 school and
district administrative support staff. An
additional 1,329,000 staff members pro-
vided support services for students. These
services included food, health, library
assistance, maintenance, transportation,
security, and other services.

32 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Developmental Guidance:
A Comprehensive Approach

In order to build a comprehensive Basic Assumptions

developmental guidance and counsel-
ing program in your school, it is impor- and Needs
tant to know the basic assumptions and Developmental guidance and counsel-
principles behind such an approach. ing assumes human nature moves indi-
Moreover, it is helpful to understand how viduals sequentially and positively toward
school personnel work together to imple- self-enhancement. It recognizes there is
ment the program. Then, attention can be a force within each of us that makes us
given to the skills and strategies that make believe we are special and there is nobody
a counselor's job unique and rewarding. like us. It also assumes our individual po-
tentials are valuable assets to society and
the future of humanity.
But, this innate drive for personal
expression and uniqueness that each of
us possesses often necessitates compro-
mise with external forces. These come
from other individuals who are striving
for their own special destinies. They also
come from a society that represents a col-
lection of attitudes, values, and laws that
are designed to help people live together.
Sometimes these inner and outer forces
clash and conflict results. Sometimes per-
sonal growth and development suffer.
The developmental approach consid-
ers the nature of human development,
including the general stages and tasks
most individuals experience as they
mature from childhood to adulthood.
It centers on positive self-concepts and
acknowledges one's self-concept is formed
and reformed through experience and

Educational Media Corporation® 33

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

education. It further recognizes feelings, The Theory of

ideas, and behaviors are closely linked
and they are learned. Therefore, the most Developmental Guidance
desired conditions for learning and re- In order to build a developmental
learning are important considerations for guidance and counseling program, there
development. The ultimate objective is to are a few concepts about human develop-
help students learn more effectively and ment to acknowledge. It is true you could
efficiently. act professionally and competently in
A developmental program requires the your relationships with others and not
help of all school personnel in order to have any knowledge of psychology, hu-
accomplish its goals, which are organized man development, or counseling skills.
around a guidance curriculum. Coun- We do not stray too far beyond common
selors and teachers, in particular, must sense when we work with people. How-
work closely together to provide appro- ever, increased effectiveness and efficiency
priate guidance and counseling services in our work often take us beyond intu-
to students. There is a need, therefore, to ition, imitation, and habit. Rather, success
identify the roles of school personnel in depends more upon a thoughtful reflec-
comprehensive guidance and counsel- tion of such concepts as why and what
ing programs and to recognize how they we are trying to do and the directions we
complement one another. Further, there is want to go.
a need to specifically define the job func- The term "developmental" is so
tions and basic interventions of school prominent in counseling and guidance,
counselors who are the guardians of the what else can be said about it? First,
program. human development is a lifelong set of
There is a demand for comprehensive physiological, psychological, and social
developmental guidance and counseling processes that begins at birth and contin-
programs that extend from elementary ues until death. Second, this development
through high school. In addition, there is involves an interaction between what a
a need to reorganize guidance curricula, to person is given genetically and the differ-
retrain school counselors and teachers for ent environments in which that person
new guidance and counseling roles, and lives and grows. Human development is a
to be more accountable in meeting the journey from birth to death in which the
developmental needs of young people. It personality unfolds, changes, and changes
does not involve a revolution in educa- again.
tion, but it does advance the evolution of In addition, development is a term
guidance and counseling in the schools. we commonly use when talking about
orderly changes or changes that appear to
have some kind of direction. Of course,
this order and direction can be disrupted
if certain factors are introduced that
thwart natural inclinations. In addition,
the nature of social institutions and cul-
tural dimensions influence life's process
and stages.

34 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 2 Developmental Guidance: A Comprehensive Approach

Developmental Robert Havighurst, as early as 1948,

Stages and Tasks presented a theory of human develop-
ment that focused on developmental
During the 1960s, increased atten- tasks. "A developmental task arises at or
tion was given to child study. The devel- about a certain period in the life of the in-
opmental needs of children were being dividual, successful achievement of which
recognized. In particular, the growth leads to his happiness and to success with
needs of children were highlighted in the later tasks, while failure leads to unhap-
works of such authors as Benjamin Bloom piness in the individual, disapproval of
(1964), Robert Gesell, Frances Ilg and society, and difficulty with later tasks"
Louise Ames (1946 & 1956), Robert Havi- (Havighurst, 1972, p. 2). Stages of devel-
ghurst (1953), and Jerome Kagan (1962). opment were outlined and developmental
They emphasized how heredity and tasks within these stages were identified
environment together shaped a child's (e.g., see Figure 2.1).
personality. They suggested achievement
of developmental tasks at one stage of Erik Erikson (1963), in his classic
life influenced success with tasks in later book, emphasized everyone experiences
stages. crises or conflicts in development and ad-
justments to conflicts play an important
The work of Jean Piaget (1970) em- part in the development of an individual's
phasized the cognitive development of personality. Most important, the resolu-
children. He and his colleagues concluded tion of conflicts tends to be cumulative
intellectual development appeared to take in that a person's manner of coping and
place in stages and, therefore, no stage adjusting to conflicts at one stage in life
could be eliminated, since each one was influences the ways of handling the next
dependent on the preceding one. The four conflict. All of us, through our everyday
stages identified were: Sensorimotor (0 experiences, with some experiences being
to 2 years); Preoperational (2 to 7 years); more critical than others, develop a set of
Concrete Operations (7 to 12 years); and complex behaviors which influence our
4) Formal Operations (12 years and older). actions throughout our lives.
For example, according to Piaget's the- From Erikson's viewpoint, there are
ory, children starting school are entering a eight stages of human or psychosocial
stage when symbols are used to carry out development. Each stage presents criti-
mental activities. Children are learning cal learning experiences that exert influ-
properties can change in appearance, but ence over one's remaining life span. For
some factors remain the same, objects can example, autonomy needs are especially
be quantified, and reasoning can result important to toddlers (the "me do it" syn-
from examining the whole and parts of an drome), but throughout life, people must
object. Problem solving improves by the continue to test the degree of autonomy
middle school years because thoughts can they can express in each new relationship
be more deductive and can focus on the and stage in life.
future (Keenan & Evans, 2009).

Educational Media Corporation® 35

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Figure 2.1
Developmental Stages/Tasks

Infancy/Early Childhood (Ages 0-5)

1. Learning to walk 7. Preparing for marriage and family life
2. Learning to take solid foods 8. Developing skills and concepts for civic
3. Learning to talk competence
4. Learning to control elimination of body 9. Desiring and achieving socially responsible
wastes behaviors, taking account values of society
5. Learning sex differences and sexual modesty 10. Acquiring a set of values and an ethical
6. Forming concepts and learning language to system as a guide to behavior
describe social and physical reality 11. Setting realistic goals and making plans for
7. Learning to relate emotionally to parents and reaching these goals
siblings; identifying relationships
8. Getting ready to read
9. Learning to distinguish right and wrong and Early Adulthood (Ages 19-30)
beginning to develop a conscience 1. Selecting a mate-developing intimate
2. Learning to live with a marriage partner
Middle Childhood (Ages 6-11) 3. Starting a family
1. Learning physical skills necessary for ordinary 4. Raising children
games 5. Managing a home
2. Building wholesome attitudes toward oneself 6. Getting started in an occupation, some-
and a sense of self-concept times neglecting other tasks during this
3. Learning to get along with age mates-mov- period
ing from the family circle to groups outside 7. Taking on civic responsibility
the home 8. Finding a congenial social group
4. Learning the skills of tolerance and patience
5. Learning appropriate masculine or feminine
social roles Middle Age
6. Developing fundamental skills in reading, 1. Achieving adult civic and social responsibility
writing, and calculating 2. Establishing and maintaining an economic
7. Developing concepts necessary for everyday standard of living
living 3. Assisting teenage children to become
8. Developing conscience, morality, and a scale responsible happy adults
of values 4. Developing adult leisure-time activities
9. Achieving personal independence 5. Relating oneself to one's spouse as a person
10. Developing attitudes toward social groups 6. Accepting and adjusting to the physiologi-
and institutions, through experiences and cal changes of middle age
imitation 7. Adjusting to aging parents
Adolescence (Ages 12 to 18)
1. Achieving new and more mature relations
with age mates of both sexes Later Maturity
2. Learning socially approved feminine and 1. Adjusting to decreasing physical strength
masculine roles and behaviors and health
3. Accepting one's physique and learning to 2. Adjusting to retirement and reduced in-
use the body effectively come
4. Achieving emotional independence of par- 3. Adjusting to death of spouse
ents and other adults 4. Establishing an explicit affiliation with one's
5. Setting vocational goals for economic inde- age group
pendence 5. Meeting social and civic obligations
6. Selecting and preparing for an occupation, Drawn from Havighurst, 79 72.
relating interests to abilities to choices

36 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 2 Developmental Guidance: A Comprehensive Approach

Erikson's work on development has Preconventional

proven to be a valuable reference point (Based on meeting personal needs)
for many people, as they attempt to con- Stage 1: Punishment and obedience
ceptualize developmental stages and tasks. 11
"I'll do it, so I don't get punished.
Generally, his eight stages of development
included: Stage 2: Instrumental-relativist 1J'll do

it, if you do something for me.


Stage 1: Trust (birth to 2 years of age)

Stage 2: Autonomy (2 to 4 years) (Based on meeting group norms)
Stage 3: Initiative (4 to 6 years) Stage 3: Good boy or girl orientation
Stage 4: Industry (6 to 12 years) 11 11
I'll do it to please you.
Stage 5: Identity (12 to 18 years) Stage 4: Law and order "I'll do it be-
Stage 6: Intimacy (18 to 25 years) cause it's my duty.
Stage 7: Generativity (25 to 50 years) Postconventional
(Based on moral principle)
Stage 8: Integrity (SO years and older)
Stage 5: Social-contract "I'll do it be-
Although times and values change cause it's best for the majority.

and the marvels of the medical world

have extended the average life span, Stage 6: Universal ethics "I'll do it
Erikson's "ages of man" still seem to be because my conscience tells me it's right."
relevant. He further suggested if the tasks Kohlberg suggested individuals tend
at different ages are not achieved, then to reason at one particular level more
at each stage emotional consequences than half the time, with the rest of the
occur: (1) mistrust; (2) doubt and shame; reasoning at other levels. Typically, they
(3) guilt; (4) inferiority; (5) confusion; (6) do not regress, but remain where they are
isolation; (7) stagnation; and (8) despair. or move slowly toward the next higher
During middle school, there is more level. Conflicts often result when indi-
need for self-exploration and peer rela- viduals do not understand the reasoning
tionships. Discovering one's identity or process, especially when they are made
sense of uniqueness from others becomes up of lower and higher level arguments.
a significant emotional task. An indi- It is evident that moral development in
vidual's level of awareness in this search this case is dependent upon intellectual or
varies, depending upon personal history, cognitive development (Higgins & Power
achievement in preceding stages, anticipa- (1991).
tion of the future, and the interpersonal Don Super (Super & Bohn, 1970; Su-
skills that have been learned (Friedman, per, 2008), of career guidance fame, based
1999). his work on five developmental stages.
Lawrence Kohlberg (Kohlberg & They are: (a) Organizational (birth to
Turiel, 1971) developed a three-level, about age fourteen); (b) Exploration (age
six-stage approach to moral development fifteen to thirty); (c) Realization (thirty
that has helped counselors and teachers to about fifty); (d) Stabilization (fifty to
gain insight to personal development. His sixty-five); and (e) Examination (after
theory attempted to show how there is a sixty-five). While the age limits are gener-
moral element in behavior. In each stage, ally descriptive, they are only approxima-
the orientation and thinking process tions and can vary from one individual to
might be: another. In addition, these ages may be
influenced by new developments in soci-

Educational Media Corporation® 37

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

ety, such as a longer life-span and career Deficits in the concern for others' well
as a consequence of advances in modern being have long been held as hallmarks of
medicine. We also know young people are antisocial personality disorders. By defini-
maturing faster now than they were fifty tion, a disorder has a history of disruptive
years ago and these maturational changes behaviors. Kochanska (1991) found more
can affect development in terms of life disobedient toddlers were less likely, six
stages. to eight years later, to report prosocial
One inevitable conclusion is if stu- responses to vignettes depicting trans-
dents are taught to master certain tasks gressions against others than were less
and skills that coincide with the different disobedient toddlers. She suggested self-
stages, perhaps learning lifelong skills and regulation, as indexed by the frequency of
attitudes, then they are more likely to disobedient behavior, might predict future
feel a sense of control and success in their problems in conscience development
lives. The result is a more positive experi- through either biological or environmen-
ence of life. tal pathways. The lack of concern for
others in many antisocial adolescents has
Human development is complex and been well-documented (Cohen & Strayer,
has been discussed in much greater detail 1996).
elsewhere. In summary, most theorists
see it as a rather patterned, orderly, and Children's lack of concern for others
distinct process. They agree it is affected and aggressive or disruptive behaviors can
by cultural forces and events that take be detected in elementary school (Vitaro,
place in a person's life. Also, human de- Tremblay, Gagnon, & Pelletier, 1994). The
velopment, while following some general empathic deficits of aggressive individuals
expectations at certain stages of life, must emerge over time, either through arrested
take into account individual uniqueness. development of concern at a relatively
Effective developmental guidance and immature stage or by an actual decrease
counseling programs take stages of devel- from earlier levels. In addition, antisocial
opment into consideration. children may not only lack concern, but
also may actively disregard or be callous
toward others in need (Reinke & Herman,
Development of Empathy
and Concern for Others
Empathic concern for the well-being
It often is assumed human beings of others may be related to a heritable,
have a biological inclination to attend biologically based response system, but
to and recognize the emotional needs some researchers have found parental so-
of others. Empathy functions as a social cialization and child-rearing attitudes and
emotion, bridging the affective states of behaviors to be a more productive ground
one individual with another. This em- (Eisenberg et al., 1998). A person-centered
pathic awareness has allowed humans parent, for example, includes being warm,
to predict each other's behaviors, to be responsive, and supportive while estab-
aware of other's needs and interests to lishing guidelines for behavior and using
forge personal bonds, and to work ~oop­ reasoning in conjunction with controlled
eratively. Empathy and concern for others discipline. Authoritarian parents, on
is the basis for altruism and the ability to the other hand, center on harsh, restric-
establish effective social groups (Snyder & tive, punitive, and intensely controlling
Lopez, 2002).

38 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 2 Developmental Guidance: A Comprehensive Approach

actions. In addition, they often display Thousands of journal and newspaper

negative affect within the context of child articles have been written using the word
rearing, which includes showing anger, self-esteem. If we have high self-esteem, it
frustration, and disappointment with means we appreciate our inherent worth
their children. and ourselves. We have a positive attitude
Tremblay (1992) and his colleagues and evaluate ourselves highly. We are
found disruptive six-year-old boys who convinced of our own abilities and we see
also were highly prosocial engaged in ourselves as competent and powerful-in
fewer disruptive behaviors three years control of our own lives and able to do
later than did boys who were disruptive what we want. We also compare ourselves
and less prosocial. Girls show more con- favorably with others.
cern than do boys from the second year If we have low self-esteem, we often
of life through adolescence (Zahn-Waxler, doubt our abilities and are less willing to
2001). Following individuals from middle participate in challenging tasks or activi-
childhood into adulthood, Hamalaimen ties. Classmates seem to be smarter, quick-
and Pulkkinen (1995) found adult men er, and in more favor. Teachers may be
and women who had been more prosocial viewed as adversaries rather than helpers.
as children were less likely to have been When we are put in situations that foster
arrested or convicted of repeat offenses. or reinforce our lack of self-esteem, it is
Criminality was greatest among adults natural to turn to other places and people
who had been high in aggression and low in order to feel valued and competent.
in prosocial behavior as children.
Learning prosocial behaviors can The Concept of Self
reduce the likelihood or the amount of The self-concept is a relatively stable
antisocial behavior in later years. School set of perceptions individuals hold about
counselors and teachers can use guidance themselves. Human development special-
units and activities to help students learn ists agree we do not have a self-concept or
how to care for others, to listen to their self-picture at birth. As infants, we cannot
feelings, and to engage people in positive survive without interaction with other
ways. beings, yet our brains are not developed
Mayer, DiPaolo, and Salovey (1990) enough to process the social atmosphere
defined emotional intelligence as the into which we are born. Thus, an infant
ability to monitor one's own and other's lying in a crib has no notion of selfhood.
feelings and emotions, to discriminate Awareness of one's unique existence
among them, and to use this informa- comes into play only as the brain devel-
tion to guide one's thinking and actions. ops and the growth process evolves.
Goleman (1995) defined emotional intel- Self-concept has been recognized as
ligence as: an important variable in human devel-
• knowing ones emotions opment and learning. Both self-concept
and self-esteem are considered products
• managing emotions
of how people talk and interact with one
• motivating oneself another.
• recognizing emotions in others
• handling relationships

Educational Media Corporation® 39

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

As the self~concept develops, various Developmental

attitudes and personal styles take shape, Theory and Counseling
which in turn become part of the learn-
ing process. It appears significant attitudes Allen Ivey has been a strong pro-
about self, others, school, and society, ponent of developmental therapy and
which affect how we learn and later func- counseling. He has advocated integrating
tion as mature adults, are formed while the work of developmental theorists, such
we are growing up in our families and as Piaget and Erikson, into helping others
attending school. Student achievement in to grow and change. He sees all clients as
school has been directly related to self- having developmental needs and needing
concept (Purkey, 1970; 2006). assistance to move through cognitive and
emotional stages of life. Through devel-
Therefore, to consider developmental opmental therapy, clients can gain new
tasks and stages without giving attention perspectives on their problems and break
to self-concept might be considered folly. out of destructive modes of thinking as
In addition, it seems clear one's self-pic- they learn to trust their feelings and reac-
ture is shaped by interpersonal relation- tions (Ivey & Thomas, 2007).
ships and these relationships are part of
the conditions in which people learn. Life span development, by whatever
theory, is a phenomenon that plays itself
One disturbing report suggested out again and again through the develop-
school climate can damage the self-esteem mental tasks and phases of parents and
of some students. More specifically, when their children (Ivey & Ivey, 1990). This de-
children in kindergarten were asked if velopment occurs holistically, not in strict
they liked themselves, 95 percent said linear sequence, although the two can be
"yes." But, by the time they had reached integrated. Most theorists emphasize the
fourth grade, their responses had dropped importance of relationships. Each stage of
to 60 percent. By eighth grade, their re- development contains all the other stages
sponses were down to 40 percent and by and one must complete developmental
twelfth grade it was 5 percent (Weinhold, tasks successfully or problems will occur
1999). in life. All theorists stress the importance
It is a mistake to assume children who of environment.
are having social problems, especially In a developmental sense, people
those who are aggressive and disruptive, cannot operate apart from their cultural
have "low self-concepts." Teachers have and historical backgrounds. A student
been known to refer a student for counsel- working on a problem or trying to make a
ing and suggest the disorderly behavior decision invariably brings to the situation
was probably related to a lack of self- their cultural and historical self. It is usu-
confidence or maybe low self-esteem. To ally at an unconscious or very low level
the contrary, some unacceptable behavior, of awareness. Likewise, the helper (e.g.,
such as bullying others, can bring higher teacher, counselor, parent) also works out
social status (Prinstein & Cilessen, 2003). of an unconscious and integrated mind
Developmental school counselors recog- set which structures the interaction and
nize antisocial behavior serves a purpose eventually the relationship.
and is a phenomenon associated with

40 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 2 Developmental Guidance: A Comprehensive Approach

In a fast-paced multi-cultural society Interpersonal relationships can be for

that is ever changing, and one that prizes better or for worse. Carl Rogers (1957)
diversity and uniqueness, developmental and others (e.g., Carkhuff & Berenson,
theory must be cast in a frame of refer- 1967) drew attention to the desired condi-
ence that is practical. Development must tions in a helping relationship, especially
be viewed as continuous, cyclical, progres- for counseling and therapy. These same
sive, and active. It is a difficult process to conditions also hold true for teaching
operationalize, one that has too long been and parenting (Purkey, 1970; Marzano,
acknowledged in principle, but ignored in 2007). Included in a list of such helping
practice. At the heart of personal devel- conditions are caring, understanding,
opment are fundamental learning con- acceptance, respect, and trustworthiness.
ditions that influence either positive or Other conditions sometimes cited include
negative growth. They are the foundation genuineness, warmth, and concreteness.
for learning and relearning. All these are in contrast to such condi-
tions as cold, distant, sarcastic, judgmen-
Developmental tal, superior, inflexible, and unconcerned.
Conditions for Learning Some writers have focused upon the
During the 1960s, interpersonal rela- "affective" and "cognitive" domains (e.g.,
tionships were closely examined. It was Bloom, 1956; Wadsworth, 2003) in an
an era that might have been called the attempt to describe the learning process.
"Search for Intimacy." There was a drive But, it is impossible to learn anything
to learn more about human relationships of meaning or value without personal
and how people relate to each other. It involvement and emotion. Likewise, it is
was a time when close encounters took impossible to make any sense of what one
place and the human relations movement is feeling and experiencing without using
was born. Sensitivity groups of all kinds cognitive ideas. To focus on one domain
sprung up around the nation. at the exclusion of the other is some-
thing that might be done as an academic
It was partly from these groups, as exercise, but it does not work that way
well as from research about interpersonal in practice. Learning happens best when
skills, a renewed interest was taken in both domains are given attention, wheth-
studying the interactions between teach- er you are in a classroom or a counseling
ers and students. After all the studies were office.
reviewed, it was easy to conclude the
quality of a teacher-student relationship
affects learning outcomes and students
learn best in environments where people
interact positively with one another.

Educational Media Corporation® 41

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Developmental Guidance Goal 1: Understanding the School Envi-

Curriculum and Goals
Goal 2: Understanding Self and Others
There is an organized curriculum
within the developmental approach to Goal 3: Understanding Attitudes and Be-
guidance. Based upon developmental stag- havior
es, tasks, skills, and learning conditions, Goal 4: Decision Making and Problem
the guidance curriculum is a planned ef- Solving
fort to provide each student with a set of Goal 5: Interpersonal and Communica-
skills and experiences that helps enhance tion Skills
all learning. Such an approach embraces
Goal 6: School Success Skills
all the goals of education.
Goal 7: Career Awareness and Educational
More specifically, the goals and
objectives of a developmental guidance
program are related to facilitating the Goal 8: Community Pride and Involve-
instructional process. Some people may ment
see personal development objectives as Each goal is further delineated by a
supplemental to academic ones, but they set of general objectives that, in turn, can
are an integrated part of the total educa- be described more specifically through
tion program. While the objectives appear expected observable outcomes. In addi-
to focus primarily on personal growth, the tion, each of the eight general goals is
outcomes might be considered desirable applicable to all school levels (K-12). Par-
for any educational program. ticular attention and emphasis to various
There are many guides that have been objectives are usually grade level related,
published by school systems that attempt considering developmental stages and
to describe program goals and objectives. tasks appropriate for each age group.
Some are more extended and detailed Goal 1: Understanding the
than others. Titles, phrases, choices of School Environment enables students
words, and a particular emphasis may be a in whatever school they are attending to
little different from one system to an- become more familiar with facilities, pro-
other, but a thorough review would show cedures, and programs. It includes helping
there are several common themes. students to learn more about guidance
There are eight goals that character- services and the roles of school counselors
ize almost all developmental guidance and teacher-advisors.
and counseling programs. For the most Goal 2: Understanding Self and
part, regardless of school or school sys- Others focuses on such matters as help-
tem, general and specific objectives can be ing students learn more about their abili-
organized around them. They are: ties, interests, and personal characteristics.
Students learn to identify their strengths
and areas in which they want to improve.
They also think about and develop skills
related to their relationships with peers,
teachers, and other adults. This goal
includes self-assessment, self-acceptance,
and the development of self-confidence. It
values positive differences and uniqueness
among people.

42 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 2 Developmental Guidance: A Comprehensive Approach

Goal 3: Understanding Attitudes awareness, and to do some in-depth ca-

and Behavior continues to address un- reer exploration related to personal skills,
derstanding of self and others, giving par- interests, and abilities. In addition, atten-
ticular attention to how habits, attitudes, tion is given to making educational plans,
and perceptions can affect behavior. Also including selecting courses, preparing for
examined are how feelings and behaviors graduation and future education, develop-
are related to goals and consequences and ing employability skills, and learning how
how behavior can be changed, if desired. to search for a job.
Goal 4: Decision Making and Goal 8: Community Pride and In-
Problem Solving attends to setting volvement stresses community involve-
goals and making responsible decisions. It ment. It emphasizes how students can be
involves an increased awareness of fac- responsible and productive people in their
tors that influence change and decision communities. It also focuses on commu-
making, as well as helpful procedures for nity resources.
problem solving. There is an emphasis on Some school systems have not only
responsibility and individual choice. identified the general goals of a guidance
Goal 5: Interpersonal and Com- program, but have proceeded to specify
munication Skills emphasizes the objectives, related counselor interventions
value of developing positive interpersonal and services, possible counseling and
relationships and how communication guidance activities, expected observable
skills affect the way in which people outcomes or indicators of success, and
interact with one another. Interpersonal methods for measuring results. Hand-
and communication skills are related to books, outlining and cross referencing
friendships and working relationships activities from popular publications, also
with students, teachers, and family. have been assembled in almost every
Goal 6: School Success Skills is de- school system. These books may provide a
signed to help students be more successful rationale and description of the guidance
in school. This includes study skills, learn- program, as well as describe the various
ing behaviors, time management, conflict guidance roles of teachers, counselors,
resolution with peers and teachers, and and administrators.
developing positive attitudes and habits
which enable one to get the most out of Principles of
school. Developmental Guidance
Goal 7: Career Awareness and In addition to program objectives,
Educational Planning is aimed at there are seven principles of developmen-
one of the most traditional aspects of tal guidance programs that provide direc-
school guidance and counseling. There tion as to how a program can be imple-
have been many attempts to integrate or mented and evaluated (see Figure 2.2).
assimilate career information and guid-
ance within academic curricula. This goal,
however, is more broadly focused on help-
ing students to understand more about
the world of work, to increase their career

Educational Media Corporation® 43

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Figure 2.2
Principles of
Developmental Guidance Programs

7. Developmental guidance is for all students

2. Developmental guidance has an organized and planned curriculum.
3. Developmental guidance is sequential and flexible.
4. Developmental guidance is an integrated part of the total educational process.
5. Developmental guidance involves all school personnel.
6. Developmental guidance helps students learn more effectively and efficiently.
7. Developmental guidance includes counselors who provide specialized counseling ser-
vices and interventions.

1. Developmental guidance is for The guidance curriculum is concerned

all students. with behavior as much as self-concept.
Although some young people have It encourages responsible decision mak-
more problems or are more troublesome ing and individual uniqueness. It also
than others, and while some need spe- acknowledges society and community
cial attention because of their particular expectations, as well as the rights and
needs or circumstances, developmental self-worth of individuals. The curriculum
guidance is directed to all students. There is designed to help students to be sensi-
will be times, of course, when disrup- tive to others, to cope and adjust, and to
tive incidents happen or when a crisis- be personally assertive, self-confident, and
type intervention may be an appropriate self-directed.
response. However, an effective guidance The curriculum goals and objec-
curriculum provides continuous assis- tives are usually organized into guidance
tance, support, and meaningful growth units. Each unit, with its general and
experiences to all students. specific objectives, is further organized
2. Developmental guidance has an into guidance sessions that are presented
organized and planned curriculum. to students. For example, if the general
objective of a unit is to "develop a posi-
Within this curriculum, there are tive attitude about school," then a more
general and specific objectives to assist specific objective-perhaps addressed in a
students in their development. The cur- particular session-might be "to be able to
riculum is built upon helping students compliment another person." In this case,
with their cognitive, affective, and physi- it is assumed positive attitudes are related
cal growth, giving special attention to to positive relationships with others and
individual appraisal, potential, motiva- the skill of recognizing and compliment-
tion, and achievement. It concentrates on ing others is a valued part of interpersonal
learning conditions and emphasizes the relationships.
human aspect of the educational process.

44 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 2 Developmental Guidance: A Comprehensive Approach

3. Developmental guidance is se- In addition, teachers and counselors

quential and flexible. must be flexible enough to seize upon
Experience with students at different moments when "timely teaching" is ap-
age levels provides some idea about when propriate. There are special times when
particular guidance units are best pre- students are ready to learn. Sometimes
sented and studied. In this sense, there is something out of the ordinary has hap-
an attempt to provide some continuity to pened and this might provide extra
the program. It is assumed, for example, motivation or student interest. Ideally, it
all students need to be oriented to the is always best to present a guidance activ-
school building and general procedures ity when there is an obvious eagerness to
during the first part of the year. It also is learn. Counselors and teachers can take
assumed that shortly after orientation, advantage of those times when guidance
students will want to assess their goals lessons are particularly appropriate or
and examine their classroom behaviors. It have special meaning.
is not enough to wait until students have 4. Developmental guidance is an
problems in their classes or have misun- integrated part of the total edu-
derstandings with their teachers before cational process.
they receive some guidance. Rather, stu- Although there is an identified cur-
dents can benefit by identifying the kinds riculum that appears to be separate from
of classroom behaviors that are related the academic curriculum, developmental
to achievement and then rating them- guidance permeates the school environ-
selves or comparing ratings with teacher ment. Timely teaching is part of an effec-
ratings. Next, students might identify tive developmental guidance program.
those behaviors upon which they want to Likewise, counselors may create a person-
improve. This unit may then be followed alized guidance lesson which draws upon
by a "study skills unit" in which students and applies something that has been
learn to manage their time and concen- learned in an academic class. For example,
trate on study habits. students learning to write letters in an
The program must be flexible so English class also can apply those skills
guidance units or sessions can be moved to writing for more information about
around to accommodate student and careers or perhaps applying for a summer
teacher readiness. In addition, sometimes job.
new units must be developed and inserted 5. Developmental guidance in-
into the scheduled curriculum to address volves all school personnel.
a particular need or a growing concern.
Teachers, counselors, administrators,
Although each guidance unit might and all support personnel are responsible
be carefully planned and presented at for guidance services in the school. Some
what is considered to be an optimal time guidance units might best be delivered by
of the school year, it also is possible some teachers through their assigned classes or
guidance units need to be repeated, oth- maybe during a special guidance period
ers need to be modified, and still others when they are working as advisors to
introduced at other times than when first students. Other guidance units might
scheduled. best be delivered by guidance specialists,
such as counselors, school psychologists,
resource teachers, or outside consultants
or resource people.

Educational Media Corporation® 45

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Although school counselors have been Counseling services are not consid-
identified as those who will take the lead ered therapy. The guidance program is not
in organizing and planning a develop- designed to provide psychotherapy for the
mental guidance program, the program psychologically deviant. However, many
cannot be implemented without the full students who have serious personal prob-
support and assistance of teachers and lems still attend regular school. They have
administrators. The guidance program is to cope with the limitations of the school
not something that can be shuffled off to setting and to adjust to classroom condi-
specialists alone. It requires cooperation tions. They often need help in establish-
among all the adults who are working ing working relationships with teachers
with students. and classmates.
6. Developmental guidance helps Some students with serious personal
students learn more effectively problems respond well to guidance units
and efficiently. or brief counseling by school personnel.
While guidance and counseling em- Many teachers and counselors recognize
phasize personal growth and individual the importance of establishing positive
potential, it does not do so at the ex- relationships with troubled students and
pense of academic achievement. In fact, do so effectively. Regardless of what they
everything in the guidance program is do and their effectiveness, the helping
eventually directed at helping students process is not labeled therapy. Assisting
learn more effectively and efficiently. All troubled students to adjust to school not
guidance objectives have an educational only improves their learning and well-be-
base and all services are related to helping ing, but it improves the learning environ-
students get the most out of school. ment for others. If a student is having
problems with a teacher, that student is
7. Developmental guidance in- not learning and is probably distracting
cludes school counselors who others' learning as well.
provide specialized counseling
services and interventions. School counseling is based upon brief-
counseling theory and draws upon coun-
While many guidance objectives can selor interventions that can be delivered
be met within the general framework within six to eight counseling sessions. In
of the instructional program and guid- a developmental guidance program, coun-
ance curriculum, there are occasions seling is focused. General "rap sessions"
when more specialized services, such as in which students talk with counselors in
brief counseling, are needed by students. unstructured meetings are not as common
Counseling is provided by certified school as they once were. High student-counselor
counselors who are knowledgeable about ratios and limited counselor time make
counseling theories and skills. unorganized or meandering kinds of dis-
School counselors are viewed as hu- cussions impractical, although they may
man behavior and relationship specialists be interesting, productive, and desirable
within a school. They have training in in- on occasion.
dividual and group counseling skills. They Littrell, Malia, and Vanderwood
also have more flexible time than teach- (1995) provided research to show solu-
ers. Subsequently, they can give extra tion-focused brief counseling was effective
attention to some students and provide with high school students and concluded
counseling experiences when appropriate. time-limited counseling is a valuable tool
for counselors in school settings.

46 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 2 Developmental Guidance: A Comprehensive Approach

In addition to individual and small Hawaii, New Mexico, and Texas. In some
group counseling and classroom guid- counties or districts, a single minority
ance, counselors provide other services, group has the largest portion of the total
such as consulting, training peer facilita- population. It must be noted that, even
tors, testing, and coordinating other guid- in these situations, the group most likely
ance activities. These job functions of the to be regarded as the majority is the one
school counselor will be discussed in the whose members have the most resources
remaining chapters of this book. and political clout regardless of popula-
tion size.
Developmental Guidance Our nation's success reflects the con-
and Students at Risk tributions of many people from different
Education has always meant oppor- racial and ethnic groups. However, our
tunity, but there are many young people country also has had a long, bitter history
who are considered "at-risk." They come of race relations. More recently, there is
from families that are less advantaged an increased awareness communities and
and, consequently, are usually less pre- schools are not designed to accommodate
pared to gain the most out of school. the needs, interests, and concerns of mi-
Many quickly fall behind and never reach norities, especially those from the lower
their learning potential. There are others socioeconomic scale.
who are caught in family or environmen- Too often, expectations for student
tal situations that limit their personal achievement for minorities is low and
resources and chances for success. their access to resources is limited.
Tidwell and Garrett (1994) argued The Asian Pacific American (APA)
the term "at-risk" is too general and not population has doubled each decade
well-defined. It is too inclusive, frequently since 1970. By 2020, the number of APAs
focusing on groups that already are in nationwide is projected to be 20 million,
trouble rather than being the element of or six percent of the U.S. population. Of
prediction. The commonality these young these, nearly 40 percent of Laotians and
people share, regardless of race or ethnic Cambodians live below the poverty rate
heritage, is their living conditions, which and over 94 percent of Tongans, Cambo-
put them at-risk in terms of personal and dians, Laotians, and Hmongs do not com-
social development and success in school. plete college. Only 31 percent of Hmongs
Other books and publications have graduate from high school (U.S. Bureau of
documented the need to help at-risk Census, 2000).
students (Lee, 2001; Lee & Walz, 1998). Because of their racial complexity,
These students often are considered a APAs provide a good example of the dan-
prime population for special attention, as ger of lumping groups together in a single
administrators, parents, and teachers refer racial category. By lumping sets of racial
them for counselor assistance. or ethnic groups, significant differences
Minority group populations continue between groups often are overlooked.
to grow and, although they remain un- There are as many as 31 diverse groups
evenly distributed around the U.S., collec- within the APA community, which are
tively they comprise the largest segment not linked by a single language, religion,
of the total population. This is already the social class, or national origin (Okazaki,
case in several states including California, 2000).

Educational Media Corporation® 47

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

APAs often are exposed to bigotry. • More black students are likely to be
Immigrant children face a multitude absent from advanced placement and
of learning and adjustment challenges. honors courses.
Many experience unfriendly school envi- • When compared to their white peers,
ronments and are the targets of racial hos- middle class African Americans on
tility. These same students believe when the average lag significantly behind in
conflicts arise between them and those of grade point average (and on standard-
other backgrounds, administrators tend to ized tests, including the SAT (Scholas-
deal more harshly with them than with tic Aptitude Test).
others. Moreover, there is a widespread
perception of them as belonging to a These bleak figures underscore a
high-achieving "model minority" which complex social crisis for black Americans.
masks a host of serious problems. Discrimination and bigotry contribute to
poverty, crime, use of alcohol and drugs,
African Americans make up about 13.5 and the disintegration of family and
percent of the total U.S. population, or community, and make them feel deliber-
approximately 40.7 million people (2007). ately disregarded. Early interventions and
That number is increasing each year and developmental approaches in the schools
is projected to become 65.7 million by can help bring down the barriers that
2050. It has been estimated 82 percent thwart so many African Americans.
have at least a high school diploma and
19 percent have a bachelor's degree or Hispanics and Latinos also are experi-
higher. In 2007, there were over a million encing escalating problems. In the near
more black students in college than 15 future, they are projected to become the
years earlier. second largest race/ethnic group in the
United States. This growth is largely fu-
However, blacks often fear they are eled by immigration. Thinking all Hispan-
losing ground in the competition for ics belong to one homogeneous group is
resources and the pursuit of their share a serious misconception. Hispanic Ameri-
of the prosperity. The problem is particu- cans come from as many as 20 different
larly dramatic in the nation's inner cities, countries-and some of these countries
where the multiple conditions of crime, share very little in common. Many His-
drugs and alcohol abuse, AIDS, and lack panics feel engulfed by hardships that
of job opportunities take their toll. are associated with limited English speak-
• Black children are three times more ing skills, unemployment, drug-related
likely than whites to live in a sin- crimes, and teenage pregnancies.
gle-parent household and 43.2 per- Latino schooling in the U.S. has long
cent of all African-American children been characterized by high dropout rates
live in poverty. and low college completion rates. Both
• Homicide is the leading cause of death problems have moderated over time, but
for African-American males between a persistent educational attainment gap
the ages of 15 and 34. Nearly half of remains between Hispanics and whites.
all U.S. murder victims are black. When asked why Latinos on average
• Black males are more likely to be clas- do not do as well as other students in
sified as mentally handicapped or suf- school, most respondents in a Pew His-
fering from a learning disability and panic Center survey (Lopez, 2009) blamed
placed in special education. poor parenting and poor English skills
rather than poor teachers. In addition,
the survey found the biggest reason for
the gap between the high value Latinos

48 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 2 Developmental Guidance: A Comprehensive Approach

place on education and their more mod- When children face misfortune in
est aspirations to finish college appears to their young lives, such as poverty, family
come from financial pressure to support a discord, violence, substance abuse, linger-
family. ing family illnesses, and language barriers,
Multicultural education, guidance and their learning in schools can be disrupted
counseling services, and civil rights can be and limited. Some become so dysfunc-
legislated, but the social forces of segrega- tional they may not be capable of forming
tion and discrimination are larger than helping relationships with others, perhaps
the law. Alienation, isolation, and polar- resistant to counseling and other adult-
ization create doubts and distrust, frustra- assistance. Yet, given the right kinds of
tion and fears, a lack of communication helping conditions and learning climate,
and poor interpersonal relationships. ' many of these same children can bounce
When it happens in communities, regard- back from adversity and become produc-
less of location and size, then it continues tive citizens (Rak & Patterson, 1996).
into the schools. Our schools are a reflec- Promoting resilience among all children,
tion of our nation's past, present, and especially those at-risk, is a high priority
future. in comprehensive developmental guid-
ance programs.
There also are other minorities,
such as Native Americans, East Indians, Schools, especially those that provide
and various religious groups, that are of developmental guidance and counsel-
diverse power and potential. How can ing programs, can be more effective in
we diffuse ethnic tensions and ease the addressing the needs of students and
transition of immigrants into our schools? prevent many problems from becoming
What can be done to provide a better edu- crises. The learning climate of all students
cation to minority and ethnic students is improved when comprehensive guid-
who are "at-risk?" ance programs and services are made
available to all students, helping them
All students might be viewed as "at- learn to respect the value of diversity and
risk," given the changing face of Ameri- rights of others. They also learn to form
can society. Even those who have a stable positive working relationships with peers
and supportive home environment and and adults. This requires educational lead-
who are generally successful in their ership and school personnel who are will-
academic studies must still attend school ing to work cooperatively as a team, each
with those who are less fortunate or who fulfilling their particular role (Lee, 1995).
are temporarily struggling with difficult
problems. Of course, all students have
typical problems and concerns associated
with their developmental stages. Some
experience these problems to a greater
extent than others, including intensity,
severity, frequency, and duration.

Educational Media Corporation® 49

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

A Comprehensive Guidance school, there may be a curriculum special-

ist who helps develop, coordinate, and
and Counseling Program supervise the delivery of courses and their
Herr (2001) described how a young respective content. The guidance program
school counseling profession evolved in also has a school-wide focus and-while
response to prominent national policy everyone in the school might play a part
initiatives, economic trends, pressing so- in the delivery of guidance curriculum-
cial needs, and school reform movements. responsibility for the program usually
However, most of the prevailing advocates rests with school counselors.
for national school reform, by and large, School counselors must provide the
pay little attention to the personal or leadership that is needed to develop
emotional needs and interests of students. a comprehensive guidance program.
Rather, reform advocates talk about rais- Through collaboration and consulta-
ing academic standards, lengthening the tion with other professionals in a school,
school day, implementing state-mandated counselors influence the learning climate.
curricula, holding schools more account- They are advocates for students and seek
able for student achievement based on to enhance student achievement through
standardized tests, and giving school guidance and counseling services.
"report cards."
Comprehensive guidance and coun-
School guidance and counseling seling programs have attempted to trans-
programs are almost never mentioned in form and reinvigorate the roles, duties,
eminent published reports that describe and functions performed by school
the condition of the nation's schools and counselors. The critical need to trans-
the need for reform. Typically, guidance form school counseling from a marginal,
programs are excluded when implications peripheral service to a program central to
for educational excellence are described. the mission of each school has been well-
Guidance programs appear to be an ad- recognized (Brown & Trusty, 2005; Gys-
dendum of teacher and administrative bers, 2001; Gysbers & Henderson, 2000;
efforts, but of no special importance in Dollarhide & Saginak, 2008; Schmidt,
terms of the overall school curriculum 2008).
and services. Counselors are the unknown
helpers. Statewide competency-based testing
results are a high priority in K-12 schools.
Every school has a guidance program. The No Child Left Behind Act (2001)
Some are better organized and more established math and reading testing
comprehensive than others. To begin, the requirements. Funds were authorized for
administrative office of a school is the states to select or develop their own tests.
official source of authority and is respon- Test scores and high school and college
sible for the management and supervision graduation rates highlighted the "achieve-
of a school's general operations. Building ment gap" between minority and majori-
administrators, such as principals and ty students (Clark & Amatea, 2004, Isaacs,
their assistants, typically focus on school 2003).
discipline, public relations, and making
sure school board school policies and
procedures are followed. Support services
consist of various helpers, including at-
tendance officers, nurses, school psychol-
ogists, media specialists, and school coun-
selors. Depending upon the size of the

50 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 2 Developmental Guidance: A Comprehensive Approach

Paisley (2001) cautioned school Such a model can serve as a template

counselors should remember they cannot for the development of a school counsel-
work in isolation and provide the types ing program. Counselors can adapt the
of services, programs, experiences, and framework to their current programs and
environments that are necessary in a com- interventions. Special consideration can
prehensive school counseling program. be given to school history, demographic
She suggested counselors think in terms make up and needs of a community, fac-
of collaborative school counseling pro- ulty expertise, and district resources.
grams. Additionally, counselor interven- The model is flexible because it seems
tions seemed to be more effective when impossible to develop one ideal program
they are part of a multifaceted yet inte- that could be used throughout the na-
grated program. (Paisley & Hayes, 2000; tion in every school. There is too much
Keys & Lockhart, 2000). At the same time, variance among states, communities,
counselors, with limited time, can feel and schools, as well as student needs
overwhelmed with the challenge of joint and interests across age and grade lev-
planning, goal setting, and organizing a els. However, the ASCA model identifies
collaborative intervention. This is espe- fundamental domains, standards, student
cially true for beginning counselors (Sink competencies, and those responsible for
& Yillik-Downer, 2001). delivering the program, as well as a pro-
When ASCA published the National fessional counselor's role and function.
Standards for School Counseling Programs All comprehensive guidance programs
(Campbell & Dahir, 1997), it emphasized have a written philosophy, a rationale,
a shift from counselor services to pro- and a counseling curriculum. Certified
grams and working closely with teachers professional school counselors provide
and administrators to promote student the leadership for organizing compre-
achievement. This accented the idea hensive developmental school counsel-
counselors were concerned about all stu- ing programs, which offer a full range
dents, but particularly responsive to those of activities and services. The heart of a
who were at-risk. school counselor's work is built around
In 2001, The American School Coun- individual and small group counseling,
selor Association (ASCA) sponsored a large group guidance, peer helper training
national summit meeting of professional and projects, consultation, and program
leaders to review and discuss the most coordination. These also might be viewed
important elements of a model for school as counselor interventions and they can
counseling programs. Special consider- feature a team approach in which all
ation was given to the ASCA National school personnel are involved (Baker,
Standards that were developed in 1997. 2000; Borders & Drury, 1992; Paisley &
After extensive review and synthesis of Borders, 1995; Paisley & McMahon, 2001).
state, district, and site models, ASCA Developmental theory and principles
outlined a national model that provided are evident in all of the components of a
a framework around which school guid- comprehensive school counseling pro-
ance and counseling programs could be gram. The program is proactive and pre-
developed. A developmental approach ventive in nature. The goal is to promote
was embodied in the model with an personal and academic development by
emphasis on providing guidance services assisting students in acquiring knowledge,
for all students in a school, rather than a skills, behaviors, and attitudes necessary
selected few.

Educational Media Corporation® 51

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

for problem solving and decision making The model further consists of four
in order to master developmental tasks interactive program components that
and be successful (Outerbridge, 1999). delineate the major activities and respon-
Herr and Cramer (1996) were among sibilities of personnel involved in the
the first to propose a systems approach guidance program. They are:
that linked desired outcomes to specific • Guidance curriculum, or structured
elements in a comprehensive guidance classroom activities, organized around
and counseling program. It was assumed domains of student competencies;
a program's ability to promote student • Individual planning, including activi-
growth is maximized when the condition- ties to assist students in monitoring
al fit between learners and curricula is im- and understanding their growth and
proved. School counselors were charged development;
with connecting specific resources to
different types of learners, under different • Responsive services, with such as
school conditions, and promoting differ- information seeking, crisis counseling,
ent types of student development. and consultation with teachers and
Norman C. Gysbers and his associ-
ates have been developing and refining a • System support, with activities geared
comprehensive guidance program model toward program management and
for the past three decades. It features an operations. (Gysbers & Henderson,
organizational plan that has been adopted 2000).
by many school districts throughout the One central theme that connects ear-
nation. The foundation of the model is lier work to the present has been a long-
lodged in self-development of a person's term commitment to define the essential
life span with an emphasis on the knowl- work of the school counselor around ac-
edge, skills, and attitudes needed for tivities that can be shown to bring about
career development. Accordingly, this desired student outcomes. Comprehen-
model emphasizes three domains of hu- sive guidance and counseling programs
man growth and development: have been conceptualized as results-based
• Self-knowledge and interpersonal skills. systems that construct essential coun-
Helping students to develop aware- selor roles around critical outcomes to be
ness and acceptance of themselves achieved by all students (ASCA, 1999b;
and others and to develop personal Gysbers & Henderson, 2000; Herr, 2001;
standards and a sense of purpose in Johnson & Johnson, 1982).
life. Johnson and Johnson (1982), several
• Life roles, settings, and events. Empha- years ago, made a strong case for view-
sizing knowledge and understanding ing school guidance and counseling as a
of the interrelatedness of various life results-based program. They believed if
roles. essential desired outcomes can be defined,
then processes to accomplish these goals
• Life career planning. Appraising person- can be identified. Further, counselor roles
al values as they relate to prospective and program elements should evolve and
life career plans and decisions. adapt in order to maximize the eventual
outcomes. Likewise, Vanzandt & Hayslip
(2001) advocated counselors move toward

52 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 2 Developmental Guidance: A Comprehensive Approach

a program rather than services model and A National Model for

to focus on three different kinds of out-
comes: program, student, and counselor School Counseling
outcomes. No matter whether you work in an
Mitchell and Gysbers (1980) sug- elementary setting, on a college campus,
gested comprehensive guidance and or somewhere in between, the American
counseling programs also have a built-in School Counselor Association works to
self-correcting system. based on four inter- ensure it meets the needs of all profes-
related processes: planning, designing, sional school counselors, regardless of
implementing, and evaluating. setting, experience level, or needs. With a
membership of more than 25,000 school
Defining the essential work of the counselors, ASCA focuses on providing
school counselor requires practitioners professional development, enhancing
and counselor educators to continually school counseling programs, and research-
ask and re-conceptualize answers to sever- ing effective school counseling practices.
al fundamental questions. The continuing ASCA also is a division of the American
development of the profession depends Counseling Association.
upon the ability to improve answers to
such questions as (Ellis, 1991): ASCA approved the development
of a national model for school counsel-
• How can counselor roles, duties, func- ing programs and, at the ASCA Tucson
tions, and interventions be trans- National Summit Meeting for School
formed to be of greater benefit and Counseling Programs (2001), measures
impact for all students? were taken to outline it. The idea was to
• How can counselor time on task be provide a framework to organize school
redistributed to maximize benefits for counseling and guidance programs where
all students? the school counselor served as a program
• How can a program be tailored to bet- leader. It also followed the ASCA National
ter meet the needs of each school? Standards, developed in 1997 (Campbell
& Dahir, 1997; Dahir, Sheldon, & Valiga,
• How can the program become cen-
1998), and advocated school counselors
tral to the overriding mission of each
switch their emphasis from service-cen-
tered for some students to program-cen-
• How can better partnerships between tered for every student.
school personnel, parents, and busi-
The standards in this model advocate
ness and community leaders be estab-
a shift from the traditional service/activ-
ity approach to a programmatic approach
• How can counselors better advocate that is comprehensive and developmen-
for their programs with local, state, tal. It emphasizes measuring program
and national policy makers? effectiveness and student achievement, at-
This book, in subsequent chapters, titudes, skills, and knowledge (Dollarhide
will answer these questions and spell out & Saginak, 2008).
the role of school counselors. In addition,
special attention will be given to various
ways a counselor can intervene to help
accomplish the goals of a comprehensive
developmental guidance program.

Educational Media Corporation® 53

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

School counselors are viewed as lead- Counselor Job Satisfaction

ers in a school. They are proficient in
Despite numerous demands and a
retrieving school data and analyzing it to
changing focus on roles and functions,
improve student success. The data is used
school counselors, in general, are satisfied
to seek educational equity for all students.
with their jobs. For instance, more than
As leaders, they must be action-oriented
90 percent of Virginia elementary school
(Davis, 2005). They must tell and sell their
counselors surveyed in 2001 said they
program and be accountable to others.
were satisfied or mostly satisfied in their
Through collaboration with other pro- positions. However, many reported deep
fessionals in the school building, school concerns regarding mandated statewide
counselors are encouraged to influence accountability testing, cutbacks in per-
systemic change and become an advocate sonnel, school violence, and increasingly
for students (Schwallie-Giddis, ter Maat, & having to take on non-guidance duties.
Pak, 2003). Specifically, 65 percent of surveyed coun-
Since it was not likely one ideal selors reported state-mandated account-
program would fit every school through- ability testing negatively affected their job
out the nation, the ASCA model was satisfaction (DeMato & Curcio, 2004).
designed to be a guide for developing a In a similar study, Baggerly and
comprehensive guidance and counseling Osborn (2006) surveyed Florida counsel-
program. It identified important program ors across elementary, middle, and high
elements such as beliefs and philosophy, schools. A majority of respondents across
mission, and three broad student learning the three levels reported being either
domains: academic, career, and personal/ "very satisfied" in their positions (40%) or
social. "somewhat satisfied" (45%). They also re-
Further, the model emphasizes a ported their positions had become "much
program should assist students to achieve more stressful" or "somewhat more stress-
desired competencies and outcomes. This ful" (87% of elementary school counsel-
would be done by a delivery system that ors, 95% of middle school counselors, and
gives attention to a guidance curriculum 92% of high school counselors), because
(K-12) and a management system that of new mandates for testing and student
is data-driven and identifies counselor achievement.
responsibilities. An accountability plan The researchers also asked respon-
that deals with counselor and program dents to report the frequency with which
evaluation is in place. As school counsel- they performed appropriate and inappro-
ors make efforts to implement the ASCA priate school counselor duties as defined
National Model, they also must comply by ASCA. School counselor respondents
with increasing demands for their time who implemented appropriate duties
and skills (Baggerly & Osborn, 2006). more frequently indicated greater job sat-
They must be able to manage their time. isfaction, while those who implemented
inappropriate duties more frequently
indicated decreased job satisfaction .

54 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 2 Developmental Guidance: A Comprehensive Approach

The relationships between "matter- Roles of School Personnel

ing to others, " job-related stress, and job
satisfaction was examined in one national in Guidance
study (Rayle, 2006). School counselors It is a mistake to think guidance and
implementing comprehensive guidance counseling services are the function of
programs reported greater perceptions specialists alone. This could lead to a
of mattering to others. This, in turn, was crisis-type approach, as there are not
reflected in higher rates of job satisfaction enough specialists employed in schools to
along with reduced levels of job-related meet the needs of students.
stress. The conclusion was the school Good guidance permeates the school
counseling profession needs to continue environment. Where specific guidance
drawing upon the ASCA National Model and counseling programs are present,
as a means of defining and advocating there also is better school morale among
the role of school counselors, including students and teachers. There is a positive
further delineating appropriate and inap- feeling that can be experienced through-
propriate work activities and functions. out the school. But, effective programs
Bryant and Constantine (2006) take the cooperation and active participa-
studied the relationships between mul- tion of all school personnel.
tiple role balance, job satisfaction, and Schools across the nation are orga-
life satisfaction in a national sample of nized differently. Job titles and assign-
women school counselors. Those who re- ments vary from one school to another
ported role balance in their personal and and some schools have more personnel
professional lives also reported greater job and resources than others. Regardless, a
satisfaction and were more satisfied with comprehensive developmental guidance
their lives overall. Feeling overwhelmed program is built primarily on the work of:
by excessive or imbalanced roles might be (1) administrators; (2) teachers; (3) coun-
predictive of lower overall life satisfaction. selors; and (4) other support personnel.
Specifically, the researchers recom- Listed below are some of their basic job
mended the ongoing development of functions in a guidance program.
counselor role statements that strengthen
and define job roles. School counselors Principal
need to advocate for themselves and take • To provide leadership for the guidance
leadership in shaping their roles within program.
school systems (Clemens, Milsom, &
Cashwell, 2009). • To provide personnel to the school's
guidance committee. This committee
will probably consist of representa-
tives from each teaching team and be
co-chaired by a school counselor and
a teacher.
• To provide administrative support and
• To participate actively in defining and
clarifying the guidance assignments
and roles.
• To provide adequate time, space,
facilities, and materials needed to
implement the program.

Educational Media Corporation® 55

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

• To consult with the guidance commit- School Counselors

tee regarding the organization, moni- • To assume leadership in organizing
toring, and evaluation of the guidance and developing a comprehensive de-
program. velopmental guidance and counseling
• To see guidance services are imple- program.
mented and evaluated. • To provide individual counseling ser-
• To help identify guidance needs in the vices to students.
school and to recommend possible • To provide small group counseling
guidance units or interventions. And, services to students.
on occasion, to co-lead a guidance
activity with a teacher or counselor. • To organize and lead large group guid-
ance units, sessions, and activities.
• To establish supportive and coop-
erative working relationships among • To train and coordinate peer facilita-
administrators, counselors, teachers, tors and related projects.
and other student service specialists. • To consult with parents, teachers, and
• To assist in the establishment of a administrators regarding special con-
comprehensive guidance plan and cerns and needs of students.
structure, including a teacher-advisor • To consult with teachers and adminis-
program that can be implemented trators about guidance and counseling
within the school's schedule. interventions for students.
• To communicate the philosophy and • To develop guidance units that evolve
structure of the program to parents from student needs and assessments.
and the general public. • To help develop and coordinate a
• To consult with the guidance commit- teachers as advisors program (TAP).
tee regarding special issues, concerns, • To co-lead, on occasion, a guidance
or problems that develop among unit or session with a teacher, perhaps
students and school personnel. during TAP.
• To serve as a professional resource to
teacher-advisors about brief counsel-
ing and behavior change.
• To help identify students who have
special needs or problems and to help
find alternative education or guidance
services for them.
• To coordinate faculty and staff devel-
opment programs related to guidance.
• To coordinate other guidance related
services (student assessment, advise-
ment, community resources, special
education, and placement).

56 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 2 Developmental Guidance: A Comprehensive Approach

Teachers School Registrar

• To help develop and implement a • To coordinate the student record
comprehensive developmental guid- keeping system in a school.
ance program within the school. • To take responsibility for communi-
• To help identify students who need cating new state, district, and school
special attention in learning more ef- policies related to student records and
fectively and efficiently. graduation requirements.
• To work as a teacher-advisor with ap- • To help identify target student popu-
proximately 20 to 25 students, meet- lations who might benefit from guid-
ing them individually and in a group ance and counseling programs and
during TAP time. activities.
• To attempt to know personally each • To maintain all student files pertinent
student who is in the TAP group. to graduation requirements, includ-
• To follow-up with advisees regarding ing: grades, grade-point averages, and
academic progress, grade reports, dis- a check of graduation requirements.
cipline referrals, special concerns, and • To register new students and place
general information. them in appropriate classes.
• To know their advisees' parents/guard- • To coordinate with counselors the
ians and work as a liaison between transition of individual students trans-
home and school, facilitating commu- ferring between schools, with special
nication. attention to those grade-level classes
• To build a group cohesiveness among of students entering and leaving the
an assigned TAP group of students so school.
they might be resources to one an- • To coordinate and maintain the
other. school's computerized record keeping
• To seek assistance for advisees whose system with that of the district office.
needs are beyond the limits of TAP or • To assist counselors, on occasion, in
classroom guidance. the delivery of appropriate large guid-
• To identify student needs and to make ance units that are related to student
recommendations to the Guidance transition, registration, records, and
Committee. graduation.
• To consult with counselors, and other
school personnel, regarding the guid-
ance needs of the advisees.
• To participate in staff-development
programs that will help in providing
guidance activities and "brief counsel-
ing" experiences for students.

Educational Media Corporation® 57

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Occupation Specialists or School Psychologist

Career Counselors • To diagnose and study individual stu-
• To develop and organize a compre- dents in terms of eligibility for special
hensive Career Resource Center. assistance and services.
• To collect and disseminate national, • To assess academic skills and aptitude
state, and local publications, materi- for learning.
als, and other career resources. • To determine social-emotional devel-
• To provide career development guid- opment and mental health status.
ance units that can be used during • To evaluate various aspects of a
TAP time. student's home and school experi-
• To co-lead TAP advisory groups with ences and to make recommendations
teachers on occasion and when appro- for guidance services and educational
priate. placement.
• To consult with teachers regarding • To provide intensive individual and
career interests, skills, and aptitudes of group counseling or remediation
student advisees. interventions for dysfunctioing stu-
• To help identify the career interests
and needs of students. • To work as a liaison between school
and community psychological re-
• To work with students and parents in
terms of career and educational plan-
ning. • To help design educational and
therapeutic strategies for students who
• To create career guidance connections
need special assistance and services.
on the Internet.
• To consult with teachers, counselors,
• To develop organized guidance units
and others in a school regarding the
that help students explore post-sec-
limitations, strengths, and special
ondary career and educational oppor-
needs of students.
• To organize, lead, and take an active
role in child study teams, particularly
those staffmgs regarding children with
exceptional needs and their educa-
tional placement.

58 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 2 Developmental Guidance: A Comprehensive Approach

School Social Worker Other Administrators

• To work with needy families and and Support Staff
coordinate guidance interventions Other support staff and administrators
between school and home. might include: attendance officers, deans
• To serve as a liaison between the or assistant principals, activities directors
school and public health and rehabili- and coordinators, placement specialists,
tation agencies. speech therapists, special education teach-
• To study individual students and ers and aides, guidance technicians, and
their family situations, providing case paraprofessionals. Their roles and func-
information that is relevant to school tions related to developmental guidance
guidance and counseling interven- might consist of the following:
tions. • To work with a TAP group when ap-
• To consult with school and district propriate to reduce the number of
personnel regarding the needs of students assigned to teachers.
families and implications for educat- • To help identify student needs and
ing children in schools. interests.
• To help find outside resources for stu- • To co-lead, on occasion, guidance
dents and families. units or sessions.
• To help teachers follow-up with spe-
cific advisees.
• To lead a guidance unit that has been
specifically designed for the special
needs of some students.
• To lead a special group of advisees
who have been identified as needing
special attention, such as those who
have not been able to adjust to TAP
group settings and activities.
• To assume responsibility for duties
that need attention during TAP time
so teachers and others may make the
most use of TAP.

Educational Media Corporation® 59

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

These roles are meant to give school
personnel some responsibility and direc-
tion. They revolve around traditional
roles and expectations, but they highlight
job functions as related to a comprehen-
sive developmental guidance program.
There are probably other job assign-
ments, duties, and responsibilities. The
lists are not meant to be all-inclusive.
However, if these roles are ignored or
neglected, then the guidance program
will probably suffer and personnel will
School counselors must formulate a
common rationale and perspective for
their role, which is different from other
professionals. The role must be a specialty,
with a core of interventions that gives
them an identity. Clearly, a focus on pre-
vention distinguishes the developmental
counselor from those in clinical practice.
Preventing a problem from occurring may
not be as dramatic as treating a mentally
disordered patient, but it is an essential
contribution to schools and society.
The concept of early intervention
leads counselors and other specialists
to work with normal, healthy students
when they are at risk, but before problems
become severe. Recognizing early warning
signs and providing effective interven-
tions can produce long-lasting positive
results. It is the emphasis on wellness, re-
sponsible citizenship, empowering youth
in positive ways, and increased produc-
tivity that helps distinguish the develop-
mental counselor from others.

60 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

The Teacher
as Student Advisor

Our schools have accommodated the The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
public for many years, adjusting success- is a reform of the Elementary and Sec-
fully to a host of demands. More students ondary Education Act (ESEA), which was
from different ethnic, cultural, and social enacted in 1965. It redefined the federal
backgrounds are being served in our role in K-12 education and attempted to
schools. More physically and intellectual- close the achievement gap between disad-
ly impaired students, who were previously vantaged and minority students and their
ignored or pushed out, are being included more successful classmates. It is based on
in the mainstream of school experiences. four basic principles: stronger account-
Experimental and alternative education ability for results, increased flexibility
programs of many kinds have been intro- and local control, expanded options for
duced as the schools try to be a cure for parents, and an emphasis on teaching
all of the nation's social ills. Yet, there also methods that have been proven to work.
has been an erosion of public confidence Some people say there is a "tide of
in the nation's schools. mediocrity" in the schools, as indicated
There is a concern, almost a post-Sput- by declining achievement scores on na-
nik echo, our nation is at risk due to the tional tests, although it appears this trend
failings of its educational system. National is reversing itself. "Our students need
and state commissions have a history of to be more competitive with students
issuing reports that urge higher academic from other nations, whose performance
standards and push for educational excel- scores in math and science are higher
lence (e.g., Boyer, 1983; Gardner, 1983; than ours, is a statement that has be-

The State of America's Children, 2008). come a genuine concern among critics.
In response, almost every state legislature
passed laws requiring students to attend
school for longer hours, to take more aca-
demic classes, and to pass more subjects.

Educational Media Corporation® 61

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Unfortunately, legislators tend to Surprisingly, very little attention, if

ignore problems in the schools that de- any, was given to school guidance in the
tract from the learning environment. For recent state and national reports. It is as
example: though guidance is a fringe benefit in-
• Thirty nine percent of high school se- stead of being directly linked with student
niors reported something being stolen learning. None of the reports mentioned a
from them (Condition of Education, guidance curriculum or the need for more
2001, National Center for Education guidance and counseling services. Rather,
Statistics, 2001). the emphasis for change has been primar-
ily on proficiency in the core curriculum
• Each year, 253,000 teachers are threat- areas of English, math, science, and social
ened with injury in the U.S.A. 127,500 studies.
are physically attacked by students.
The pattern shows higher incidents in Yet, we know learning is a conse-
urban settings, in secondary schools, quence of the environment, for better or
and with female teachers (Pytel, 2010). for worse. Teachers and students working
together create a learning climate, which
• Forty percent of students indicated plays a critical role in educational excel-
the behavior of other students in lence. If students are to learn more ef-
their school definitely or somewhat fectively and efficiently, to achieve more
interferes with their own performance academically, and to be productive and
(State of America's Children, 2008). responsible citizens, then developmen-
• Despite a dramatic decline in juvenile tal guidance must be a part of the total
violent crimes in the 1990s, the over- school experience.
all percentage of students who report
being threatened or injured with a
weapon at school has remained rela-
tively stable since 1993. Boys experi-
ence almost twice as many incidents
as girls (National Crime Victimization
Survey, 2007).
• Although the proportion of students
in grades 9-12 who had been in at
least one physical fight on school
property decreased from 43 percent
in 1991 to 33 percent in 2003, it was
36 percent in 2007. The prevalence
of not having gone to school because
of safety concerns ranged from 3.8
percent to 9.0 percent across state
surveys. (Youth Risk Behavior Surveil-
lance, 2008).

62 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 3 The Teacher as Student Advisor

Teacher Concerns It is a myth students will, for certain,

receive individual attention and counsel-
There were 98, 793 public schools ing from their school counselors. There
and 28,218 private schools in 2007-08. are not enough of them to realistically
Approximately 56 million students were meet that expectation. More often than
expected to be enrolled in the nation's not, students who receive counseling are
elementary through high schools (grades self-referred or referred by teachers.
K-12) in 2010. Of these, 10.7 million of
school-age children (5 .to 17) speak a lan- Teachers have consistently expressed
guage other than English at home. their concerns about students who are dis-
ruptive, who are disrespectful of teachers,
Expenditures for education in the who use obscene language, who are tardy
nation reach into the billions of dollars. or frequently absent, or who lie, cheat, or
Most of the schools offer a comprehen- deface school property. Many teachers are
sive curriculum and may provide other unsure of what to do with students who
programs and services as well. A smaller are unmotivated, depressed, withdrawn,
number of schools focus primarily on resentful, discouraged, and who are hav-
special education, vocational/technical ing conflicts with peers or parents.
education, or alternative programs.
Teachers also worry about students
Approximately 7.2 million teach- who do not follow classroom or school
ers are employed in these schools. Some
pro~edures, who are unresponsive to sug-
2.9 million teach at the elementary and gestions, and who appear unwilling to
middle school level. The remainder teach change. They are concerned about school
at the postsecondary, secondary, and pre- discipline. Student-teacher relationships
school and kindergarten levels (Statistical appear to be the central issue of these
Abstract of the United States, 2010). concerns.
Counselors held about 665,500 jobs in Two out of five of America's teachers
2008. Employment was distributed among appear disheartened and disappointed
the counseling specialties as follows:
about their jobs Gohnson, Rochkind, &
• Educational, vocational, and Ott, 2010). Despite the many frustrations
school counselors .................... 275,800 of_ teaching, almost half of those surveyed
• Rehabilitation counselors ........ 129,500 said they were more enthusiastic about
teaching than when they first entered the
• Mental health counselors ........ 113,300
• Substance abuse and behavioral
Furthermore, three-fourths of those
disorder counselors .................... 86, 100
who considered leaving the profession but
• Marriage and family therapists .. 27,300 stayed did so because of the satisfaction
• Counselors, all other. ................. 33,400 they derive from their relationships with
Overall employment of counselors students! These teachers have many of
is expected to increase by 14 percent the same complaints as the teachers who
between 2008 and 2018, which is faster left-inadequate compensation, limited
than the average for all occupations (Oc- resources, lack of professionalism, and in-
cupational Outlook Handbook, 2010). Yet, creasing student needs and problems-but
the ratio of counselor to students remains they like teaching young people and the
unreasonably high in many schools. personal rewards it brings.

Educational Media Corporation® 63

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Many teachers need help in un- The Teacher and

derstanding students. They need more
classroom management skills or new School Guidance
ways of building positive working rela- The first books about school guidance
tionships with students. They also need were directed exclusively to classroom
to reexamine the guidance services that teachers. For many years, there were so
are available to students in their schools few counselors or other support person-
and to clarify teacher roles in a guidance nel that the only way students received
program. personal guidance was through their
Approximately 70 percent of teachers classroom teachers. Good teaching was
surveyed rated counseling services for stu- considered good guidance.
dents as either "fair" or "poor." This may Since the 1960s, studies have shown
be attributed to ineffective traditional the way teachers interact with students
guidance and counseling methods, which can make a difference in how well stu-
too often rely on individual counseling at dents learn. If students see their teachers
critical moments. Counselors were seen as as caring and interested in them, then
administrative assistants and having too they are more likely to be inspired and to
little time to counsel. Even when coun- enjoy going to school. They feel encour-
seling took place, it seemed to have little aged and try harder.
impact on student attitudes or behavior. Interestingly enough, effective teach-
Developmental guidance and counseling ers have the same characteristics as effec-
approaches are uncommon in many of tive guidance and counseling specialists.
the schools that were surveyed. Among these are the willingness and
In a developmental guidance pro- ability to:
gram, teachers are encouraged to work • See the student's point of view.
personally with students. More time is
made available for teachers and students • Personalize the education experience.
to become better acquainted and there are • Facilitate a class discussion where stu-
more opportunities to build close working dents listen and share ideas.
relationships, which benefit both students • Develop a helping relationship with
and teachers. students and parents.
• Organize personal learning experi-
• Be flexible.
• Be open to trying new ideas.
• Model interpersonal and communica-
tion skills.
• Foster a positive learning environ-
It appears good guidance and good
teaching are closely related in terms of a
helping relationship (Bauer, Sapp, & John-
son, 2000).

64 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 3 The Teacher as Student Advisor

In a major study focused on the value First, counselors often lack the vis-
of teacher-student relationships, Aspy, ibility of teachers or student peers. Sec-
Aspy, Russell, and Wedel (2000) surveyed ond, their image often is too aligned with
600 teachers and 10,000 students. Their authority, discipline, and administrative
results showed the students of teach- procedures. In fact, it is not uncommon
ers who were trained to offer high levels to see professional counselors near the
of empathy, congruence, and positive bottom of a student's list of potential
regard missed fewer days of school, had helpers because of the image they have
increased scores on self.:concept measures, among students. One group of high
and made greater gains on academic school students, for example, portrayed
achievement measures. They also pre- their counselors in a school skit as be-
sented fewer disciplinary problems, com- ing large computer-like boxes that kept
mitted fewer acts of vandalism to school repeating impersonally, "Sorry, but that's
property, increased their IQ test scores, the policy... but that's the policy... but
made gains in creativity scores, were more that's the policy."
spontaneous, and used higher levels of Teachers have a long history of help-
thinking. The study also showed these ing students who have personal problems.
benefits were cumulative; the more years Some teachers continue to be a source of
in succession the students had a high guidance to their students long after they
functioning teacher, the greater the gains have finished their studies at the school.
when compared with students of low This is especially true when the teacher-
functioning teachers. student relationship has been a personal
When students have problems, they and meaningful one to both parties. To
turn to those who they think can be build such a relationship, of course, takes
the most help. Surveys repeatedly show some time and a special set of experiences
elementary students first turn to their or circumstances.
parents and then to their teachers. Adoles- It also appears the most popular and
cents turn first to peers and then to rela- assertive students are usually the ones
tives and teachers. Generally, the first line who are able to establish endearing and
of helpers are among those people whom helpful relationships with their teachers.
students see almost every day, especially There are many students who need adult
if they have positive relationships with guidance and a mature relationship they
them. can draw upon. Yet, some of them are too
It may come as a surprise to some shy or withdrawn to reach out to teach-
people that school counselors and other ers for help. Some students assume they
support personnel, who are professionally are not liked well enough to compete
trained in helping people with personal with popular students for teacher atten-
problems, are usually not the students' tion. Still others are aware their attitudes
first choice of a helper. There are some and behaviors in school are not what is
good reasons. expected and assume teachers are not
interested or concerned about them.

Educational Media Corporation® 65

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Teachers are busy people and they of- A Student Assistance Team is com-
ten feel burdened with their responsibili- posed of school staff and, in some in-
ties. Their time is limited and they cannot stances, members of the larger commu-
build close personal relationships with all nity. The school staff can include: admin-
their students, especially at the second- istrators, classroom teachers, counselors,
ary level. The reality of schedules and social workers, support staff, custodians,
class arrangements in school frequently bus drivers, school resource officers, and
forces teachers to be selective and to take school nurses. Community members may
a greater interest in some students than include: clergy, medical professionals,
in others. The favored students receive mental health professionals, law enforce-
teacher support and personal guidance ment, business representatives, retirees,
while the others must turn elsewhere. and other community members.
Teachers can work well with troubled Teachers can do more than refer. They
students, if given the opportunity. In also can provide developmental guidance
one middle school study, students with as part of prevention education.
behavior problems were divided into two Elementary school teachers have
groups. One group received social skills traditionally accepted their roles as guid-
training from teachers and the other did ance teachers and recognized the value
not receive any particular help until the of classroom guidance. They work closely
study was completed. Significant changes with their students in self-contained class-
were found in favor of those who received rooms and the situation enables teachers
teacher help in social skills. Parents also to be keenly aware of student needs and
reported improvement in social behavior interests. Because they work with the
and self-esteem for the students in the same students for most of a school day,
treatment group. elementary school teachers have more
Student Assistance Programs are part opportunities to build close relationships
of many schools. SAP is a school-based, with their students and to provide them
organized system for prevention, iden- timely guidance lessons and activities.
tification, and intervention for students Secondary school teachers, on the
with identified needs that may affect other hand, work with a larger number of
school performance and healthy develop- students and spend a limited amount of
ment. There are methods for identifying time with them. For example, it is com-
and screening student and family needs, mon for many of the core curriculum
appropriate referrals, and various strate- teachers in junior and high schools to
gies for supporting students. In this case, have six classes, with as many as 30 or
training of teachers often is related to more students in each class. A high school
helping them identify and monitor prob- teacher may meet with more than 180
lem behaviors and then make referrals to students a day, seeing each of them for
SAP for assessment and assistance. less than an hour in a class where academ-
ic skills are emphasized. It is no wonder so
few secondary school teachers understand
the needs, interests, and problems of their

66 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 3 The Teacher as Student Advisor

Teachers as Teachers have regular academic as-

signments based on their interests and
Student Advisors training, but each teacher also has a group
There is a need for teachers to be of about 20 students or advisees. There
directly involved in developmental may be fewer or more advisees, depend-
guidance. The single most innovative ing upon the number of students who
approach to meeting this need has been attend a school and the number of faculty
through programs where teachers are and staff who are available to be student
designated as student advisors and they advisors. The best ratio is about 1 to 15
are assigned a group of students who students, but, in practice, it has been
are their advisees. This often is called an lower in a few cases and it has been as
advisor-advisee program or a teacher-ad- high as 1 to 30 when space and personnel
visor program (TAP). Some have called it a were limited.
student-advocacy program. It is designed It is assumed each student needs a
to provide continuous adult guidance friendly adult in the school who knows
within a school (Dale, 1995). lt is an old and cares about the student in a personal
and obvious solution to school-wide guid- way. The advisors are responsible for help-
ance that is once again timely. ing their advisees to deal with the prob-
The need for more advisement by lems of growing up and getting the most
teachers and counselors was supported by out of school. It is the advisor-advisee
a decades long Missouri needs survey. It relationship that is the core of guidance
showed about 48 percent of the students in a school (Myrick & Myrick, 1990).
had not spoken with a school counselor A teacher-advisor is usually respon-
regarding future educational and voca- sible for an advisee's cumulative folder,
tional plans and only 52 percent believed work folders, teacher-student confer-
the schools had provided opportunities ences, parent conferences, group guidance
for parents to discuss their children's experiences, and follow-up on academic
educational plans. Moreover, 41 percent progress reports. Advisors also consult
of the students felt they did not know with other teachers, school counselors,
one teacher well enough to whom they and support personnel about their advi-
might talk if they had a problem Qohn- sees (Ackerman, 2007).
son & Salmon, 1979). Years later, the
Gates Foundation study in 2009 reached Teacher-advisors meet with their
the same conclusion (Gates Foundation, advisees regularly during homebase group
2010). time. This time and place is a home
within the school for students. It is here
The teacher advisor-advisee concept they have a supportive group of peers
was highlighted when it was first intro- with whom they can explore their per-
duced into the middle schools. Middle sonal interests, goals, and concerns. It is
schools, following the lead of elementary here issues that get in the way of effective
schools, place an emphasis on develop- academic learning can be addressed.
mental guidance. Students are no longer
in self-contained classes with one teacher These homebase periods are about
as they were in the elementary schools. 25-30 minutes in length and preferably
Instead, they generally work with a team happen at the beginning of each school
of teachers and they also are assigned to a day. At least two days of the week are
homeroom or homebase group where they scheduled for developmental guidance
meet regularly with teacher-advisors (Alex-
ander & George, 1981; Michael, 1986).

Educational Media Corporation® 67

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

activities. The other three days are more The guidance units are organized
flexible and might be used for supervised sequentially according to a school's cal-
study, silent writing, silent reading, explo- endar and major events in a school year.
ration of music and the arts, clubs, or for For instance, an orientation unit might be
more guidance activities. presented in the homebase periods during
Some schools have other arrange- the first three weeks of school. It can help
ments for scheduling homebase meetings. students review and become more familiar
The five scheduled meetings described with school facilities, procedures, policies,
above seem ideal. Regardless, it appears and resources. A unit about study skills
the period should be no less than 25 typically follows this first unit. The idea
minutes if a guidance curriculum is to be is to assist advisees in developing better
delivered with any degree of effectiveness. study habits and thinking about how they
It takes that amount of time to guide stu- manage their time.
dents through almost any kind of struc- A third unit on self-assessment might
tured guidance activity. Less time leads to then follow. In this unit, students think
rushing and impatience. Teachers tend to about their classroom behaviors and what
talk more at students. Time must be man- must be done if they are to succeed. They
aged very carefully and there is a need to also identify areas of personal strengths
be task-oriented. Some guidance activi- and those areas upon which they want to
ties cannot be used if there is not enough improve.
time to experience them or discuss their Each guidance unit might be orga-
meaning. nized around the general scheme of six
Guidance in the middle schools em- sessions (5 + 1). That is, students take part
braces developmental guidance concepts. in guidance activities for five sessions and
The guidance curriculum, which for the then one session is used to help evaluate
most part is delivered in homebase meet- the unit. This enables teacher-advisors
ings, is based on the assumption certain to complete a unit with their advisees in
guidance experiences will help students three weeks if they are meeting twice a
personally, socially, and academically. The week. If the evaluation in the sixth ses-
curriculum can be organized into guid- sion showed the unit's objectives were not
ance units and sessions, each with guid- met or more time was needed for some
ance objectives and activities. Timewise, skills, then additional guidance sessions
there is a trade-off. When there is sched- could be scheduled.
uled time for guidance and other non-ac- Some sessions are more structured
ademic activities, there are fewer inter- than others. Some are designed to build
ruptions in normal classes and academic group cohesiveness and a sense of belong-
studies can be more productive. ing among the advisees in their homebase
A guidance unit focuses on a par- period. Other sessions attempt to antici-
ticular topic. Some representative units pate the developmental needs of students,
by topic and general objectives are listed while still other sessions depend upon
in Figure 3.1. The list is not meant to be what students want to talk about and the
all inclusive and, as occasions call for it, particular needs and interests that emerge.
other guidance units can be added in light Schools and communities differ and these
of special student needs or interests. differences can be reflected in the guid-
ance program.

68 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 3 The Teacher as Student Advisor

Figure 3.1
Developmental Guidance Units-TAP


To help advisor group members to know each other.
To build facilitative relationships within the group.
To lay the foundation for advisor-advisee group meetings.
To help advisees learn· how to participate in a group.
To help advisees make positive transitions in school.
To review school handbook and school procedures.


To evaluate one's study skills and habits.
To develop effective time-management plans.
To learn and practice classroom listening skills.
To identify various tests and test-taking situations.
To learn ways to cope with test-anxiety.
To understand grade point average (GPA) and report cards.
To discuss school success skills.

To identify classroom behaviors related to achievement.
To identify one's strengths in classroom behaviors.
To identify classroom behaviors that need to be improved.
To assess teacher-student relationships.
To assess attitudes about school, self, and others.
To set goals and learn to monitor progress.
To develop an appreciation of individual differences.
To identify one's interests, abilities, and uniqueness.


To learn how to be sensitive and "tune in" to others.
To learn how to be a careful listener.
To learn how to clarify and explore ideas.
To learn how to ask and to respond to thoughtful questions.
To learn ways to compliment and to confront others.
To identify behaviors which block effective communication.
To learn how to be an effective group participant.
To learn how one's behavior has an effect on others.

Educational Media Corporation® 69

Developmental Guidance and Counseling


To learn models for decision making and problem solving.
To learn how to identify alternatives and consequences.
To identify common teenage dilemmas and factors which influence decision making and
problem solving.
To show how decision making and problem solving skills can be used at home and
To examine the consequences of not meeting school and family obligations and respon-


To examine sex roles and sex stereotypes in society.
To develop positive ways of interacting with peers.
To recognize the power of peer influence.
To assess oneself and peer relationships.
To learn how to develop friendships.
To learn ways to resist undesirable peer pressure.
To increase awareness of how personal needs and interests affect relationships.

To become more aware of one's interests, needs, and desires.
To recognize how one's self-esteem and attitudes are related to the way in which a goal
is approached.
To recognize the value of setting personal goals.
To differentiate between intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.
To identify motivational techniques, such as goal setting, monitoring, self-talk, action
steps, and positive thinking.
To show how skills and practice are related to success.


To identify the nature of conflict, how and when it can occur.
To learn constructive ways of dealing with conflict.
To identify conflicts related to developmental stages of life.
To practice applying communication skills to conflict moments.
To identify how conflict resolution skills can be applied with teachers, parents, or peers.

70 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 3 The Teacher as Student Advisor

To identify common health problems in our society.
To identify positive aspects of living a healthy life.
To discuss how exercise, nutrition, positive attitudes, and personal living habits can affect
one's life.
To be aware of the characteristics of "high risk" people, such as: alcohol and drug abus-
ers, those who are suicidal, and potential dropouts.
To examine the value of wellness and prevention strategies.
To examine the long-range consequences of abusive behaviors.
To develop and practice effective ways of coping with stress.


To examine the affect of changing times on the world of work.
To recognize job opportunities and their value to society.
To identify how jobs, occupations, and careers are related to one's interests, needs, skills,
and opportunities.
To identify tentative job goals.
To become aware of the factors that influence job choice.
To recognize how job goals are related to success in school.
To identify how job tasks relate to skills learned in school.


To recognize options that are available for planning.
To understand the need to plan ahead.
To learn a language of educational planning (common terms).
To learn the sequence of academic courses.
To identify academic requirements and electives.
To develop an educational plan for middle or high school.
To register for next year's courses.


To develop pride in the community.
To identify responsibilities of citizens in the community.
To see the value of volunteering for community service.
To identify ways in which young people can help make the community and neighbor-
hoods better places to live.
To see oneself as a valuable contributor to the community.

Educational Media Corporation® 71

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

One teacher-advisor argued students TAP: An Essential

did not like or benefit from a study skills
unit which had been delivered during Guidance Program
homeroom guidance. However, further If the teachers are to be part of a
examination showed the teacher was school's guidance program, then they
depending exclusively upon printed ma- must have time to meet with students.
terials which told students how to study. Homeroom or homebase periods can
The materials were distributed for study provide time regularly. The teachers as ad-
during homebase and students answered visors concept makes a guidance program
questions related to them. This teacher manageable and enables more students
missed the point of how homebase time to benefit from guidance and counseling
can be used and the value of a teacher- services.
advisor program. The same concepts that have proven
It was suggested the teacher put aside their value in the middle school also make
the materials for the time being and the sense for high schools. In fact, we can use
students be encouraged to talk about the term TAP (Teacher-Advisor Program)
study habits from their own experiences. to refer to either a middle or high school
It was a time to find out how they ap- guidance program that involves teachers
proached their homework. What seemed working with groups of students as advi-
to work for them and what did not? In sors.
addition, advisees could develop their Although developmental stages and
own plans based upon information that tasks are different for older adolescents,
came out of the group's discussion. This the need to provide developmental
type of approach made the topic person- learning conditions and developmental
ally meaningful and led to the use of the guidance remains the same. There is still
printed materials later when there was a need to assist students in their intellec-
student readiness to examine them. tual, social, and personal growth. There
When videotapes of teachers' class- may even be a more pronounced need to
room instruction in the United States, personalize and humanize education.
Germany, and Japan were compared Interestingly enough, the activities
(Stigler, 2000), the problem in the United and discussions will change at different
States was not the teachers, but teaching. grade levels as students get older, but the
American teachers, for example, relied topics and focal points can still be timely.
more on rote procedures and memo- For instance, high school students will
rization. They were less likely to push have different challenges and ideas when
students to solve problems or gain under- it comes to managing their time than
standing of underlying concepts. middle school students.
Conditions need to improve so Teacher-Advisor Program (TAP) is a
schools become places where teachers generic term. Such programs have been
have the time and support to examine, referred to as "homebase" in the second-
share, and revise their lessons so students ary schools and as "classroom guidance"
are engaged in the learning process. in the elementary schools. TAP is equated
Guidance units in TAP provide excellent with teacher-led large group guidance,
opportunities for teachers to experiment regardless of grade level. The primary re-
with new methods that encourage stu- quirement is that a certain period of time
dents to participate and share their ideas be set aside during the week to address
in group discussions. developmental guidance topics.

72 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 3 The Teacher as Student Advisor

Teacher-Advisor Programs have been The Ferguson-Florissant School Dis-

given special titles to help students and trict, Ferguson, Missouri, started a high
others identify these base time periods. school advisement program that was part
Here are a few secondary programs: of a project funded by the Kettering Foun-
• Prime Time (Sarasota, Florida) dation. The program was later revised and
expanded under ESEA Title IV-C funds
• Quality Time (Tampa, Florida) and, subsequently, became a validated
• Our Time (Green Bay, Wisconsin) model program for many other school dis-
• PRIDE (Overland Park Kansas) tricts. The program provided more com-
prehensive guidance services to students.
• DISCOVERY (Huntsville, Alabama)
Other high school programs, particularly
• STAR (Irvine, California) in such states as Maryland, New Jersey,
• TS-30 (La Porte, Indiana) and Georgia, have helped demonstrate
• BEST TIME (Brandon, South Dakota) the value of TAP. Special funds from out-
side sources can stimulate school districts
• REACH (Lakeville, Indiana) to develop such programs.
• DREW TAP (Detroit, Michigan) Between the years 1984 and 1989, the
Elementary school teachers generally Florida legislature appropriated approxi-
work with a self-contained group. They mately 25 million dollars for the imple-
act as teacher-advisors to their students. mentation of TAP in its public schools.
During the week or each day, a classroom This support recognized the program was
teacher might focus on developmental a valuable component in both middle and
guidance through such various activities high schools and teachers could play an
and programs. important role in guidance. The primary
One public high school created a intent from the outset was to help stu-
structured group program similar to TAP. dents cope with higher graduation re-
Volunteer faculty members, working quirements, which had been imposed as a
as co-leaders, met with interested stu- response to reports our nation was at risk
dents one SO-minute period per week for because of low educational standards.
10 weeks. Groups ranged from 8 to 16 The Florida Department of Education
students. Class periods were rotated each evaluated some outcomes of TAP, and
week so any particular class was missed when data were analyzed, it was evident
only once or twice a semester. Different the program had a positive impact on
topics received attention in each session students in the pilot schools. Credit was
and focused on such issues as women's given in evaluation reports for improved
issues, career exploration, coping with academic achievement, a reduction in
stress, separation and divorce, alcohol and failing grades, and an increase in higher
the family, newcomers to school, "seniori- test scores. Further results suggested that
tis," and learning disabilities. The topics in high schools with TAP, attendance
grew out of student interests as expressed improved 47 percent and more students
in a survey. took college entrance exams. The program
also was credited with helping reduce the
number of high school dropouts.

Educational Media Corporation® 73

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Each participating school was given Character education was given special
the opportunity to develop an organiza- attention during the 1990s, but the new
tional scheme. Most school employed a millennium brought a greater emphasis
TAP coordinator and an aide who helped on test performance and implied aca-
produce guidance units and materials. demic achievement. Still, character de-
Funds also were made available for teach- velopment is gaining more support from
er workshops and seminars for program parents, even though some are skeptical
and skill development. and worry the school might be teaching
Many high school teachers never had values that are best left to families and
a guidance course and are unsure of how their religious leaders. Some teachers are
to lead a group discussion with adoles- ambivalent for fear they may be treading
cents when there is no academic lesson on morality issues that are controver-
to be taught. It is difficult for them to put sial or could lead to lawsuits (Mathison,
aside old teacher modes and habits and 1998).
focus on being listeners and facilitators. The thrust is simply to help students
Many are uncertain as to how to use TAP learn and talk more about common core
time and far too many do not understand values, ethics, skills, and behaviors that
the basic principles of developmental are related to personal and civic responsi-
guidance. bility (DeRoche, 2000). ASCA (2005) en-
Yet, considerable progress has been dorses and supports character education
made within a short time. For instance, in the schools, declaring school counsel-
most of the Florida schools, after only five ors need to take an active role in initiat-
months of experience with TAP, moved in ing, facilitating, and promoting character
the direction of providing more time for education programs in the school curricu-
teachers to meet with advisees. Students lum. In one report, Schaeffer (1998) cited
in most schools liked TAP and wanted ten schools to illustrate successful efforts.
more time for the program. One middle school faculty decided
Administrators at Pasco High School, over the course of the school year they
Dade City, Florida, credited their TAP were going to use some of the TAP time to
program, which was one of the pilot look at important character traits. Because
schools in the state, for improving school all students (grades 6 to 8) took part in
attendance. The program was limited TAP, the entire school population was
since only poorly performing students involved.
who seemed to need help were scheduled Character traits were viewed as build-
to meet with teacher-advisors and orga- ing blocks for helping people to become
nized meetings happened only once every responsible learners and citizens. Be-
two weeks. However, because of the initial ing around people who have a positive
success of the program, more time was outlook on life and treat others with
scheduled for TAP in its second year and respect led to a fun learning experience
additional training was given to teachers. and students needed that experience. In
this school, a morning announcement
was made about the character trait that
was being featured for the month and
students were encouraged to participate in
the TAP activities and to talk about it in
other classes throughout the month.

74 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 3 The Teacher as Student Advisor

For example, "Over the next couple of The diversity of students in today's
weeks during TAP, you'll have opportuni- schools is greater than we may have once
ties to think and talk about RESPECT. It's imagined. Teacher advisor programs
a character trait we need to think about provide a ready venue for addressing is-
more. You will want to talk about in other sues related to all kinds of diversity and
places and, more importantly, do things helping students respect differences and
that show you respect yourself and oth- find commonalities. Effective multicul-
ers." tural communicators are aware of oth-
Although a lot of teachers believe ers' perceptions. They understand how
they weave character education into their world views are influenced by culture.
academic curriculum, there is no evidence Rather than simply telling others how
to indicate if they are effective or even if they should see things, teaching them
it is true. For the most part, teachers are so communication skills can help us better
busy delivering the academic curriculum understand how they view and react to
that honesty, respect, decision making, the world.
being responsible, and other personal School counselors and teachers can
qualities do not receive much attention. help resolve crises that involve ethnic
In addition, the predominant mode of slurs or insensitive and inappropriate
teaching tends to be lecturing and pre- behaviors. They also serve as catalysts to
senting information to students, rather encourage everyone in the school to play
than having them take part in activities a positive role in knowing, accepting, and
where they experience a concept and then appreciating cultural diversity. Valuing di-
discuss it. versity can be taught to others and should
When students have problems, they be a major part of any school's compre-
turn to those whom they know the best hensive guidance program. Through pro-
and whom they think can help the most. grams such as TAP, students have opportu-
Surveys have shown the adults to whom nities to think about the contributions of
students of all ages are most likely to different cultures and to celebrate them.
tum-after their parents-are teachers. A
teacher advisor program (TAP) is one very
effective way of directly involving teach-
ers in developmental guidance.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

The Counselor's Role in TAP 2. Counselors will develop some special

guidance units based on particular
One critic voiced the opinion TAP
needs of a student group or student
was simply a device where teachers did population. For example, in one
the job counselors were supposed to be school, older students were bullying
doing. And, teachers were not prepared younger students. The counselors
to be counselors. Within the same school, prepared a four-session guidance unit
at least one counselor was concerned TAP which they presented to some home-
would take away counselor jobs if teach- base groups. In another school, some
ers were to be student advisors. racial slurs increased the potential for
To answer part of the criticisms and student violence and the issue was
fears of counselors and teachers, it is addressed through a special guidance
important to identify the roles each plays unit. In a sense, these counselors
in a TAP program. First, teachers are not developed a "road show" which they
asked to be counselors or to take on the took to the TAP groups.
responsibility of meeting all the counsel- 3. Counselors will meet with small
ing and guidance needs of students. Some groups of students for small group
students will need to be referred to coun- counseling during some of the TAP
selors or other specialists. Second, coun- periods. Because of these TAP time
selors will continue their own programs meetings, counselors disrupt academic
and activities throughout the school day, classes less during a school day to
but, during TAP period, they will probably meet with students and have fewer
pay particular attention to the following scheduling problems.
4. Counselors will pull students who
1. Counselors will help co-lead some
are disruptive or who are having
guidance units and sessions with trouble adjusting from their homebase
teachers. Some teachers will invite
groups during TAP time and target
counselors to work with them, on them for special attention. These
occasion, including teachers who are students might receive some small
very successful. Then, at other times, or large group guidance and coun-
counselors will work with teachers seling experiences which focus on
who are having trouble managing their problems. In another situation,
their groups. Counselors might model some students might need to obtain
some group guidance skills or serve as and discuss information or guidance
a consultant to these teachers. materials which particularly affect
them more than other students. For
example, financial aid or college ap-
plications might be topics for groups
who meet with counselors during TAP
time, especially on those days when
the teacher-advisor is not presenting a
guidance activity.

76 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 3 The Teacher as Student Advisor

5. Counselors will meet with some Building Support for TAP

students for individual counseling.
Despite the apparent value of TAP,
However, individual counseling is
usually reserved for other times dur- there are some middle/junior and high
ing the day, since it is easier to draw school teachers who are reluctant to adopt
individuals than groups of students it. In general, about 20 percent of most
from academic classes. Therefore, the secondary school faculties will quickly
counselor's work emphasis during TAP embrace the program. These teachers like
is on small and large groups, either the idea of developmental guidance and
with a teacher-advisor group or with they have the skills and personality to put
the program in practice without much
a counseling group organized from
preparation. They can make it work with
several teacher-advisor groups.
a minimum of support, as they thorough-
6. Counselors will serve as consultants ly enjoy the opportunity to form closer
and resources to teachers. If a full or helping relationships with students.
part-time TAP coordinator is not em-
ployed in a school, it is common for a There is another 20 percent of a
school counselor to assume leadership school faculty, generally, who are clearly
and coordinate TAP. This is usually skeptical and resistant. They argue against
done with a teacher as a co-leader or it and see only an extra preparation for
through a committee. However, it is themselves. To them, TAP is a waste of
the flexible time of counselors and time. They try to discourage others, er-
roneously believing guidance should be
the fact is TAP is the central part of
left to specialists, such as counselors and
developmental guidance that tends to
school psychologists. This disinclined
involve school counselors as leaders
group needs special assistance or in-ser-
and coordinators.
vice training if they are ever to be sup-
7. Counselors will avoid any routine du- portive and become involved in_ building
ties during TAP time which take them a program. Unfortunately, of this 20 per-
away from working with teachers or cent, probably half of them do not have
students. Teachers want counselors to the personality, skills, interests, or energy
be a part of TAP and to be both avail- to make TAP work and they may need to
able and visible during that time. It is be assigned other duties.
important counselors be accountable
The middle 60 percent of the fac-
for their time during TAP. The coun-
selor's role and job functions are given ulty can make the critical difference. If
attention in Chapter 4 and it will be this group is for TAP, then the program
easy to see how these roles and func- will make a positive contribution in the
school. If the majority of this middle
tions are related to TAP.
group is against it, then the program will
have trouble surviving. It will be sabo-
taged. There will be a tremendous waste
of time and energy. Student needs will not
be met and, being disappointed with TAP,
students will "add fuel to the fire" by their
criticism and lack of interest.
What makes the difference whether or
not the middle 60 percent moves toward
supporting TAP and developmental guid-
ance? The result seems to depend upon
the following:

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Teachers need to understand the Scheduling TAP two days a week

philosophy behind TAP and how it seems to be a minimum. Otherwise, there
is related to developmental guid- is a tendency for a teaching faculty to
ance. This includes an understanding of view TAP as an unimportant adjunct pro-
student needs and awareness of student gram instead of an integral one within an
problems. It also includes a recognition organized curriculum. It is difficult to feel
of how guidance is directly related to committed to a program that is not a part
helping students learn more effectively of the regular weekly schedule. When it
and efficiently in their academic work, just seems to pop up on occasion, teach-
including helping them grow socially and ers tend to think less about it and to rely
personally. on whatever spontaneously happens.
One group of high school teachers As one teacher said, "I just wing it
who did not support TAP were asked how and hope for the best." Without a weekly
they would describe the program. Given commitment, teachers are less concerned
a three-minute limitation, all struggled to about how they can best use the TAP
talk about it. None could clearly define period with students, since that time is
TAP or cite essential concepts. None of such a little part of their assignment. This
their statements were student-centered. type of situation inevitably sows seeds of
The time commitment for TAP discontent among teachers and students.
needs to be adequate. Time manage- TAP must have a developmental
ment or the organizational scheme of TAP guidance curriculum, with support-
is a critical factor. Sometimes TAP pro- ing materials and activities. Teach-
grams suffer because there is not enough ers are accustomed to having curriculum
time for advisors to meet with their advi- guides and they often depend on learning
sees. For example, in one school, teach- activities that stimulate student thinking
ers met with their advisees for about 30 and participation. Therefore, teachers like
minutes once every two weeks. In another to have organized guidance handbooks
school, they met for one hour once a which contain various activities they
month. There is very little chance valu- might use in TAP.
able helping relationships between teach- Some schools have developed com-
ers and their advisees will develop in such prehensive sets of materials, including
little time. Commitment is not there. guidance units and suggestions when they
When meeting times are scheduled might best be used during TAP. Teacher-
far apart, there is not much opportunity advisors have the liberty of discarding any
for continuity and consistency. TAP works suggested activity that seems unsuited
best when it is scheduled every school for them or their group, perhaps modify-
day. This gives advisors an opportunity ing an activity or substituting another
to know their advisees and to talk with one. However, the evaluation of the unit
them individually and in groups. During should remain consistent across all TAP
supervised study time, teachers can work groups. Thus, the guidance objectives are
with student folders and make plans to more important than any activity and it
follow-up with other teachers. is an advisor's professional judgment that
determines how best to meet those objec-

78 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 3 The Teacher as Student Advisor

Teachers need preparation in TAP needs administrative sup-

guidance and interpersonal skills. port. Most administrators try to ac-
Since most teachers have not had a course commodate their teachers and to make
in guidance, many do not understand teaching an enjoyable endeavor. They are
how a guidance program is developed to fully aware of how difficult teaching can
meet student needs and how guidance in- be and how some students-and teach-
terventions can be used to help students. ers as well-can dampen the spirit of a
Some teachers have limited interpersonal school. Some students and teachers make
skills and many have not had much prep- everyone's work more difficult and the
aration in how to manage groups. More school environment unappealing.
specifically, far too many teachers rely on Administrators set the tone of a
one group arrangement-all students fac- school. Their personal style and commit-
ing the front of the room-and need more ment is the glue that holds the program
training in how to get students working together. If they are supportive, then
cooperatively in small groups. teachers will try harder. If they are indif-
Most teachers talk too much at stu- ferent, then teachers find other places to
dents. Only a few have learned to facili- invest their time and energy. Therefore,
tate class discussion with group discussion they must not only speak favorably about
skills. They need help in knowing more TAP, but they must take time to under-
about group dynamics and how to facili- stand how TAP works and to find ways to
tate a group. Also, many of them need as- show their support.
sistance in learning how to help a student Administrators can increase their
think about a personal problem and take visibility in the schools by visiting TAP
steps in solving that problem. This does groups and talking with students when
not mean the advisor is a problem-solver. discipline is not an issue. They can talk
Rather, the advisor helps students explore with TAP coordinators about guidance
situations, alternatives and consequences, units and, on occasion, they might lead
and possible plans of action. or co-lead a discussion in one of the TAP
The basic facilitator skills discussed homerooms.
in Chapter 4 of this book are considered TAP needs to be evaluated. In or-
essential for teachers as advisors. With the der for TAP to be an accountable program,
use of the facilitative model, teachers and it must be monitored and evaluated.
students find TAP more productive and Evaluations provide data upon which to
rewarding. make decisions and determine what new
directions, if any, might be taken. Student
and teacher evaluations of TAP are essen-
tial if it is to develop progressively into an
effective program.
Very few schools are able to immedi-
ately implement TAP, especially the way
they visualize how it could be. It takes
time to develop an excellent program.
There are adjustments to be made, new
things to be added, and others deleted.
Priorities must be set and people must
learn to work together. With feedback
from students and teachers, it is possible
to keep TAP moving in a desired direction.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Teachers: Key to Counselor-Teacher

Developmental Guidance Relationships
There are not enough school coun- Unsupportive and uncooperative
selors and other specialists to implement teachers will openly criticize counselors.
a developmental program if they have The complaint is counselors have very
the sole responsibility for guidance. Only little impact on student behavior. Some of
with teacher involvement and commit- these teachers prefer counselors not work
ment, at all grade levels, is developmental with students from their classes. They dis-
guidance possible. like sending students to the guidance of-
Teachers are the heart of a school's fice and could refuse to do so. They argue
guidance program. They work directly counselors do not help and missing class
with students in their classes and stu- time only penalizes students by putting
dent-teacher relationships influence the them farther behind in class work.
school atmosphere. They work as student- There also are some teachers who are
advisors and they collaborate with other suspicious of counselors and they do not
specialists to assist students. want counselors observing students in
Counselors support teachers in their their classes. These teachers worry their
work. They work for and with teachers. teaching methods are being evaluated.
Counselors also need teacher assistance Some even think counselors are the "eyes
if they are to fully understand a student's and ears" of the administration and unfa-
world. Teacher cooperation is needed if vorable comments are passed to building
counselors are to have access to students principals.
for counseling interventions. In order for Still other teachers believe counselors
counselors to excel in their work, school always align themselves with students at
faculties must understand the nature of the expense of teachers. One teacher said,
a counselor's job and how counselor job "Counselors are simply crying towels for
functions are related to the work of teach- students. They believe everything the kids
ers and other specialists. tell them, when half of it is not true. They
Teachers, when working as student sit in judgment of teachers and always
advisors, can draw upon the skills and take the kid's side. They never listen to
resources of guidance specialists such as what we teachers have to say."
school counselors. Sometimes counselors Another teacher complained, "Kids go
may help lead a guidance unit or a session to the counselors and talk about us. That
with a teacher-advisor. On other occa- does not do any good. If a kid has a prob-
sions, counselors may develop a guidance lem with me, he should talk to me first.
unit and lead a homebase group through Then, if that does not work out, he could
a unit or through some sessions. Teacher- go to a counselor. The kids should be sent
advisors, recognizing their own limits in back to talk with their teachers instead of
time and skill, can identify students who gossiping about them with counselors."
need attention from a counselor or other
Working together, counselors and
teachers can define their roles in guidance
and differentiate their responsibilities. In
a comprehensive developmental guid-
ance and counseling program, they work
together as a team.

80 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 3 The Teacher as Student Advisor

Obviously, there is not much trust For too many years, counselors-often
or understanding between these teach- out of a misunderstanding about confi-
ers and school counselors. Yet, students dentiality and the privacy of the counsel-
probably would not go to counselors and ing relationship-failed to work closely
complain about teachers if they thought with teachers. Counselors frequently ap-
they could go to the teachers. Teachers peared to be distant and incommunicative
can intimidate students. Students say, about students. They worked in mysteri-
"Teachers never us, so why talk ous ways, cloaked in the privacy of their
with them?" offices where they became the confidantes
The counselor is caught in the middle. of students. They were the child-advocates
There is apparently a fine line between and in charge of the affective domain, or
supporting teachers and listening non- so some said. Teachers took note that such
judgmentally to students. When teachers, claims seemed to exclude them. They
however, know more about how coun- also resented the implied accusation that
selors work with students who complain teachers were insensitive, unfeeling, and
about teachers, they have less to fear and too busy to help students. In too many
they are more supportive. cases, counselors and teachers developed
uncooperative relationships.
The real challenge is for counselors
and teachers to find ways to communicate Counselor-teacher teamwork is critical
what they believe about developmental in a developmental guidance program. An
guidance and to discover how they can open and supportive relationship makes
work together to make their jobs easier. As the work of teachers and counselors easier
counselors and teachers talk about their and faster. There is a mutual respect that
differences and mutual interests, they can goes beyond the roles each has agreed
arrive at some common agreements about upon. The roles are complementary and
guidance and the role each plays in the there is a team spirit. One is not superior
total guidance program. to the other, nor does one assume to be
the most important helper or most skilled
professional. Helping students through
guidance is a shared experience.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

School Guidance Target populations and target students

can be identified with the help of school
Committees guidance committees. After considering
One practical way counselors and facts and information, guidance commit-
teachers can improve their working rela- tees can help counselors set priorities and
tionships and build a team framework is find ways to win support for some inno-
through a school guidance committee. vative strategies or projects.
This committee is usually co-chaired by a A guidance committee, regardless of
counselor and a teacher and it has repre- school level, might: (1) review guidance
sentatives from the teaching faculty and materials and activities; (2) recommend
support services. guidance strategies and interventions; (3)
Every school needs a guidance com- identify students who need special assis-
mittee. The committee helps identify tance; (4) examine student data to iden-
student needs and recommends different tify target populations that need guidance
kinds of guidance programs and activities. and counseling services; (5) help evaluate
It serves as a funnel through which infor- the guidance program; (6) discuss ideas
mation can be processed by both coun- before they are presented to the total fac-
selors and teachers. It searches for ways ulty; and (7) serve as a resource group to
all school personnel can work together the counselors.
better. Almost every elementary school coun-
There are certain procedures and gen- selor has formed a guidance committee,
eral practices that are part of operations composed of the counselor and about four
in a school. Sometimes it is necessary to or five teachers. Ironically, such a commit-
elicit support from faculty before some tee is found much less in the secondary
guidance and counseling procedures can schools where there are more communica-
be initiated. The guidance committee of a tion problems because of larger faculties.
school is an excellent place to start. Although counselors often are per-
School guidance committees listen to ceived as those who are responsible for
school counselors' ideas and the differ- school guidance, in reality, the guidance
ent counseling interventions they have in program is a joint effort by administra-
mind. If an intervention involves teach- tors, teachers, counselors, and other sup-
ers, then the teachers on the guidance port personnel. The counselor does not
committee can be polled for their opin- work alone. But, there are specific coun-
ions. They try to anticipate what other selor functions and responsibilities which
teachers might think or how they might can influence the direction of a guid-
react. The committee can be an initial ance program. The management of these
sounding board for new ideas and pro- functions and responsibilities ultimately
grams that are being considered. determines a counselor's image and ef-

82 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 3 The Teacher as Student Advisor

Advantages, Limitations, Conclusion

and Conclusion A school's learning climate can be
positively affected when teachers, coun-
Advantages of selors, administrators, and students work
together to personalize education. All
Teachers as Advisors students have developmental guidance
1. High counselor-student ratios make needs that require attention if they are to
it impossible for school counselors to be effective and efficient learners. When
know all students personally. TAP is adult to student ratios in a school are low
based on one teacher per 20 students, enough, each student has access to an
a ratio that enables all students to per- adult in school who cares and who can be
sonally know an adult in the school of assistance.
who cares about them and who can
TAP puts teachers in an advisory role
assist them with some guidance.
with a limited number of students. As
2. TAP is the only way a comprehensive advisors, they provide their advisees with
guidance and counseling program can guidance units and services. When TAP
be fully implemented in a school be- is given a scheduled time within a school
cause it involves all school personnel. week and teachers are given the respon-
3. TAP helps create positive learning sibility of delivering guidance units to
environments in a school. students in TAP meetings, then develop-
4. Differentiated staffing makes the most mental guidance becomes a reality for all
use of school personnel. students.
5. More students receive more guidance
services because there is a guidance
curriculum which is presented in a
regularly scheduled time period.

Limitations of
Teachers as Advisors
1. Not all teachers can work effectively
as teacher-advisors to students. Some
need more preparation and others
lack interest or commitment.
2. The success of TAP depends upon
administrator and teacher knowl-
edge and support. Currently, TAP is
misunderstood in many places and
is dismissed as a passing fad, an old
homeroom program, or an infringe-
ment on academic time.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

84 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

The Counselor:
A Developmental
Guidance Specialist
School counselors are developmental Yet, the statement does not mention
guidance specialists who assist students counselors by name or give any hints as
with their educational, personal, and so- to what they will do in their jobs. The
cial development. Counselors understand commitment to developmental guidance
the developmental nature of students and has been reviewed by the association
how they progress toward educational several times, reaffirmed officially in 1980,
and career goals. Counselors are human and revised in 1986 through position
behavior and relationship specialists who statements (Dahir, Sheldon, & Valiga,
provide counseling and guidance services 1998). These statements, however, still fail
to both students and adults. to spell out the role of a school coun-
The American School Counselor As- selor. How does a counselor function in a
sociation (ASCA) was founded in 1953. In developmental guidance and counseling
1979, the ASCA Governing Board defined program?
developmental guidance: During the formative years of the
Developmental guidance is that school counseling profession, there were
component of all guidance efforts very few guidelines regarding how coun-
which fosters planned interventions selors might spend their time on the job.
within educational and other human Even today, school counselors appear to
services programs at all points in the be many things to many people, depend-
human life cycle to vigorously stimu- ing upon the schools in which they are
late and actively facilitate the total employed and how they usually spend
development of individuals in all ar- their time. School counselors have been
eas (i.e., personal, social, emotional, viewed as administrative assistants, school
career, moral-ethical, cognitive, and psychologists, social workers, mental
aesthetic) and to promote the integra- health personnel, educational placement
tion of the several components into officers, academic advisors, and friendly
an individual's life style. disciplinarians-or any combination of
these roles.
School counseling, as a specialty area
of the counseling profession, is still evolv-
ing and has been affected by social, edu-
cational, political, and economic trends.
Paisely and Borders (1995) concluded:

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

"The appropriate focus for school Counseling Theories

counseling is considered to be on com-
prehensive and developmental programs. Revisited
Such programs include individual, small- Counseling theories help us think
group, and large group counseling, as about the counseling process. They pro-
well as consultation and coordination. vide a systematic way of observing com-
These programs still offer certain types of mon phenomena and they give us a work-
responsive services related to remediation ing framework. We use theories in coun-
and crisis issues, but they now emphasize seling to describe behaviors, illuminate
primary prevention and the promotion of relationships, and develop interventions.
healthy development for all students" (p. They also provide a common language
74). so we can share ideas and communicate
If school counseling is to survive as about our observations and methodology.
a profession, counselors must be able to It has become customary to refer to
describe their unique roles, specify their counseling theories as counseling mod-
job functions, and show how their work els, maybe because people are eager to
is related to helping students learn better. see practical applications of theoretical
School counselors of the future will need constructs. Most of us want a comfort-
a sharper role definition and they will able structure, or a set of guidelines, from
need some new theories and strategies. which to work.
Good theories are like good maps.
They tell us what to look for, what to
expect, and where we might go. They are
explicit and precise, avoiding poetic state-
ments that are inspiring, but fail to give
us direction. Good theories also are com-
prehensive, applicable in many situations,
and yet, specific enough to be feasible in a
particular situation.
The school counselor's basic role as a
helper is found in several counseling the-
ories which are studied by almost every
graduate student in counselor education.
These theories, conceptualized by promi-
nent psychotherapists and educators, are
an outgrowth of attempts to assist people
with their personal problems.
Some classic theories seem to have
stood the test of time. Since they are usu-
ally presented in most counseling theory
courses, they will not be discussed in detail
here. Instead, a few are reviewed briefly to
emphasize their importance to develop-
mental guidance and counseling. To keep
things simple, there are four theories of
counseling you will find particularly help-
ful. Let us look at those first.

86 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

Client-Centered Counseling 5. Conflicts arise when self-concepts

If you have studied counseling theo-
and external events are incongruous.
ries, then you knew this theory would Tension increases and reactions to
be listed here. Carl Rogers' classic book, the realities of the environment may
Client-Centered Therapy (1951), introduced be for better or for worse, depending
an important term and focus to coun- upon one's ability to accept, to cope,
selors and therapists. It started a wave of to adjust, and to integrate.
humanistic-oriented therapists, the effects These five principles are the heart of
of which have been felt in counseling, the theory. It is assumed people have the
therapy, and other areas such as teach- capacity to discover for themselves the
ing, social services, pastoral training, and necessary resources for their growth. If
human relations skills programs (Corey, certain helping conditions are present in
2009; Merry & Tudor, 2006). a client's life, then the person will become
Client-centered therapy or the person- more "self-actualizing" and naturally
centered approach emphasizes "fully move toward more positive and self-en-
functioning" individuals are open to hancing behaviors.
experiences in life and trust themselves to Therefore, counselors do whatever
do those things that "feel right." Gener- they can to provide counselees with
ally, client-centered counseling is based a genuine caring experience that fos-
on the following premises: ters feelings of personal respect, regard,
1. A human being functions as a total
warmth, understanding, and self-worth.
organism and any change to one part According to client-centered theory, a
may produce changes in other parts genuine caring relationship is more im-
(e.g., physical, psychological, behav- portant than techniques.
ioral). When Virginia Axline wrote her
2. Individuals have their own perceptual famous book, Play Therapy, it was based
fields, which is their reality. People on client-centered therapy. Axline's ap-
interact with their environments from proach is still considered relevant today,
their perceptual fields and this leads although there are different approaches
to the development of their self-con- (e.g. Drewes, Carey, & Schaefer, 2001),
cepts. because the premises cannot be improved
upon. She suggested counselors enter the
3. The self-concept is a learned sense of child's world by following the lead of the
self. It is dependent upon what one child. She created the helping conditions
has experienced from outside the self, and set the stage for a child to change and
usually from significant others who grow in a positive direction. It is hypoth-
impose or create personal relation- esized the absence of the helping condi-
ships. tions created the need for therapy in the
4. Any experience that is not consistent first place. Children, like adults, have the
with the self-concept is perceived as a capacity to take responsibility for resolv-
threat, although one can learn to be ing conflicts in their lives and will grow
flexible and accepting of the environ- positively if given the opportunity.
mental realities that come with daily In years past, client-centered therapy
living. was the first and only counseling theory
taught to school counselors while they

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

were in training. It is considered a simple Rational Emotive

and practical model founded on a demo- Behavior Therapy (REBT)
cratic and humanistic philosophy about
life. It does not require knowledge of com- Albert Ellis, a renown therapist, decid-
plex psychological principles or speci~l ed to become more active and directive in
diagnostic skills. It requires very few, if his therapy sessions. Rather than wait for
any, techniques. It is deceptively simple a client to gain insight, he began pointing
because it appears the clients, or students, out inconsistencies in a client's reasoning
do all the work, as the counselors follow and behavior. He gave homework as-
their leads. The primary focus is on what signments. His theory was first described
a person is experiencing, assuming self- as RT or Rational Therapy, but was later
disclosing talk produces the necessary changed to RET (1962) to avoid incor-
insight for change. rect associations with a philosophical
approach known as rationalism. Finally,
The theory can easily be applied to Ellis settled on REBT (1996) because it
developmental guidance. It emphasizes encouraged clients to put their beliefs into
the counselor is a listener and encourages practice behaviorally and push themselves
the client to talk. Therefore, with limited to act on them (Ellis & Wilde, 2002).
time for preparation, the first counselors
in the schools may have left graduate Most people have problems because
school thinking this was the only theory their belief systems have gone astray. It is
of counseling. assumed we talk to ourselves-thinking in
words, phrases, and sentences-and this
Since the early years of school coun- talk influences how we feel and behave.
seling and Carl Roger's earliest work, People who become dysfunctioning or
there have been many extensions of this emotionally disturbed are really telling
timeless counseling theory. There are themselves a chain of false statements
many practitioners and other theorists that are irrational and personally destruc-
who have embraced most of Rogers' ideas, tive.
although advocating specific skills to help
create therapeutic relationships (e.g., Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
Carkhuff, 2000). (REBT) recognizes many illogical ideas
permeate our lives-ideas we have learned
It was Carkhuff and his colleagues through our parents, teachers, peers, and
who studied the behaviors of client-cen- society. Our life experiences influence our
tered therapists and concluded, "Coun- self-talk, which can be for better or for
seling can be for better or for worse." It worse. If it is the source of our problems,
often depended on the kinds of responses then self-talk needs to be reevaluated,
counselors and therapists used and how sometimes eliminated, and positive self-
clients perceived the process. talk put in its place.
Client-centered or person-centered The theory fits easily into a develop-
counselors are concerned about the mental guidance and counseling program.
atmosphere in which counseling hap- As in the client-centered approach, you
pens. They want to help students feel first establish a close working relationship
cared about and safe and to experience by attending to student problems. You
empathy, respect, and genuineness from are alert to illogical ideas and confront
the counselor. Such an approach requires them. As ideas are challenged, resistance
patience and relies on students to assume is anticipated and worked through as part
responsibility for their own direction. of the counseling process.

88 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

In contrast to the client-centered 4. "Others are responsible for making

model, after forming a therapeutic alli- me unhappy, like my parents, teach-
ance, the counselor plays a more active ers and classmates." Unless you are
role in analysis and teaching. REBT theo- physically abused or deprived, happi-
rists believe the expression of feelings in ness is a function of perceptions, not
a nurturing relationship is not enough to people or events, and perceptions can
get to the root of irrational thinking and be controlled.
client problems. 5. "You cannot overcome your past."
Common irrational thoughts about The past cannot be denied. It is real
self and behavior can be addressed and cannot be changed. But, the past
through developmental guidance units, does not have to determine future
maybe before such thoughts become in- needs, interests, attitudes, or behav-
grained in a student's self-perceptions. For iors. You can change present and
instance, some typical irrational beliefs future behavior independent of what
that can be confronted as part of develop- has happened in the past.
mental guidance or as part of a problem- 6. "There is always a correct and best
solving situation are: answer to every problem." Maybe this
1. "I must be loved by everyone to be could be so, but it is a frustrating and,
happy." Such a belief means you oftentimes, futile activity to search for
would have to be self-sacrificing most the perfect solution to things. Believ-
of the time to please everyone. Even ing there is only one best answer or
then, you cannot be loved and ap- approach to something results in dis-
proved by everyone because there are couragement and dissatisfaction with
so many people in your life who have life.
their own needs and interests. Teachers and counselors might use
2. "I must be perfect and beyond re- these and other illogical beliefs as topics
proach." It is impossible to be totally in a guidance unit, looking for fun and
competent in everything and not creative ways to present them. Some guid-
experience failures. To be unwilling to ance activities can facilitate student think-
receive criticism dooms you to safe- ing about self-talk and how it is related to
guarding yourself until you do not learning in school and getting along with
enjoy the spirit of living. others. Common techniques are con-
3. "People who make mistakes are frontation, reframing ideas, role-playing,
worthless and should be punished." humor, homework assignments, guided
Everyone makes mistakes and to err imagery, and practice activities.
is human. Punishment is not very REBT operates on the premise emo-
effective when it comes to changing tions and behaviors are learned reactions.
behavior. Because it involves cognitive structuring
and restructuring, this theory will ap-
peal to many teachers and counselors
who want to teach students how to take
more responsibility for their thoughts and
actions. To analyze their own perceived
failures and successes with students (Wein-
rach et al., 2001), counselors also can use
the techniques of rationale self-talk.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Behavioral Counseling 4. Select and apply the methods to be

used, which are guided by whatever
Until the 1960s, client-centered and
ethical means seem feasible to pro-
cognitive approaches dominated the
duce a change in behavior.
counseling profession. Then, a revolu-
tion in counseling happened (Krumboltz, 5. Assess and evaluate the counselee's
1966) as learning theorists began to progress, making appropriate method-
emphasize how their concepts could be ological changes until the desired goal
applied through behavioral counseling. is obtained.
The most recognized contributor was Behaviorists recognized the value of
B.F. Skinner, who described operant con- the facilitative conditions and relation-
ditioning as a mode of learning. B.F. Skin- ships. But, they concluded that, although
ner had famous debates with Carl Rogers necessary, helping relationships are not
about counseling and therapy. In addi- sufficient in and of themselves as client-
tion, Joseph Wolpe and Arnold Lazarus centered therapists advocated. Rather,
outlined behavioral procedures that could after a working relationship is established,
be used to relax and desensitize anxiety- behavioral techniques are needed.
producing situations. Albert Bandura Behavior theorists focus their atten-
posed a theory of social learning based on tion on what they see and hear (Parsons,
modeling, imitation, and reinforcement 2009). Rather than talk about generali-
principles. ties such as "He's a good listener," they
However, it was the work of John are more likely to give attention to the
Krumboltz and Carl Thoresen (1976) that specific behaviors that lead one to such a
inspired school counselors to take a closer conclusion. Gerber (2001) claimed every
look at behavioral counseling, with its effective counseling intervention works to
focus on modifying behavior instead of the extent it incorporates sound leaning
such internal variables as self-concept or principles.
self-esteem. Behaviorists advocated such Personal interviews with more than
methods as positive and negative rein- 100 school counselors from elementary to
forcement, modeling, contracting, behav- high schools showed counselors tended to
ioral rehearsal, role-playing, and system- favor behavioral counseling approaches.
atic desensitization. They still valued client-centered theory,
Generally, the procedures of behav- but found its application in the schools to
ioral counseling involve precise steps, be too time-consuming, slow, and imprac-
including: tical.
1. Identify the problem in terms of The pressure to show immediate
behavior that can be observed and results and to be more action-oriented has
recorded. encouraged many counselors to use such
2. Assess the problem by collecting techniques as behavioral contracts, role
baseline data and ascertaining any reversal, and simple positive reinforce-
relevant developmental history. ment procedures. In addition, behavioral
counseling approaches are easily account-
3. Specify the goals, usually selecting one able through the collection of baseline
behavior at a time with which to work data and assessment of behavior later.
and remembering little steps (succes-
sive approximations) lead to progress.

90 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

Reality Therapy Also, self-awareness is related to

current situations or present behavior
William Glasser (1965) used the term
instead of plodding through the past or
"Reality Therapy" to describe his ap-
trying to guess what the future will be
proach to counseling and therapy. His
like. Therefore, irresponsible behavior is
experiences with institutionalized ado-
confronted. Counselees are encouraged to
lescents led him to conclude the driving
pinpoint what they will do and to make
force for all behavior is the intrinsic goal
a commitment to action. Specific plans
of having a different, distinct, and unique
are formulated and then they implement
identity. However, it is the acceptance of
their plans, with no excuses accepted or
responsibility for uniqueness that is the
punishment administered. The counselor
central theme of his counseling approach.
consistently and willfully conveys a feel-
All students want to believe they are ing of hopefulness and persistence.
unique individuals and there is nobody
Teachers and counselors in the
like them. They all seek an identity. If
schools liked Reality Therapy because
they develop a "failure identity," then
of its many classroom and educational
they believe they have little chance of
applications. For example, "classroom
succeeding at anything. They claim they
meetings" were advocated where students
are no good, worthless, and undeserv-
and teachers learn to know one another
ing of anything positive. Consequently,
better and explore their mutual interests
they often have a distressing or nega-
tive attitude about school and life. They and goals.
become critical of themselves and others I
Glasser (2000) also talked about
adopting irrational thought patterns in the power of first developing a helping
defense of themselves. They do not want relationship and then fostering positive
to assume responsibility for themselves addiction and emphasizing control. After
and frequently become apathetic, indiffer- decades of success, he introduced "choice
ent, uninvolved, and show little concern theory" to supplement the original theory
for themselves and others. of reality therapy. It focused on help-
ing students develop routine behaviors
If students develop a "success iden-
and habits that enhanced their lives. It
tity," then they believe they are good and
also made them feel more in control and
can accomplish things in life. They are
responsible for the consequences of their
sensitive and can assert themselves, as-
suming leadership when it is appropriate.
Others value their positive attitudes and Middle and high school teachers
like to be around them. working in TAP, and elementary school
teachers in their regular classrooms, might
The key to putting this theory into
have "open meetings" in which thought-
practice is first building a positive re-
provoking questions are asked and stu-
lationship and then emphasizing each
dents explore issues that are relevant
person assumes responsibility for their
to their lives. Or, they could have an
own behavior. While attention is given to
"educational-diagnostic meeting" where
behavior change, individuals are encour-
attention is given to evaluating student
aged to understand themselves and oth-
strengths and weaknesses, teaching
ers, to set goals, and to make responsible
techniques and concerns, and the value
of ideas and information presented in
the curriculum. "Social problem solving

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

meetings" are a third type of classroom in some of the conclusions and recom-
meeting where individual or group prob- mendations. In a series of investigations,
lems are discussed. Problem solving is the it appeared low functioning counselors
priority in these meetings as students talk either did not facilitate growth in others
about issues and problems that play an or they impeded it. This led many coun-
important part in their lives. selor educators to conclude only certain
Reality Therapy is a common sense counselor responses were helpful and oth-
theory for helping people (Christensen, ers were hurtful. Further, the analyses of
2002). It fits into a developmental ap- typescripts from tape-recorded counseling
proach and is specific about problem solv- sessions were used too often as a means of
ing when crises occur. It is a rational and judging the worth of a counselor.
cognitive approach based on "here and Some of the counselor responses
now," personalizing behavior, and accept- advocated by Carkhuff were conflicted,
ing responsibility for one's self. such as suggesting a comment contain-
ing a feeling word and a reason for that
Human Technology feeling as the prototypical best response.
Some theorists believed the theories For instance, "You feel (emotion) because
of the counseling profession, such as (reason for the feeling)." This, however,
those by the humanists and behaviorists, is more of an interpretation (a low fa-
should be combined and integrated. Being cilitative response) since it attempts to
eclectic is a trend in school guidance and explain why the client is feeling a certain
counseling because counselors are looking way. Such a response is more risky than
for practical and productive models. Some a simple feeling-focused response that
view the helping process as an applica- reflects only what the facilitator believes
tion of "human technology." (Aspy et al., the client is experiencing.
2000). When Carkhuff's work was first being
Robert Carkhuff (1993) assumed coun- touted, some words and phrases, often
seling and the helping or learning process taken out of context, were denounced
moved through three phases: exploration, as always destructive of the counseling
understanding, and action. These phases process and the client's well being. To
and the interaction that took place were the contrary, it is possible any number of
derived from client-centered, psychody- statements may be facilitative at one time
namic, and behaviorist theories. It made or another, including those where the
sense clients would first explore their per- probability of being perceived as helpful
sonal experiences, thoughts, and feelings is low.
and would gain some personal insight Although the core of the facilitative
or understanding in the process. It fol- model advocated in this book is close to
lowed clients could then construct some the work of Carkhuff and his associates,
concrete actions that would improve their there are some significant differences.
situations. These are discussed in more detail in
This kind of thinking is similar to the Chapter 4 where the counselor as a facili-
developmental guidance and counseling tator is described.
strategies offered in this book. However,
Carkhuff and his associates went too far

92 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

Other Theories Adlerian psychology has found a

home in many schools because the
A few other theories may be rel-
concepts are so closely related to parent-
evant for guidance and counseling in the
ing and teaching young children and
schools. Their application often is more
adolescents. In addition, there are several
limited, but they might help the counselor
structured programs that incorporate the
to conceptualize client or student behavior
theory that are practical for use in school
and to think of some counseling strategies.
guidance and counseling programs (Pryor
Psychoanalytic theory, for in- & Tollerud, 1999).
stance, has been around since the end of
For example, Developing Understanding
the 1800s when Sigmund Freud began to
of Self and Others (Dinkmeyer & Dinkmey-
explain his classic approach to psycho-
er, 1982) was the most popular guidance
analysis. It is a fascinating theory that
program in the elementary schools for
suggests behavior is the product of mental
many years. This classic set of materi-
forces and impulses that have their origin
als based on Adlerian theory, provided
in childhood. Nothing happens by acci-
dent and all human behaviors are goal-
ex~ellent examples of how counselors and
teachers might lead classroom guidance
oriented and can be explained. However,
groups. It helped children learn about
the theory proposes we do not always
themselves and others through group ac-
have access to their antecedents because
tivities, songs, role-playing, and classroom
they are buried in the unconscious part of
discussions. Programs based on Adlerian
our personality.
principles also were developed to help
Psychoanalytic or psychodynamic parents learn more about children's be-
theories are important to understand be- havior and misbehavior (Slavik & Carlson,
cause they often are used to describe devi- 2005).
ant behavior. The Diagnostic and Statistical
Gestalt theory (Houston, 2003)
Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition
has appealed to many school counselors
(DSM-IV) IV-TR (American Psychiatric As-
because it is based on perceptual psychol-
sociation, 1990) features a new emphasis
ogy and the assumption people respond
upon behaviors, but it is still replete with
according to various levels of awareness.
psychoanalytic language. It is the refer-
Awareness can shift, giving some things
ence book used in most mental health
more importance than others and this de-
centers and by private clinicians. The fifth
pends upon personal needs and choices.
edition will be released in 2013.
The active, confronting, and creative tech-
Adlerian psychology also provides niques of "here and now" Gestalt counsel-
an interesting framework in which to ing are intriguing because they focus on
view behavior. The behavior of students, personal congruence, nonverbal behavior,
for example, is assumed to be purpose- and the use of imagery to cause change.
ful and goal-directed. By understanding Techniques such as talking to an empty
a student's goal, one can understand the chair or drawing attention to incongru-
meaning of the person's behavior. There- ous statements and behaviors have been
fore, Adlerians focus on goal orientation incorporated into many counselors' styles
within a social context, emphasizing of helping (Weiner & Craighead, 2010).
people must see themselves as unique in-
dividuals who have the capacity to make
decisions and choices. Consequently,
students are assisted to gain insight into
behavior and alternatives for solving
problems (Weiner & Craighead, 2010).

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Lazarus (1971) coined the term Initial results indicated positive ben-
"multimodal" to describe a broad view of efits in building working relationships,
looking at behavior and counseling in- structuring sessions, and engagement in
terventions. Keat (1990) showed how the the therapeutic process. Since most young
basic modes of such a theory (i.e., behav- people love to play computer games, such
ior, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, an innovative approach may have prom-
interpersonal relationships, drugs-diet- ise for the future, as it provides a frame-
the BASIC ID) could be used to work with work around which to build computer
parents and children. He added education programs and games.
and learning modes (BASIC IDEAL) to em- Strength-based counseling focuses
phasize the role of the school learning en- on what is going right in a person's life.
vironment. These multimodal approaches The counselor and client work together
draw upon several resources. to find past and present successes and
Solution-focused therapy has use these to address current and future
captured the attention of both therapists challenges. Positive thinking or learned
and counselors (Davis & Osborne, 2000; optimism is about learning a positive per-
O'Connel, 2005; Littrell & Peterson, 2001; spective-focusing on what can go right
Sklare, 2005). However, it is not neces- (Smith, 2006; Vera & Shinn, 2006).
sarily a theory as much as an approach Strength-based counseling draws
to brief counseling. There is a focus on upon an individual's innate and learned
techniques and guidelines that are espe- strengths in dealing with life's challenges.
cially relevant for short-term work. It is It tries to emphasize the positive aspects
action-oriented, emphasizing what can of addressing "problems" without mini-
be done in the near future to resolve a mizing them and builds upon past suc-
problem rather than what contributed to cesses and coping strategies. The task is to
the problem behavior. help people recognize their own ability to
The key question to be answered by a identify solutions and then help them put
client or student is "Where do I want to those solutions into action. Counseling
be?" The person is asked to envision how relationships still are built upon trust and
the future will be different when the prob- respect (Carr, 2004).
lem is no longer present (Elliott, 2009, One counselor said, "In my work with
Parsons, 2009). children, I focus on helping kids under-
Many adolescents resist traditional stand and change the behaviors that are
face-to-face counseling approaches. The causing them problems. I primarily use a
watchful eyes of an adult might seem reality-based, cognitive-behavioral ap-
too intrusive. Personal Investigator (PI) is a proach to achieve this." In many cases, cli-
3D computer game specifically designed ents are asked to take inventories that help
for use with teenagers. The game imple- identify their personal strengths and times
ments a model based on solution-focused when they have felt successful. They also
therapy. A counselor and adolescent sit might be asked to think of the positive
together at a computer and play the game things others might say about them. Or,
together. Issues raised in the game serve "What are some things for which you are
as a context for more detailed discussions grateful?" "What are some things you're
between the counselor and client/student looking forward to?"
(Coyle & Sharry, 2009).

94 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

Brief counseling. This term has A Personal Theory

become the norm in many counseling Most counselors and therapists look to
practices because the number of sessions the theories described above or others for
that can be devoted to clients is limited general leads. Some use combinations of
(Feltham & Dryden, 2006). It can refer theories and strategies. They like to have
to counseling that lasts from one to 20 something with which to identify or "to
sessions, although the latter is not prac- hang their hats on." A theory can be com-
tical or feasible in most schools. It has forting, as it provides some understanding
sometimes been referred to as "action" or and direction, especially if it matches a
"time-limited" counseling and typically person's style of working with others.
draws upon techniques associated with
REBT and basic learning approaches. The However, few people seem to be com-
emphasis is on using efficient methods to fortable with just one theory. They might
help resolve problems or to help a client experiment with the use of a theory for
gain personal insights. It uses such tech- an extended time, but soon they begin
niques as goal setting and homework. drawing upon other theories and related
techniques (Mobley, 2005). Drawing upon
Many student mental health coun- ideas and strategies from different theo-
seling services report they see clients on rists has led to the term "eclectic."
average for only two, three, or five ses-
sions. This is by the client's choice, even There is no eclectic theory, per se.
when the service is free and there are no But, counselors do pick and choose from
time limits set, and how many sessions things that seem to work for them and
are available. This has led contemporary others (Parsons, 2009). Selecting and us-
counselors to advocate brief counseling ing various techniques can be very much
by design, while also being prepared for a like moving down a cafeteria line. There
relative minority of clients who genuinely are many choices and those who make
need long-term counseling. wise choices undoubtedly have a basic
theory about nutrition and balanced di-
Because school counselors are limited ets. Those who do not hold to such a ba-
in terms of setting and role expectations, sic premise may select only entrees, only
brief counseling is an appealing concept. liquids, or only desserts. Working without
It also opens the door for pursuing eclec- a theory is interesting, but it can be risky.
tic approaches where counselors assess
their own personality, skills, and ability to Developing a personal theory is ap-
engage students in a helping process. pealing to many counselors (Spruill, &
Benshoff, 2000). When pressed to identify
a theory of counseling, most say, "My
own, which I have developed from my
experiences." When pressed to continue,
they began to draw upon common theo-
ries such as the ones cited above.

Educational Media Corporation® 95

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

The Need for We also need new counseling theories

New Theories and Strategies that are related to special populations.
Think for a moment how students are
The premises of classic theories of different in age, sex, and ability. Yet, it
counseling and therapy are stable enough is assumed what works for one group of
that they will be used for many years to students will work for all students. In fact,
come. However, knowledge of human students come from different cultural
behavior increases every day and this new backgrounds, hold different religious
knowledge will inevitably influence our beliefs, are influenced by different family
thinking about teaching, counseling, and experiences, grow up in different econom-
therapy. For example, the mystery of the ic and social environments, have different
brain and how it functions is still being intellectual levels and abilities, and have
unraveled. Perhaps, future neuro-psychol- progressed through some common devel-
ogists will develop theoretical models that opmental stages at a different pace and
incorporate more biological data to assist with different success.
us in gaining new insights into human
behavior. Some students have the verbal skill
and personal inclination to respond to
Classic theories are valuable starting some of the more intellectual approaches
points. Yet, many counselors are frus- to counseling, such as cognitive restruc-
trated when they try to adapt them to a turing or self-insights. They may have
school setting. There is a need for some the verbal capacity to work with coun-
new counseling theories, ones that are selors in traditional ways. Other students
school based. They would, most likely, be who are less verbal need a more concrete
short-term and time-limited approaches and operational form of assistance, one
that focus on the particular needs and in which they learn by doing instead
interests of students. They most likely will of talking. Some students have learning
be based on problem-solving models. disabilities that cannot be ignored. Still
Likewise, psycholinguistics of the other students need to be motivated and
future may provide us some new insights to identify with the positive aspects in
regarding how language development their schools. Special school populations
affects our thinking and behaving. We may need to be singled out for counseling
know certain cultural experiences predis- theories and techniques that are practical
pose us to perceive and describe experi- for them.
ences in different ways. With the help There also is a need for theories and
of sophisticated computers, it may be strategies that focus on "contextual coun-
possible, eventually, to diagnose language seling." Some theories in family coun-
and thought patterns and learning styles seling in which a "systems approach" is
that influence behavior. applied might lead us to discover how
behavior can be changed and personal
growth can be fostered within the family-
type systems of a school.

96 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

Time is precious. Time for counseling The Professional Counselor

students often is difficult to obtain and it
can be wasted if not managed carefully. Being a professional counselor obliges
There is a need to develop brief coun- one to be a member of the state and na-
seling approaches that can be used in tional professional associations. You get
schools where time is limited and the de- the most benefit from belonging if you
mand for services is high. The basic phi- take an active part in meetings and events.
It is a productive networking base, espe-
losophy of a theory may remain the same.
But, goals may have limited and cially as proceedings and information can
techniques may have to be condensed, be shared via the internet.
intensified, reorganized, and presented The primary organization for school
within time limits. counselors is the American School Coun-
Finally, there is a need for theories selor Association (ASCA). With a member-
that describe how people interact with ship of more than 25,000, ASCA focuses
objects and props, such as computers and on providing professional development,
play media. Counseling is primarily a talk- enhancing school counseling programs,
ing process, but counseling theories need and researching effective school counsel-
to embrace nonverbal elements, including ing practices. Its mission is to represent
the interactive forces and dynamics that professional school counselors and to
are involved in a helping process. promote professionalism and ethical prac-
School counselors need a comprehen-
sive theory. The theory needs to be practi- There are various special interest
cal and simple enough for many people to groups in the field of counseling. Profes-
understand and apply it. It was Stefflre, in sionals and counselors in training gather
a classic statement (1965), who reminded as a group to share ideas about testing,
multicultural needs, or a particular inter-
vention such as group counseling or the
We make the best of theories ... by re- challenges of the primary population they
membering they will not long remain serve. Almost all have valuable contribu-
useful. Since they are bound by space tions to make to school counseling. Many
and time and the present level of our of these groups have formed professional
knowledge, the best theories will not organizations and have become divisions
long serve. If we should accept this of the American Counseling Association
limitation, we should teach our stu- (ACA).
dents not only presently held theories
but ways of building new ones (p. 9). In 1952, four independent groups
established the American Personnel and
All theories, traditional and personal, Guidance Association (APGA), which in
play a valuable role in counseling and 1983, changed its name to the American
guidance. They help us conceptualize our Association of Counseling and Devel-
goals, develop interventions, and influ- opment. On July 1,1992, the associa-
ence our style of working. Which estab- tion changed its name to the American
lished and widely recognized theories Counseling Association (ACA) to reflect
will you draw upon? What is your own the common bond among association
personal theory? members and to reinforce their unity of
purpose. One of the hallmarks of the as-
sociation is its code of ethics (ACA Code of
Ethics, 1995).

Educational Media Corporation® 97

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

There are 19 divisions within ACA. • Association for Counselors and Educators
They elect officers who govern their in Government (ACEG)
activities independently, publish journals Originally the Military Educators and
and newsletters, and have a voice in ACA Counselors Association, ACEG was
governance. The divisions provide pro- chartered in 1984. ACEG is dedicated
fessional strength and satisfy the diverse to counseling clients and their fami-
needs of the counseling community. lies in local, state, and federal govern-
Among the ACA divisions are: ment or in military-related agencies.
• Association for Assessment in Counseling • Association for Counselor Education and
and Education (AACE) Supervision (ACES)
Originally the Association for Mea- Originally the National Association
surement and Evaluation in Guid- of Guidance and Counselor Train-
ance, AACE was chartered in 1965. ers, ACES was a founding association
The purpose of AACE is to promote of ACA in 1952. ACES emphasizes
the effective use of assessment in the the need for quality education and
counseling profession. supervision of counselors for all work
• Association for Adult Development and settings.
Aging (AADA) • Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
Chartered in 1986, AADA serves as a and Transgender Issues in Counseling
focal point for information sharing, (ALGBTIC)
professional development, and ad- This division educates counselors to
vocacy related to adult development the unique needs of client identity
and aging issues; addresses counseling development and promotes a non-
concerns across the lifespan. threatening counseling environment
• Association for Creativity in Counseling by aiding in the reduction of stereo-
(ACC) typical thinking and homoprejudice.
The Association for Creativity in • Association for Multicultural Counseling
Counseling (ACC) is a forum for and Development (AMCD)
counselors, counselor educators, cre- Originally the Association of Non-
ative arts therapists and counselors in White Concerns in Personnel and
training to explore unique and diverse Guidance, AMCD was chartered
approaches to counseling. ACC's goal in 1972. AMCD strives to improve
is to promote greater awareness, ad- cultural, ethnic and racial empathy
vocacy, and understanding of diverse and understanding by programs to
and creative approaches to counsel- advance and sustain personal growth.
• American Mental Health Counselors As-
• American College Counseling Association sociation (AMHCA)
Chartered in 1978, AMHCA represents
ACCA is one of the newest divisions mental health counselors, advocating
of the American Counseling Associa- for client-access to quality services
tion. Chartered in 1991, the focus of within the health care industry.
ACCA is to foster student develop-
ment in colleges, universities, and
community colleges.

98 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

• American Rehabilitation Counseling As- • Counseling Association for Humanistic

sociation (ARCA) Education and Development (C-AHEAD)
ARCA is an organization of rehabilita- C-AHEAD, a founding association of
tion counseling practitioners, educa- ACA in 1952, provides a forum for the
tors, and students who are concerned exchange of information about hu-
with enhancing the development of manistic-oriented counseling practices
people with disabilities throughout and promotes changes that reflect the
their life span and in.promoting excel- growing body of knowledge about hu-
lence in the rehabilitation counseling manistic principles applied to human
profession's practice, research, consul- development and potential.
tation, and professional development. • Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ)
• American School Counselor Association CS] is a community of counselors,
(ASCA) counselor educators, graduate stu-
Chartered in 1953, ASCA promotes dents, and school and community
school counseling professionals and leaders who seek equity and an end
interest in activities that affect the to oppression and injustice affecting
personal, educational, and career clients, students, counselors, families,
development of students. ASCA communities, schools, workplaces,
members also work with parents, governments, and other social and
educators, and community members institutional systems.
to provide a positive learning environ- • International Association of Addictions
ment. and Offender Counselors (IAAOC)
• Association for Spiritual, Ethical, and Re- Originally the Public Offender Coun-
ligious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC) selor Association, IAAOC was char-
Originally the National Catholic tered in 1972. Members of IAAOC
Guidance Conference, ASERVIC was advocate the development of effective
chartered in 1974. ASERVIC is devoted counseling and rehabilitation pro-
to professionals who believe spiritual, grams for people with substance abuse
ethical, religious, and other human problems or other addictions, as well
values are essential to the full develop- as adult and juvenile public offenders.
ment of the person and to the disci- • International Association of Marriage and
pline of counseling. Family Counselors (IAMFC)
• Association for Specialists in Group Work Chartered in 1989, IAMFC members
(ASGW) help develop healthy family systems
Chartered in 1973, ASGW provides through prevention, education, and
professional leadership in the field of therapy.
group work, establishes standards for • National Career Development Association
professional training, and supports (NCDA)
research and the dissemination of
knowledge. Originally the National Vocational
Guidance Association, NCDA was one
of the founding associations of ACA
in 1952. The mission of NCDA is to
promote career development for all
people across the lifespan through
public information, member services,
conferences, and publications.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

• National Employment Counseling Asso- In 1981, the Council for Accredita-

ciation (NECA) tion of Counseling and Related Educa-
NECA was originally the National Em- tional Programs (CACREP) was established
ployment Counselors Association and by the Board of Directors of ACA and
was chartered in 1966. The commit- charged with the evaluation of four types
ment of NECA is to offer professional of counselor preparation programs: (1)
leadership to people who counsel in school counseling; (2) student personnel
employment and/or career develop- services in higher education; (3) coun-
ment settings. seling in community and other agency
settings (entry level); and (4) counselor
A school counselor may belong to
education (doctoral level).
more than one division. In addition,
these same divisions are usually found at CACREP is a legally separate organiza-
state and local levels, each with a special tion, but affiliated with ACA and ASCA.
interest and purpose. Some divisions and University counselor education programs
regional affiliations, depending upon voluntarily submit a self-study that is
counselor membership, are more active reviewed against the CACREP standards
and influential than others. by counselors and counselor educators to
ensure students receive a quality educa-
Professional Preparation tional experience.
Helping school counselors define their In addition, The International Regis-
profession and gain respectable recogni- try of Counselor Education Programs (IR-
tion is a continuing challenge. Profession- CEP), is a subsidiary program of CACREP
alism assures the public certain standards designed to create a global community of
are being fulfilled. Counselors at all counselor education programs. Research
school levels need to receive the best kind shows CACREP graduates perform better
of professional preparation. on the National Counselor Examination
for Licensure and Certification (NCE).
The American Counseling Association
(ACA) currently recognizes three profes- All of these efforts emphasize how the
sional credentials: (1) accreditation; (2) relatively new counseling profession is be-
certification; and (3) licensure. What is coming solidified and how, until recently,
counselor certification? Should school it was possible for many school counselors
counselors be licensed? Should they be to enter the schools with minimal or in-
licensed at a national level? How is licen- adequate training. New standards require
sure related to the current practices of school counselors to graduate from ap-
state certification? Where are the accred- proved programs with at least 48 semester
ited counselor education programs? hours. Many institutions, recognizing the
complexity of preparing counselors and
In 1967, the American School Coun- the difficult nature of their work, offer full
selor Association (ASCA) issued guidelines two-year programs, ranging from 64 to
for the preparation of secondary school 72 semester hours and ending in either a
counselors. In the following year, addi- master's or educational specialist degree.
tional guidelines were adopted for el- Others, because of tradition and lack of
ementary school counselors. By 1979, the resources, have struggled to meet the stan-
Association for Counselor Education and dards and their future could be in doubt
Supervision (ACES) adopted standards for since students want to attend fully accred-
preparation of counselors by universities ited programs.
and colleges.

100 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

As accreditation is to university As states consider procedures for

programs, certification is to individu- giving merit to counselors and teachers,
als. Certification is professional recogni- a national standardized test is almost
tion granted to a school counselor when always part of such procedures. The
certain predetermined qualifications have NBCC examination may provide a valu-
been met. Most states have certification able service to state or district groups who
programs that grant guidance certificates, must provide evidence of competence for
enabling a person to be employed in a counselors who are to be hired or who are
public school. However, the requirements to receive merit. Because the NBCC also
for certification among states can vary publishes a national registry of counselors
considerably. Some states require as few who are certified by the organization, it
as 24 hours beyond a teaching certifi- could be used by potential employers.
cate. Others require two years of teaching Certification by NBCC does not imply
experience and then a master's degree in a counselor can do any particular type
school counseling. Sixteen states do not of counseling, but the counselor knows
require previous teaching experience, but about fundamental counseling activities
do require a master's degree with exten- applicable to a variety of settings. To ob-
sive field experiences. tain certification, a person must provide
Certification of school counselors is evidence of academic and experiential
still done by state governmental agen- activities (minimum requirement is a
cies, which are responsible for affirming master's degree) and successfully com-
applicants have the necessary credentials plete a written examination. Many school
and related qualifications to be granted a counselors have obtained this profes-
standardized certificate for employment. sional certification in order to be part of
These state agencies review college tran- a national registry and to emphasize their
scripts and rely on universities to set and professional potential.
measure the standards that are needed to Licensure, as it affects most school
be a school counselor. counselors at this time, is designed to
A counselor certification process was help regulate the practice of mental
initiated in 1982 by ACA when it created health counseling outside of school hours.
the National Board for Credentialing of School counselors who want to be in
Counselors (NBCC). NBCC concentrates private practice with paying clients may
on generic counseling competencies obtain licensure in some states, which en-
applicable to all professional counselors ables them to open offices and to charge
and does not attempt to certify types of for their counseling services. Ethically,
counselors or counselors for specialty school counselors in private practice do
areas, such as school counseling. How- not meet with students or parents in the
ever, NBCC appears to be building a school systems where they are assigned or
reliable foundation that could be used employed.
by school districts and state divisions of
education as a certifying agency because
of its national scope and national testing

Educational Media Corporation® 101

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Continuing Education Another alternative, although a

for Counselors discouraging one, is to reduce the entry
requirements for counselors, allowing
The preparation and training of teachers to take a few counseling courses
school counselors reached a crisis in 1986. beyond their bachelor's degree to meet
There were fewer students enrolled in minimum state standards for employ-
graduate counselor education programs ment. However, this is risky business.
pursing school counseling, despite the First, it could mean many schools would
increased demand for more school coun- employ counselors who were neither
selors. Currently, there are more jobs knowledgeable nor skilled enough to
available than there are students graduat- build and implement a comprehensive
ing from accredited university programs developmental guidance and counseling
in almost every state. As more retirements program. Once a position is filled, it is
occur, the shortage may become acute. very difficult to remove a person, even if a
One alternative is for counselor educa- more qualified person is available. Second,
tion departments to recruit more students it circumvents professional standards and
for school counseling. However, this is accredited university programs. If this
not easy to do, especially in those states kind of alternative became a reality, a
where counselor certification is depen- massive staff development effort would be
dent upon at least two years of teaching needed in the school districts.
experience. It is difficult to convince some Some universities are attempting to
teachers to return to a two-year gradu- offer more off-campus courses and degree
ate program at a university, giving up programs through continuing and dis-
or substantially reducing their incomes tance education. Online courses also have
during that period. It is more of a sacrifice become available.
when school systems do not pay coun-
selors an extra stipend or a salary that Professional organizations have
makes it worthwhile for an individual to become more responsive to counselors'
attend graduate school and earn a degree needs for skill development and offer
in counseling. extended training workshops as part of
the conference proceedings each year.
To complicate matters, within the past Yet, most staff development programs are
several years, the vast majority of coun- typically one-time meetings and there is a
selor education programs in the United lack of follow-up. Staff-development train-
States have been geared toward mental ing for counselors should be a continuing
health and agency counseling. They are process.
not as well prepared to accommodate
teachers who want to pursue a school
Professional Ethics
counseling degree as they once were. It is
not likely they will change in the next few A school counselor's conduct is gov-
years without some substantial incentives, erned by a set of professional ethics. Pro-
such as extra funding from national or fessional organizations (ACA and ASCA)
state sources. The concept of "counselor have published ethical standards by
institutes," such as the NDEA of 1958, which counselors function. A copy of the
may need to be revived in order to avoid a ethical standards for school counselors, as
national crisis. adopted by ASCA and revised in 2004, can
be seen in Appendix C.

102 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

One of the first ethical obligations of Counselors also must be aware of their
counselors is to determine whether or not ethical responsibilities regarding student
they are qualified to provide a particular records and parental authority. Students
service. If they do not have the training, have rights which have been extended
skill, or experience to assist a counselee, to them through various court rulings.
then they are obligated to refer the person There will probably be other court deci-
to someone else. This is usually not a sions in the future to further define and
problem for school counselors, but, on clarify the rights of students as they relate
occasion, a difficult case (e.g., suicide, dys- to parental and school authority. If any
functioning parents) may be encountered school procedures seem questionable, it
where consultation, direct assistance, or a is the counselor's obligation to confront
referral is needed. and challenge them, reaching agreement
In general, precautions are taken whereby the welfare and integrity of a
to protect individuals from physical or student is protected.
psychological traumas resulting from the ASCA (http://www.schoolcounselor.
work of a counselor. The counseling rela- m:g) developed position statements on
tionship and confidential information are a number of school counseling-related
considered private, unless a counselee's issues. Among these are those with such
condition or situation indicates an im- topics as:
minent danger either to the counselee or • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syn-
someone else. In this case, the counselor drome (AIDS)
is obligated to take reasonable action and
to inform responsible authorities. Some • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disor-
state laws (e.g., regarding child abuse or der
suicide) may dictate some professional • Censorship
actions. Even then, however, a counselor • Character Education
must inform the counselee and assume
• Child Abuse/Neglect Prevention
responsibility for the procedures that are
followed. Ethical responsibilities respect • College Entrance Test Preparation
the integrity and welfare of counselees. • Comprehensive School Counseling
If a student is involved in a therapeu- Programs
tic relationship with a therapist in the • Conflict Resolution Programs
community, it is assumed school guidance • Confidentiality
and counseling activities will not inter-
fere with that process. School counseling, • Corporal Punishment in the Schools
although focusing on personal and social • Counselor Supportive Staff
issues, is related to learning in school and • Credentialing and Licensure
general development. School counselors
and therapists are not obligated to confer • Critical Incident Response in the
with one another or to receive approval Schools
from whoever first started working with • Cross/Multicultural Counseling
a counselee. School counseling is not • Discipline
therapy. However, with the counselee's
• Dropout Prevention/Students-at-Risk
permission, there are many times when
consultation between a therapist and a • Educational Planning
school counselor would be appropriate • Evaluation
and practical. • Family/Parenting Education

Educational Media Corporation® 103

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

• Gender Equity ASCA has position statements that

• Gifted Student Programs help parents and administrators iden-
tify counselor roles and functions. These
• Group Counseling general guidelines provide a base upon
• Home Schooling which to build a developmental guidance
• Military Recruitment program, to identify priorities, and to gain
support for a professional role.
• Parent Consent for Services
The job description of the school
• Peer Helping counselor and the counselor/student
• Promotion of Safe Schools ratio affects the outcomes of a guidance
• Role of the Professional School Coun- program. Each school district is unique
selor and what may be an ideal caseload in one
district may be untenable in others.
• Sexual Orientation of Youth
ASCA recommends a counselor/
• Special Needs Students
student ratio of 1 to 250. However, the
• Student Assistance Programs National Center for Education Statistics
• Students-at-Risk (2010) surveyed states and reported a na-
• Student Safety on the Internet tional average of 1 to 467. This was based
on data from 105,519 counselors during
• Nonschool Credentialed Personnel the 2008 school year. Nearly half of the
Hyperlinks to all of the statements public schools reported rising counselor
can be found at the ASCA website - caseloads and increased work demands. Among the states with the highest ra-
positionstatements.doc. They can be tios were California (1:986 students per
downloaded from the Web as a file. counselor), Minnesota (1:799), and Utah
Determining Counselor The use of the internet and comput-
Role and Ratios erized counseling packages is increasing
Who determines the role and func- because of the high student-counselor ra-
tion of school counselors? Practically tios, especially in high schools. Some high
speaking, school counselors usually decide school programs have interactive com-
their own roles and functions. This may ponents, charts and graphic information,
involve some negotiation with adminis- fill-in-the-blank counselor recommenda-
trators, but it is typically the counselors tion forms, as well as lists of colleges and
themselves who help others learn and resources based on a mix of GPA and past
make decisions about what they do. performance. These programs can beef-
ficient, save time, and make it possible
At first, counselors were drawn into for schools with high student-counselor
the idea of following therapy models. ratios to better meet student needs and
It didn't take long to see this was inap-
demands, especially in career planning.
propriate. The idea of spending most of Only time and research will tell if such
their time doing individual counseling an approach is effective, but it is clearly a
was appealing but impractical because of future trend.
high student-counselor ratios. Interviews
in some schools were averaging less than Counselor role and student ratio can
10 minutes. "Hi, how's it going?" "You be influenced by the nature of a school's
know I'm here to help you if you need program. In Lincoln, Nebraska, the coun-
assistance." seling staff in one high school agreed to
move away from a traditional therapeutic

104 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

model to a service-based developmental & Mitchell, 2005) indicated urban school

program for all students. The new model counselors were participating in typical
enabled students to be assisted by dif- school counseling activities (e.g., counsel-
ferent counselors and each counselor, in ing, consulting, coordinating) as pre-
turn, was able to focus on their unique scribed by Gysbers and Henderson (2001)
skills and talents. Both students and coun- and Myrick (2003).
selors benefited. Burnham and Jackson (2000) pointed
It is most likely schoDl counselors to the discrepancies between actual
will continue to have higher student- practice and existing models. They found
ratios than those that are recommended a role ambiguity that was present in the
and desired. This suggests counselors in early days of the guidance movement still
the future will put a higher premium on remained an issue. Existing models were
time-management in their counseling and considered viable and they contrasted two
guidance activities as well as time spent (Gysbers and Myrick), upon which most
with students. Certain student and parent state departments of education were draw-
populations will get more time than oth- ing ideas for their state guidelines. It was
ers. In addition, there will be a need for evident from this study school counselors
more large and small group approaches, were performing the functions described
as well as drawing more upon the help in current program models. However, dis-
of paraprofessionals, volunteers, student crepancies and wide variations did exist.
helpers, teachers, and other staff. The authors also acknowledged there were
Some states have proposed legislation some national initiatives for transforming
that outlines and dictates what coun- the counselor role.
selors should do. Professional organiza- In 2001, national leaders from school
tions have lobbied long and hard against districts and universities met to offer
such mandates. Most legislators were not their recommendations on what a na-
privileged to experience a comprehensive tional model of school counseling should
developmental guidance and counseling include. Other meetings and thoughtful
program in the schools they attended. discussions followed. Eventually, Trish
Many never worked closely with school Hatch, San Diego State University, and
counselors, especially those who have Judy Bowers, Tucson Unified School Dis-
implemented the role and function as trict, provided the leadership needed to
described in this book. They simply did put things into writing. They spent two
not exist in many places. Therefore, coun- years assembling, synthesizing, and de-
selors and their professional organizations scribing the collection of information and
must take the lead in determining their ideas. In addition, state models and the
own destiny, rather than accepting one professional literature were reviewed.
dictated by law. Subsequently, the ASCA National
Do guidance programs differ depend- Model (2005) was approved by the ASCA
ing upon whether they are in a rural, membership. The model presented guide-
suburban, or urban area? Does the setting lines for a framework suited for develop-
affect how effectively counselors fulfill mental guidance programs. It pointed
their roles? Apparently not, although the counselors in a direction that would help
amount of time allotted and given to vari- define and clarify their role around four
ous counselor functions tends to differ. fundamental components:
The results of one study (Holcomb-McCoy

Educational Media Corporation® 105

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

• Foundation: Beliefs and philosophy. for school counselors. Yet, this message
• Delivery system: Curriculum, student has not reached all the decision makers in
planning, and responsive services school districts. Many school counselors
(e.g., counseling, consultation and find themselves engaged in functions that
referrals), and system support. are remotely related to the professional
• Management system: Analyzing data,
evaluation, action plans and orga- Despite some encouraging findings
nized activities. (e.g., Chata & Loesch, 2007), principals
continue to rate many inappropriate
• Accountability system: Measuring counselor activities as significant. In a
progress. survey of future principals (Fitch et al.,
In addition, Gysbers & Henderson 2001), over 50 percent of participants
(2006) outlined how counselors might rated registration, record keeping, testing,
distribute their time, especially in the and special education assistance as signifi-
delivery system component. Percentages cant or highly significant activities.
of recommended school counselor time School administrators, unless they
varied among three school grade levels. once were counselors, know very little
Unfortunately, studies have consis- about school guidance programs. The
tently found school counselors are not topic receives such slight attention in the
spending their time as they prefer and courses designed to prepare administra-
much of what they do is not reflective tors that it could be viewed as irrelevant.
of what is currently advocated as best For better or for worse, most principals
practice (Scarborough, 2005). Preferred follow the model and examples of previ-
activities refer to school counseling activi- ous administrators or those with whom
ties recommended by the ASCA National they have worked in other settings. At the
Model, including consultation, coordina- same time, they are ultimately respon-
tion, counseling, and curriculum inter- sible for all school programs, including
ventions. guidance. They evaluate the program and
With the help of state departments of counselor performance.
education, counselor education depart- Most counselors, in order to keep
ments, and professional organizations, the their jobs, will follow the lead of their
role and function of school counselors has building principals or district policy.
slowly moved toward a uniform identity. Most principals expect their counselors
Until the emergence of the ASCA National to take responsibility for developing a
Model, counselor identity was depen- comprehensive developmental guid-
dent upon university training programs, ance and counseling program. Therefore,
the professional literature, and examples considering history and given the man-
drawn from exemplary schools. ner in which administrators learn about
At all grade levels, school counselors the work of counselors, principals need
are encouraged to spend the majority (or to learn more about the ASCA Model and
approximately 80%) of their time provid- how counselors can best function in their
ing direct services to students through job. Studies show principals are respon-
guidance curriculum, individual student sive, can change their views, if necessary,
planning, and responsive services. Less and have been able to prioritize appropri-
time should be spent providing indirect ate and inappropriate school counselor
services through system support activi- activities according to ASCA recommen-
ties. The ASCA Model also includes a list dations (Bringman, Muller & Lee, 2008).
of appropriate and inappropriate activities

106 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

A Practical Approach to For many years, especially during the

formative years, the counselor's role was a
the Counselor's Role frequent topic of conversation and debate
In a comprehensive developmen- in the profession. There was much con-
tal guidance and counseling program, fusion. Books and articles were written,
a counselor's work can be described in papers and programs were presented at
terms of job functions and tasks. These conferences, and committees and com-
vary from one school to another and missions were appointed to study the role
often depend upon expectations from dif- issues, but the counselor's role was still
ferent sources and circumstances. As the not fully understood.
job functions or tasks performed by the Counselor educators, for example,
counselor become evident, it is possible to argued for a role that might be compared
have a better idea of the counselor's role. to a counseling psychologist or a mental
Hopefully, the role that emerges is compa- health counselor. The counselor, in this
rable to the one advocated by professional case, was to provide a unique relationship
organizations and educators. to students by virtue of not being aligned
The term "role" is an elusive one. It with authority. It was assumed students
generally refers to the part one plays in a would be more inclined to communicate
given situation, such as the role assumed openly and honestly with counselors who
by a professional worker. Function, as refrained from passing judgments and
differentiated from role, refers to the way who were permissive and unconditionally
in which the worker carries out their part. accepting. Thus, the counselor was to set
Function gives attention to various behav- up interviews where students could talk
iors or tasks that might be performed in about their problems and concerns. The
the role. counselor, often following client-centered
Over the years, many studies have at- counseling theory, tried to enter the
tempted to examine the counselor's role. student's frame of reference and provide
They concentrated primarily on student, assistance by being a good listener.
teacher, parent, and administrator percep- Most administrators, on the other
tions and they also compared these per- hand, saw counselors in a different light.
ceptions to one another. However, taken They needed help in managing the
together, the studies seem incomplete and school, disciplining students, meeting and
ambiguous because of varying and lim- communicating with parents, and orga-
ited samples, questionnaires, and research nizing curriculum. There were many day-
methodologies. to-day problems that needed attention
Some unanswered questions are: and counselor time was flexible. Teachers
How do role perceptions develop? Which were less available to help because they
comes first, role perceptions or job func- were assigned classes that met at regu-
tions? How do role and function interact? larly scheduled times. It seemed inap-
What have school counselors been doing propriate to interrupt teachers, especially
that contribute to current perceptions? when counselors were ready and willing
Who determines the counselor's functions to assist. Although they liked the idea of
and role? How can a person's role percep- counseling and having a guidance special-
tion be changed? ist in the school, most administrators saw
counselors as their assistants.

Educational Media Corporation® 107

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Professional counselor organiza- In addition, the issues of privacy and

tions, such as ASCA and ACES, tended to confidentiality were prominent as coun-
align themselves with counselor educa- selors talked about their unique role in
tors. They took the position counseling the school. Counselors were to be "stu-
students was the primary responsibility dent advocates" and holders of confi-
of counselors. Although some unrelated dential information. They increasingly
guidance tasks would be part of a counsel- secluded themselves in their offices, form-
or's job, counseling was a unique service. ing an inner chamber within the school
Avoiding specification of duties and per- where students could unload their secrets
formance standards, professional leaders and reveal their problems. Such a position
often spoke in generalities when empha- inevitably created the image counseling
sizing how counselors were to assist stu- was a hidden and mysterious process. It
dents in decision making, career choices, also placed counselors in an adversary
and personal development. In addition, role with many teachers who believed
test interpretation, career information, counselors always sided with students.
educational placement, and consultation Wrenn (1957) reported people in the
with teachers and parents were frequently profession did not agree on the role of
mentioned as counselor responsibilities. the counselor in a school. Ten years later,
Counselors, themselves, seemed according to Bentley (1968), the situation
unsure of their role and most mistakenly had not changed. Now, more than four
assumed someone in the school system decades later, the same issues are being
would know what they should do and tell discussed and there is still concern about
them. When counselors were the "new the role and image of the school coun-
kids on the block, nobody in education
was sure what to expect from them. Since Can and should the counselor's role be
most counselors were minimally prepared, defined? Some suggest it already has been
it followed most also were skeptical about defined by virtue of what counselors have
their abilities and skills in counseling. been doing for the past several decades. In
They were uncertain about how to estab- this case, the role is a restrictive one, espe-
lish a guidance program in which they cially in the secondary schools. And, if we
functioned as specialists. Although the studied the weekly schedules of counselors
idea of providing counseling services to and compiled a list of their job functions,
students was appealing, they had difficul- it is likely we would conclude many have
ty putting counseling theory in practice. become administrative assistants or clerks.
Counselors often found it easier and The exception might be elementary school
more expedient to advise or even lecture counselors, who usually have had more
students on their behavior, instead of tak- training and who have had more latitude
ing the role of a listener to help students in developing their role and functions.
behave in responsible ways. For many Herman Peters (1962), an early leader
counselors, performing administrative in the profession, was concerned and
duties seemed one way of justifying their cautioned, "If we (counselors) do not
jobs and this, in turn, accounted for the define our duties, we will be saddled with
lack of time to engage students in coun- tasks and responsibilities that not only
seling. take away from our primary concerns,
but actually interfere with the guidance
function." And, even more, if those who
are involved in the counseling profession

108 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

do not take responsibility for defining the Managing Counselor Time:

counselor's role, then others will, or the
role may be eliminated all together. A Practical Approach
The role of the school counselor Generally, there are six fundamental
continues to be poorly defined in many interventions most counselors use in their
school districts and there are many dis- jobs. Because counselor time, behaviors,
crepancies in role implementation based skills, and activities can be related specifi-
on models (Burnham &Jackson, 2000). cally to these interventions, they can be
In response to a call for more standards used to gain a picture of the role or image
and models upon which counselors could of a developmental school counselor.
agree, ASCA formed a task force that
examined the standards it was promoting
and how they might be implemented.
If counselors know their role, then
they have a reference point to help them
understand the issues related to the job.
They can then communicate their role to
others more effectively, especially to those
with whom they work. This, in turn, clari-
fies expectations, opens doors for creative
innovations, and improves the chances
counselors will be seen as part of the team
of educators in the school.
While there have been some attempts
to differentiate the school counselor's
role by grade level, very little seems to be
gained by such an approach. It evades the
fundamental professional issue: What is
the job of a school counselor? In addition,
the only way a comprehensive guidance
and counseling program-kindergarten
through high school-can be imple-
mented is to have some agreement on the
fundamental role of a school counselor.
For many years the generic roles of
a school counselor have been counselor,
consultant, and coordinator. Within these,
there seems to be a specialist's role related
to specific kinds of job functions and in-
terventions. The nature of student prob-
lems, guidance topics, and focuses of dis-
cussion may change from one grade level
to another. However, the way in which
counselors define their roles and manage
their time around basic job functions and
interventions will not change significantly
from one grade level to another.

Educational Media Corporation® 109

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Figure 4.1
Counselor Interventions
(Weekly Scheduling Plan)

Counselor General Hours Per

Intervention Caseload Week

Direct Services
Individual 4-6 cases, high priority or target students 2-6
Counseling meeting twice a week for one grading period
Small Group 3-5 groups, meeting twice a week for 6-12 3-10
Counseling sessions over 3-6 weeks

Large Group 2-4 large groups, meeting once or twice a 2-3

Classroom Guidance week

Indirect Services
Peer Facilitator Trainer/Coordinator of PF program and/or 1-4
Programs and Projects projects

Consultation Individual: Teachers or parents 1-2

(20-30 minutes)
Group: Teacher or parent seminars or 1-2
or conferences (30-45 minute)

Minimal Weekly Time Commitment 10 hours

Coordination Specific coordination activities or events 2-4

highlighted in the counselor's annual plan
(career development, character education,
accountability study)
Flexible Time Unscheduled time to be used at the
counselors's discretio (additional direct and
indirect services, other coordination
responsibilities) Variable

110 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

Six Basic Counselor or more. In a few ideal cases, counselor-

student ratios in high schools have been
Interventions known to be as low as 1:250. If the ratio
The six basic counselor interventions were 1:100, the task of providing individ-
are shown in Figure 4.1. The interventions ual counseling to all students would still
outline the work of a school counselor. be formidable. It is simply unrealistic and
They have been described as counselor impractical to rely on individual counsel-
functions, services, approaches, tasks, ing as the only counselor intervention.
activities, or jobs. Sometimes they have Individual counseling by certified pro-
been referred to as roles themselves. For fessional school counselors is becoming a
our purposes, the term "intervention" is luxury in most schools. It cannot be pro-
preferred because it best describes what a vided to everyone. Some students require
counselor does or can do in a comprehen- it because of the nature of their concerns
sive guidance and counseling program. or their inability to work in groups.
Each of the interventions is discussed As a counselor, you might think of
in greater detail in other chapters of this individual counseling on a small caseload
book. However, take a brief look at them basis. More specifically, about six to eight
now, including some related concepts and students might be seen individually for
general recommendations. In addition, a given period of time. Individual coun-
consider how these interventions are as- selees, targeted for your caseload, might
sociated with counselor role and image. meet you for as many as 12 sessions in
a six-week grading period, or about two
Individual Counseling times a week.
Individual counseling involves a per- This caseload would be reflected in
sonal interaction between the counselor a weekly schedule or plan for manag-
and a student when just the two of them ing your time. The estimated individual
are working together on a problem or top- counseling session is about 30 minutes,
ic of interest. It is one-to-one. The helping although it could be longer or shorter,
relationship and counseling experience is depending upon the problem and the type
more intense. There is more opportunity of counseling procedures that are being
to interview a student in greater depth used. This also varies from one counselor
than in other interventions. to another because of counselor personali-
Working with individuals was once ty, working style, and school organization.
thought to be the only way to do coun- Individual counseling time on your
seling. The private, face-to-face meeting weekly schedule is not the "crisis hour;"
was considered to be the best situation in rather, it is for students with whom you
which to form a close personal relation- are working regularly and who have
ship and to solve personal problems. It scheduled appointments. These are stu-
was assumed in individual counseling dents on whom you are concentrating
counselees would "open up" and disclose and taking more time to provide assis-
more than if they were in a group. tance.
Even if individual counseling were the As part of your job, you would con-
most desirable intervention, there are too tinue to have "one-time" interviews with
many students to serve. One elementary other students. They might drop in for a
school counselor, for example, might be quiet chat or to explore something quick-
assigned to a school with 700 to 1,000 ly. Sometimes a brief individual meet-
children. Middle and high school coun- ing is scheduled as part of a follow-up
selors typically have ratios of 1 to 500 to another intervention. Some students

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

simply want to say a friendly "hello." If all students are to have an oppor-
These one-time sessions vary in serious- tunity to receive counseling, then group
ness and intent, but they usually lack work must be part of the counselor's job.
continuity. Each one has its own purpose Small group counseling, for example,
and moments of closure. Follow-up may makes it possible for you to see several
or may not be needed, depending upon a students at one time and, eventually,
situation. But, one-time, drop-in, sponta- more of the students assigned to you.
neous sessions are not considered a part Group relationships offer a different di-
of a working "case load." These meetings mension to counseling that is needed and
are simply part of the business of being a beneficial.
counselor in a school. Some students go to extraordinary
and inappropriate measures to be recog-
Small Group Counseling nized and accepted by their classmates.
Small group counseling involves a These students may be rejected or thought
counselor working with two or more of as "weird." Since their behaviors are
students simultaneously. Small group intended to receive attention, they need
counseling in the schools most often honest reactions from others about their
happens with five or six students. This attitudes and behaviors, especially from
provides group members an opportunity their peers. Because behavior is generally
to explore ideas, feelings, and behaviors as reinforced or extinguished by the reac-
they relate to one person or to all group tions of others, a group of people re-
parti ci pants. sponding to a person's feelings, ideas, and
Counselors who think it would be behaviors is potentially more powerful
ideal to see all students on an individual than the response of one person, espe-
basis assume more positive things can cially if the group members are viewed as
happen when a counselee receives the un- significant persons in their life.
divided personal attention of a counselor. Common concerns and interests can
This position, however, underestimates provide a foundation for most groups.
the power of group dynamics and ignores When there is a feeling of mutual support
the fact most learning happens in the and a sense of belonging, a group identity
context of groups (e.g., families, class- emerges which enables group members to
rooms, and social groups). risk exploring ideas, feelings, and behav-
When children reach school age, iors at deeper levels. Honesty and genu-
peer influence plays an important part in ineness permeate small group counseling
reinforcing and discouraging behaviors sessions. There is a realization one is not
and building self-concepts. This influence alone and people do care. These are pow-
increases as students become older and erful healing forces and they contribute to
more socially conscious. Students want the learning process.
to be liked and accepted by their peers. Rushing ahead without considering
They frequently turn to their classmates the consequences was a problem to Sarah,
and friends for assistance before seeking a ninth grade student. Parents lectured
an adult. They are interested in what their and teachers criticized, but when a group
peers think about them. of peers gave her some personal feedback
on her behavior, she listened attentively.
She did not want to be perceived as some-
one who was irresponsible and lacked
control. With a heightened sense of
awareness, she set about trying to change.

112 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

Group counseling provides an oppor- Limiting the number of counseling

tunity for several students to be part of sessions also enables you to meet with
an interpersonal process that is directed more students. Although most students
to the four facilitative processes of self- would probably benefit if they met more
disclosure, feedback, increased awareness often, it is more realistic to take whatever
and decision making, and responsible gains have been made and move on to
action. If the facilitative conditions, such another group. There are always excep-
as trust, caring, understanding, and accep- tions and you may want to meet with a
tance are part of the group climate, then group for a more extended time. Getting
students will explore their feelings, ideas, some group closure within ten or twelve
and behaviors with the group. sessions is considered practical. The group
Group counseling will be discussed could always meet again later for some
in more detail in Chapter 7. However, a follow-up sessions.
few factors need to be noted here as we Small group counseling is usually
consider the counselor's role in a compre- structured. While there will be times
hensive developmental guidance plan. when group sessions are spontaneous
Small group counseling is time lim- and free-flowing, most school counselors
ited. Students are usually not available lead groups where members participate in
for more than ten or twelve meetings. structured learning activities. These group
Even this may not be realistic in some activities are designed to encourage partic-
schools where academic schedules make ipation and to promote self-disclosure and
it difficult for counselors to have access to feedback. Although similar activities may
students. Students are usually willing and be used, each group has a special unique-
responsive, but the daily schedule in a ness of its own and may react differently.
school can dictate the way in which small Target students can be identified for
group counseling is organized. participation in small groups. Some stu-
It is recommended you meet with dents are difficult to work with individu-
your small counseling groups no less than ally and may respond better to counsel-
four sessions, and preferably six to eight ing in a group. Small group counseling,
times. It also is preferable to meet the especially when it has a developmental
group twice a week, although once a week focus, can make them feel more accepted
is typical. The group sessions are usually and less like a problem. In addition, you
completed during one school grading pe- can use small group counseling to build
riod. Thus, it is possible to provide a series a personal working relationship with
of six to eight group sessions within three individual students, so they might later
to four weeks. be more responsive to other counseling
interventions, if needed.
On occasion, if students are accessible,
you might meet with a group for ten or As part of your weekly schedule, you
twelve sessions, but seldom beyond this might meet four to six small groups of
number. If students are taken out of their students a week, preferably twice a week
academic classes, small group counseling for about 30 to 45 minutes each time.
in some schools might be limited to four This means budgeting about four to ten
sessions. Any less time makes it difficult hours a week for small group counseling
to create a close working relationship sessions (see Figure 4.1). Some counselors
within a group and more time can penal- prefer to work with more groups and are
ize students because of class absences. able to do so because of their personali-

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

ties, interests, and stamina. Most counsel- In large group guidance, cooperative
ors, on the other hand, find it too difficult learning methods are used in which stu-
to work with more than ten groups a dents work together in small groups and
week, even if small group counseling were with the total group. This helps person-
the preferred mode of intervention and alize and individualize activities. It also
time were available. encourages all students to participate.
Large group guidance, for the most
Large Group Guidance part, has been ignored in the secondary
Meeting with individuals and small schools. Sometimes occupational materi-
groups of students is still not enough, als have been disseminated or general in-
considering the high student-counselor formation about college or vocations have
ratios. There are too many students who been presented to large groups. Yet, even
need guidance and counseling services. in these situations, counselors have relied
Therefore, you also will want to meet with on meeting students individually as their
students in larger groups. customary mode of intervention.
Large group guidance consists of The infrequent use of large group
meeting 15 or more students in a group. guidance in the secondary schools has
Many counselors consider anything above been blamed on lack of teacher coopera-
eight students to be large group work. tion, lack of space, and the difficulty of
Typically, a classroom group of about 25 organizing large group meetings. The
to 30 students is the basis for large group problem, however, seems more related to
work. However, it also is possible to meet counselors working from a crisis, rather
and work with as many as 150 students or than a developmental approach. Far too
more. many counselors are uncomfortable with
Classroom guidance, for example, is large groups and unprepared to work with
a typical counselor intervention at the them.
elementary level. A counselor may meet Although large group guidance has
with an entire class and work with the not been a common practice in junior
classroom teacher in providing group and senior high schools, it has been a part
guidance activities. These can be inte- of many middle schools. Teacher as advi-
grated into the daily or weekly schedules sor programs (TAP) provide an organized
of classroom teachers. guidance curriculum for all students,
Students are familiar with working much like that in the elementary schools.
and learning in large groups. This can be Again, there are still too many teachers
a problem if students have experienced and counselors who are unfamiliar with
teachers who depend primarily on lectur- how to work with students in large group
ing or independent study and who are guidance.
unfamiliar with group procedures that Meeting with students in large groups
encourage students to interact. Most is common sense. The activities that take
teachers, for example, seat students in place in the meetings need to be personal-
long rows of chairs. Group participation ized and this requires careful planning. As
and discussion is limited because of this a counselor, you will give attention to the
seating arrangement. Even when classes topics to be discussed, group participa-
have been organized for more discus- tion, cooperative learning activities, and
sion, teachers tend to talk too much and time available.
students talk with one another through
the teacher.

114 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

Currently, elementary school counsel- As we know, counselors cannot see

ors schedule more large group guidance all the students in the school who need
than do other counselors. Their weekly individual attention. Sometimes students
schedules may show them working with prefer to talk with peers instead of adults.
as many as five or six classes. However, When peer facilitators work as special
most counselors at all levels could typi- friends, they are matched with students
cally schedule two to three large groups who need to talk with someone who will
for guidance (see Figure 4.1). listen to them. Peer facilitators are not
Large group meetings are generally trained to be counselors, but they can
scheduled for 20 to 30 minutes in the help other students to think about their
elementary schools and 30 to 4S minutes problems, concerns, or special interests
in the secondary schools. Some counsel- and assist them in finding help, when ap-
ors in high schools meet for a class period propriate.
(e.g., 4S to SS minutes), because it is Peer facilitators can work as small
convenient with a teacher or within the group leaders too. Working together,
school's daily schedule. TAP provides a counselors and peer facilitators can make
regular large group meeting time. large group guidance a practical approach
to meeting many of the guidance and
Peer Facilitator counseling needs of students.
Training and Projects For example, five peer facilitators
Students as helpers to other students worked with six students each in a large
is a valuable concept that has been in room where a counselor was able to super-
education for many years. Many young vise all six groups. The counselor began
people are learning how to help others with a general presentation about coping
through peer facilitator training programs. with stress. Students then were organized
These might even be viewed as leadership into five small groups. Peer facilitators,
training groups. working as small group leaders, helped
group members share ideas. Instead of a
As we shall see later (Chapter 9), most few assertive students dominating a large
of what peer facilitators do can be classi- group discussion while others listened, all
fied into four roles: (1) student assistants 30 students actively participated.
to counselors and teachers; (2) tutors; (3)
special friends; and (4) small group lead- Peer facilitators do not take the place
ers. Students learn how to help others and of counselors. They help extend guidance
participate in supervised projects where services throughout the school by work-
these roles are used. ing closely with teachers and counselors
in supervised projects and activities. Con-
Peer facilitators can assist counselors sequently, counselors-with peer facilita-
in a guidance office with many routine tors as their helping hands-can reach
tasks and they also can be assigned as more students who need guidance.
special tutors to work with students who
are having academic problems, perhaps
because a student is new to the school
or was sick and absent. Counselors who
take time to train and organize tutoring
projects win support from teachers and

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

As Myrick and Erney (2000) ex- Peer facilitator programs vary in

plained: terms of the time required of a trainer.
Very few students can learn to For instance, in some high schools, a
counsel other students. Counseling counselor teaches a peer facilitator class
is a special skill that takes extensive which meets about one hour every day
training, study, and practice. Howev- of the school week. While many projects
er, all students can learn to facilitate can happen during this class period, some
other students. Some will be more projects require a commitment of other
effective than others, especially those times during the week. Some counselors
who have received training in com- meet their groups two days for one hour
munication skills and interpersonal each. Other counselors have trained their
relationships, who are participating peer helpers outside of school hours and
in a peer facilitator program (p. 1). meet with them over lunch on different
occasions for planning, supervision, and
Peer facilitator training programs of follow-up training.
all kinds have developed over the years.
Some have been successful despite very A few schools have designated teach-
little planning and this often is attrib- ers as peer facilitator trainers because
uted to the personalities and styles of the an elective class is offered to students
students and program coordinators. They through the regular social studies curricu-
have energy and enthusiasm and they lum. In this case, successful counselors
are committed. They show interest and a work closely with those teachers, both in
caring attitude that makes their programs presentations to groups and helping them
work. identify projects in which their peer facili-
tators can use their skills.
There are other programs, however,
that are more consistently successful As TAP becomes more accepted in
because they have developed a systematic secondary schools, the TAP periods could
approach to preparing students as peer be used to train peers and help them with
facilitators and there are some well-orga- their projects. But, generally, counselors
nized projects in which the peer facilita- need to plan between one and five hours
tors can participate. Students learn about a week to work with peer facilitators as
facilitative conditions and helping char- either a trainer or a coordinator of peer
acteristics. They develop peer facilitator facilitator projects, or both.
interventions around them.
Who should be responsible for such
programs? Who should train and super- Consultation with teachers, parents,
vise students in helping projects? Ideally, students, administrators, and commu-
this person is a school counselor. nity helpers is part of the counselor's job.
Generally, it is the process of helping
There are many places throughout
someone to think about a work related
the United States where school counselors
problem. More specifically, the counselor-
do not pick up the challenge and peer
consultant helps consultees talk about
facilitator training is left to teachers or
problems they are having with a third
other support personnel. Sadly enough, it
party. Consultation is an essential part of
often happens in schools where counsel-
developmental guidance.
ors are not held in high regard. After all,
school counselors should be, by training
and professional specialization, in the
best position to develop and organize peer
facilitator training programs.

116 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

One teacher was experiencing prob- selor/consultant acts as mediator. At other

lems with a disruptive girl in her class. times, difficult situations are facilitated
The girl was talking loudly and at inap- so parents, teachers, and others can take
propriate times, making sarcastic remarks action.
to the teacher and classmates, and refus- Counselors as consult an ts are part of
ing to follow classroom procedures. The exceptional education staff meetings and
teacher was frustrated and annoyed. This child study groups. They offer their obser-
situation led her to seek out one of the vations and contribute their knowledge
counselors in her school and talk about on a case that is being considered. They
the problem. In this case, the teacher be- consult with administrators and teachers
came the consultee as the counselor acted about many matters. This might include
as a consultant. They talked about the girl discussions about curriculum, evaluations,
and tried to find some solutions for the or referrals.
It is not uncommon for the principal
Perhaps the reason consultation is giv- of a school to rely upon an effective and
en so much emphasis in a developmental supportive counselor to be a confidante.
approach to guidance is because the total "I need to talk with you about a mat-
learning environment of the school is ter.... " was one way a principal alerted
always the first consideration. Consulting the school counselor that it was time for
with teachers helps improve learning en- some consultation. The counselor was the
vironments in classrooms and throughout consultant.
the school. Moreover, consultation with
teachers enables a counselor to benefit Consultation can take place with
more students since helping one teacher individuals. Many counselors mark times
who is responsible for thirty or more stu- on their weekly schedules when teach-
dents is an efficient use of time, perhaps ers and parents can meet with them to
more than trying to see all thirty students discuss special concerns or interests. These
individually or in small groups. times are usually immediately before or
after school. Teachers also have planning
Sometimes student problems arise periods when consultation could hap-
from ineffective teaching procedures or pen. Most counselors try to accommodate
a lack of understanding between teacher teachers who have less flexible time.
and student. The counselor may not need
to counsel a student about a problem Consultation also can take place in
if teacher-student relationships are im- groups. Teacher seminars, for instance, of-
proved through consultation. fer opportunities for counselors to consult
with teachers in small or large groups.
The same thing might also be said These meetings often are scheduled before
about parent-child relationships. Parent or after school. They also can take place
education can be part of a counselor's with a team of teachers during school. In
responsibilities and some counselors are most cases, the counselor as consultant
very active in this respect. For instance, will facilitate a discussion instead of offer-
they might provide or arrange for par- ing expert advice.
ent education courses and seminars to be
offered in the evenings at their schools.
They might meet privately, usually upon
parent or teacher request, with parents
during school hours to discuss concerns
about their children. Sometimes the coun-

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

For instance, a group of teachers de- Coordination of

cided they wanted to meet and talk about Guidance Services
academically talented students who were
disruptive and acted as "class clowns." Finally, we come to the sixth coun-
They met for three 30-minute sessions selor intervention-guidance coordina-
after the last class of the day on Wednes- tion. The counselor is a coordinator and
days. The counselor as consultant started administrator of guidance services in the
the meetings, focused the topic, encour- school and this involves many activities.
aged teachers to share their thoughts and You might, for example, be involved
feelings, summarized ideas, and ended in coordinating a school's standardized
the meetings on time. The teachers felt testing program, although you do not
supported and understood in an accept- administer tests. You could choose to ad-
ing group. They had an opportunity to minister individual or group tests for your
learn about how others worked with such own purposes, but school-wide testing
students and, subsequently, they had new is preferably done by teachers and other
ideas to try. support personnel. Yet, many counselors
Consultation is a viable counselor schedule standardized tests, arrange for
intervention and it needs to be scheduled their administration and interpretation,
as part of a counselor's workload. Howev- and handle the routine procedures and
er, just because it usually involves adults paper work. It might be one of the most
is no reason it should take priority over visible aspects of the counselor's job,
other counselor interventions. For in- although it's not listed as a recommended
stance, it is not advisable to cancel a small counselor function.
group counseling session with students Some counselors are responsible for
to consult with a parent who happens to coordinating the data that go into cumu-
drop by the school. To excuse or cancel lative folders, although this responsibility
the group would communicate whatever is primarily given to teacher aides or a reg-
you are doing is not important and adult istrar in most schools. It is possible that,
interests supersede student interests. as a counselor, you could be assigned to
There are several consultation ap- coordinate the procedures and oversee the
proaches that might be used by counselors. storage and retrieval system, especially if
Consultation as a counselor intervention is there is no registrar or other support per-
described in more detail in Chapter 10. sonnel available. Clerical assistance is es-
sential if you are to avoid being entrapped
in coordinating duties.
Counselors usually help coordinate
the educational placement of students.
This might involve coordinating staff
meetings. At the secondary level, espe-
cially, it might mean working with class
schedules to meet student needs. Coun-
selors across the nation complain about
how much of their time is "wasted" in
scheduling procedures. Although the use
of computers has simplified some tasks,
there is still a demand on time for data

118 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

Working as a liaison between the The coordination of guidance services

school and social agencies, such as mental takes time. Unfortunately, tasks that are
health centers and health services, also unrelated to guidance and counseling
is a coordinating function. For instance, often become part of a counselor's job.
if you suspect one of your counselees is Administrative expectations and the guid-
a victim of child abuse, most states have ance needs of a particular school influ-
laws that require you to inform state wel- ence how much time a counselor gives
fare and health agencies, which may then to administrative and coordination tasks.
follow-up with an investigation. A social Administrator and teacher expectations
worker may consult with you and ask for can be negotiated, especially if you have a
your assistance in coordinating a meeting plan for how you will be using your time.
with the child's teachers. Using a planned schedule enables you to
Coordinating staff-development or build in "protected time" for implement-
in-service meetings can be a counselor's ing the five other interventions.
responsibility. Counselors can help iden- To avoid being overwhelmed by
tify staff-development needs and appro- administrative tasks, you will want to edu-
priate resources. They also might arrange cate or remind others about counseling
meetings and work closely with external and guidance interventions, the nature of
consultants who provide seminars and a developmental guidance program, your
workshops for the school faculty. weekly schedule, and the priorities you
Obviously, this coordinating function have set. Otherwise, it may appear you
or intervention is the "catch all" category. are always available to "pick up" and "go
Counselors are expected to do many for" a host of things, many of which are
things in a school, often because there is a unrelated to your work as a counselor in a
shortage of administrative personnel and developmental guidance and counseling
there are so many administrative tasks program.
that must be done. Coordinator is a better
term to use in describing this function
than administrative assistant. However,
the plight of most counselors is too much
of their time is spent in administrative
and coordinating tasks.
One way to avoid being overloaded
with certain duties is to arrange your own
weekly schedule so some coordinating
tasks are dealt with on certain days of the
week and within specific blocks of time.
For instance, changing class schedules by
a high school counselor might be limited
to Fridays only or Fridays and noon hours
on other days. This enables a counselor to
schedule other interventions and experi-
ence fewer interruptions and distractions,
especially as students and teachers learn
when a counselor is available.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Managing If you want control of your work and

your time, then you need to approach
Counselor Priorities your work schedule systematically. To
There will never be enough school start, here are a few ways to think about
counselors to meet all the guidance needs how priorities can be set.
of students. School budgets are limited
and administrators prefer to look for less Priority-setting by
expensive ways to manage existing pro- Developmental Needs
grams and personnel. They expect coun-
selors to work within the limits of their One way to begin is to ask the stu-
abilities, the resources that are available, dents and faculty to help you identify
and the time they have available. the guidance needs in your school. This
might be done by interviewing teach-
Considering the range of guidance ers and administrators and noting their
services and the different counselor awareness of the problems facing students
interventions that are possible, identify- in the school. It might be helpful to iden-
ing priorities is essential when planning a tify some students who, because of their
comprehensive developmental guidance personal circumstances, need extra help
and counseling program. It also is a prac- beyond what might be given by most
tical means for personal and professional teachers.
A needs assessment in the form of a
As a counselor, you will be asked to do written questionnaire could be distributed
many things, some of which are directly to students and teachers. Students, for ex-
related to counseling services and some ample, might check their most important
that are not. You will not be able to meet concerns on a list of common problems
everyone's expectations. To feel a sense and issues. They could suggest guidance
of control and to gain some satisfaction topics of interest to them and their class-
from your work, you have to set priorities mates. When a middle school counselor
and manage your time carefully. administered a one-page survey to stu-
How do you set your priorities? dents, it was learned that many students
Should you give most of your attention to wanted to talk about "Girl-boy relation-
students who voluntarily come to your of- ships," "How to get along with teachers,"
fice and ask for help? Or, should you work and "How to make friends."
primarily with students who have been re- A guidance committee composed of
ferred? Should you concentrate your work teachers and counselors also can be help-
on a few students who especially need as- ful. This committee, for instance, might
sistance? Or, should you try to distribute informally interview other teachers or
your time equally among all the students listen for special needs as they emerge
who have been assigned to you? Should in team meetings. The committee might
it be a first-come first-serve basis? Or, are work with curriculum committees to see
there certain students who, above all oth- how guidance could be integrated into
ers, should be assisted? Do you wait to see classroom activities.
what administrators and teachers have in
mind for you? Or, should you have your Parents and community members can
own plan? help identify priorities and suggest topics
about which they are concerned. Parent-
teacher organizations could survey par-
ents and report their findings.

120 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

In addition, state and community re- the school's student body think about the
ports by governmental agencies may pro- needs of the community, their classmates,
vide some clues regarding student needs. and what they might do to make things
One community was especially concerned better for everyone.
about a drug abuse problem that was in- When the space shuttle Challenger ex-
creasing in the area. Another community ploded, many counselors and other guid-
experienced several unexplained teenage ance personnel changed their schedules to
suicides, while still another community respond to a national crisis. It was a time
was aware of the high number of "latch- to help students through the shock. The
key" children who attended their schools. nation grieved. It also was an occasion for
In each of these communities, it was timely teaching when students could talk
thought schools provided a base where about life, death, and how people respond
the issues could be addressed. to grief. For some students, it was an op-
A list of guidance needs could be portunity to talk about some unresolved
elicited from teachers and parents, focus- feelings and experiences in their own lives
ing on both developmental and problem- (Myrick, 1986). The same kind of action
centered concerns. Those needs could be was called for in the year 2001 after the
matched with the developmental needs terrorist attacks in New York (9/11) that
and interests that are a part of the school's shocked and threatened the nation.
developmental guidance curriculum, such In another case, parents seriously
as the objectives of TAP. It is then possible neglected a young boy and his two sisters.
to see where the needs might be addressed They had inadequate lodging and little or
in the regular program and where special no food. The parents were alcoholics and
guidance services might be added. they sometimes were abusive of the chil-
dren. When this came to the attention of
Priority-setting by Crisis a teacher, the counselor in the school met
There are times when a student or with the children and talked with person-
teacher experiences a personal crisis and nel in community agencies to get help.
immediate attention must be given to the The situation called for special and im-
situation. There also are occasions when mediate attention and it was given high
an intense situation happens in a school priority. The nature of the case required
or community and counselors react by sensitivity and confidentiality.
giving it high priority (Fein, Carlisle, & Students have many kinds of prob-
Isaacson, 2008). lems and some are more critical than
When a tornado ripped through a others. Crisis interventions are part of a
small community, many families suf- counselor's job, but sometimes the stress-
fered hardships. Death and economic ful events in a student's life can be met
depression suddenly became a part of through developmental guidance. Events
the students' lives. This called for urgent and circumstances do not have to escalate
action and priorities were shuffled as the to a crisis before help can be obtained and
school and community began the process they do not have to be confronted direct-
of adjusting and rebuilding. The school ly. Sometimes developmental guidance
counselor and some counselors from activities, taking a less direct approach,
the mental health center consulted with can help students to focus their attention
teachers and parents. Small group coun- on a problem that is developing and to
seling was done with students who had take responsibility for doing something
experienced severe losses. Large group about it.
guidance activities in classrooms helped

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

A school counselor was aware that Faust (1968), on the other hand, listed
Ron, a seventh grade student, was wor- first and second level priorities in terms of
ried about his parent's pending divorce. roles. More specifically, a developmental
There was a lot of stress in the family and guidance counselor is first concerned with
Ron was unsure about his future. He was consultation, and in the following order:
"targeted" for special attention within (First Level Hierarchy) groups of teachers,
the context of a developmental guidance with an individual teacher, with groups
unit that was offered during TAP. The unit of children, with an individual child;
focused on communication with adults and (Second Level Hierarchy) curriculum
and problem solving. Students were asked development, with administrators, with
to think of how they might apply the parents, with school personnel special-
ideas that were being discussed and ex- ists, and with community agencies. Faust
perienced. The counselor and the teacher believed consultation was the key to a
were particularly alert for opportunities to counselor's work because the rationale for
help Ron during this unit. developmental programs was based on
improving the learning environment. He
Priority-setting by also suggested an order of other counsel-
Counselor Intervention ing interventions: counseling teachers in
groups, counseling teachers individually,
Priorities also can be set according to counseling children in groups, and coun-
the interventions a counselor can deliver. seling children individually. This hierar-
This places an emphasis upon the kinds of chy of counseling roles for counselors was
guidance services that are offered and on an attempt to maximize counselor time
the counselor's role and image. and counseling relationships.
Some professional writers have advo- Actually, it is difficult to prioritize
cated a "hierarchy of services" approach counselor interventions beyond the
to setting priorities. They give the highest emphasis group work is preferred over
priority to working with groups of people work with individuals. If interventions are
rather than individuals alone. Dinkmeyer equally effective, then group work de-
and Caldwell (1970), for example, ranked serves more priority, especially in schools
the following as major areas for counselor where the number of counselors is lim-
intervention: (1) Pupil Appraisal and ited.
Child Study; (2) Teacher Consultation;
(3) Counseling; (4) Classroom Guidance; Gysbers and Henderson (2000) wrote
(5) Parent Consultation; (6) Curriculum about developmental guidance and
Involvement; (7) In-service Education for managing a comprehensive program.
Staff; and (8) Administration and Coordi- They described a 44-hour week in which a
nation. counselor would manage certain program
components and related tasks: systems
service (6 hours of coordinating activi-
ties), responsive (16 hours of direct coun-
seling with students), planning (4 hours),
and the guidance curriculum (18 hours of
consulting with teachers and classroom
guidance). This later became the frame-
work for the ASCA National Model (2005).

122 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

Priority-setting by The advantage of scheduling interven-

Time Management tions by the time you have available is it
assures you of a balanced program, one in
There is only so much time in a which you are not consumed by any one
school day. Though you may arrive early particular guidance service or interven-
and leave late, a regular school day is tion. It enhances your image if you are
about seven hours, from approximately seen providing all six basic interventions.
8:00 AM until 3:00 PM. The starting and Without a balanced program in which all
ending times vary from one school to six are represented to some extent, the
another and are frequently affected by faculty, students, and general public may
bus schedules, classroom space available, get a distorted picture of your job.
and administrative preferences. Regard-
less, there are only so many hours in your Because priorities are eventually based
regular workday that can be allotted to on how much time you have in your job,
various kinds of interventions (Walsh, you could begin by drawing up a weekly
Barrett, & DePaul, 2007). schedule showing the time available in a
school day. Then, the six basic counselor
One way of prioritizing counselor interventions can be put on the schedule
time and energy is to decide how much by blocks of time until a realistic schedule
time might be spent delivering each of has been developed.
the six basic counselor interventions dur-
ing a typical week. That is, if you work An alternative approach to managing
in a school 35 to 40 hours a week, how time is found at the Wisconsin Depart-
much of your time should be spent doing ment of Public Instruction website (2010).
individual counseling? Small group coun- Worksheets may help school counselors
seling? Large group guidance? Peer facili- when calculating their time commitments
tator training and projects? Consultation? and program ratio within the four deliv-
Coordination? ery components of a comprehensive pro-
gram along the lines of the ASCA Model.
You might decide, for example, the A school counselor time analysis provides
maximum number of times you want to a means of establishing the time spent
meet with small groups for counseling is across the four areas. A time/task analysis
ten sessions a week. This averages to two log provides a tool for school counselors
group meetings a day. You also might to track their percentage of time across
decide you want to arrange the meetings typical school counseling activities.
on two days a week. Therefore, you could
schedule five groups for Tuesday and
another five on Thursday. The frequency
has been set and the time of each meeting
limited to 30 to 45 minutes.
Likewise, the other counselor inter-
ventions might be scheduled accordingly.
For instance, if you decided upon a casel-
oad of six students for individual counsel-
ing and to meet each one for 30 minutes
twice a week, then those 12 half-hours of
individual counseling time would have to
appear on your weekly schedule.

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Managing Interventions These individuals are given high prior-

ity in your caseload. That is, they are seen
It is the management of interventions
regularly, usually for one grading period.
within the time that is available that can
Because it is preferable to see them twice a
determine whether you have a realistic
week to have a more intense intervention
and practical program in your school. It is and more continuity, the schedule in Fig-
what you do, more than what you want
ure 4.2 shows a counselor meeting each
to do, that creates your role and image.
student two times during the week. The
To help manage your interventions, you
middle and high school schedules (Fig-
might organize them into a weekly sched-
ures 4.3 and 4.4) also include individual
ule. This schedule also must reflect events
counseling, some students meeting twice
on the annual guidance calendar.
a week and others once a week.
The Counselor's The three weekly schedules each
show four groups that are targeted for
Weekly Schedule small group counseling: GP 1, GP 2,
The basic planning outline is shown GP 3, and GP 4. In Figure 4.2, the four
in Figure 4.1. Counselor interventions groups are scheduled to meet with the
are listed on the left and some minimum counselor twice a week and the meetings
time commitments are suggested on the will be completed within three weeks.
right. Other groups of students then will take
You might begin by making yourself a their place in the schedule at the same or
weekly schedule similar to the ones found different time blocks. Groups might be
in Figures 4.2, 4.3, or 4.4. First, you will scheduled once a week over a longer time.
see a school day has been divided into Instead of twice a week for three weeks,
half-hour blocks of time. The time periods a group might meet once a week for six
could just as easily be divided into what- weeks (Figure 4.3). Or, a group might
ever times a particular school has sched- meet once a week for ten weeks. General-
uled for class periods. ly, the number and frequency of meetings
The next step is to place a set of coun- depend upon the purpose of the group
selor interventions on the schedule. For and the counseling strategy.
example, the weekly schedule in Figure
4.2 shows an elementary school counselor
meeting with five individuals, twice a
week for one half-hour each. Individual
counseling is provided for students ICl,
IC2, IC3, IC4, and ICS. In your own
schedule, the names of students could
appear instead of numbers, but you also
could assure the anonymity of your case-
load by continuing to use the numbers
or some other code. The essential consid-
eration is you have scheduled five target
students for individual counseling.

124 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

Figure 4.2
Elementary School
Counselor Schedule

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

7:30 - 8:00 Consult Consult FT Consult FT

8:00 - 8:30 Consult FT FT FT FT

8:30 - 9:00 FT FT FT FT FT

9:00 - 9:30 IC1 IC4 IC1 IC4 Class 3

9:30 - 10:00 FT IC5 FT IC5 FT

1 0:00 - 1 0:30 IC2 FT IC2 FT FT

10:30 - 11 :00 FT GP2 FT GP2 FT

11 :00 - 11 :30 GP1 GP3 GP1 GP3 FT

11 :30 - 12:00 FT FT FT FT FT

12:00 - 12:30 Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch

12:30 - 1 :00 Class 1 Class 2 ESE Consult Class 4

1 :00 - 1 :30 FT FT ESE Consult FT

1 :30 - 2:00 FT GP4 ESE GP4 FT

2:00 - 2:30 IC3 FT ESE IC3 Peer Pj.

2:30 - 3:00 FT Teacher ESE FT Peer Pj.

3:00 - 3:30 Consult Seminar FT Consult Peer Pj.

IC= Individual Counseling

FT= Flexible Time
GP= Group Counseling
Class= Classroom Guidance
ESE= Exceptional Student Education Planning Team
Consult= Teacher/Parent Consultation
Peer Pj. = Peer Training and Projects

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Figure 4.3
Middle School
Counselor Schedule

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

8:00 - 8:30 Consult FT Consult Consult FT

8:30 - 9:00 TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP

9:00 - 9:30 GREEN FT FT FT FT

9:30 - 10:00 TEAM IC4 FT IC4 Staff

10:00 - 1 0:30 FT FT IC2 FT Meets

10:30 - 11 :00 FT GP1 FT FT FT

11 :00 - 11 :30 IC1 FT RED GP4 IC7

11 :30 - 12:00 FT GP2 TEAM FT FT

12:00 - 12:30 Consult Consult Consult Consult Consult

12:30 - 1 :00 Lunch Lunch Lunch Peer Lunch

1:00 - 1:30 IC2 ICS GP3 Proj. BLUE

1 :30 - 2:00 FT ESE GP3 Lunch TEAM

2:00 - 2:30 IC3 ESE FT FT FT

2:30 - 3:00 FT FT IC6 Teacher Consult

3:00 - 3:30 Consult Consult Consult Seminar Consult

IC= Individual Counseling

FT= Flexible Time
GP= Group Counseling
TAP= Teacher-Advisor Group Meetings
ESE= Exceptional Student Education Planning Team
Consult= Teacher/Parent Consultation
Team= Grade Level Team Meetings
Staff= Counselor and Student Services Team

126 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

Figure 4.4
High School
Counselor Schedule

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

7:30 - 8:00 Consylt Consult FT Consult FT

8:00 - 8:30 TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP

8:30 - 9:00 FT FT FT FT FT

9:00 - 9:30 IC1 ICS ESE ICS Staff

9:30 - 10:00 Consult FT ESE IC6 Meets

10:00 - 1 0:30 Consult FT ESE FT FT

10:30 - 11 :00 IC2 GP1 FT GP1 FT

11:00-11:30 Peer Peer Peer Peer Peer

11 :30 - 12:00 Facil. Facil. Facil. Facil. Facil.

12:00 - 12:30 FT FT FT FT FT

12:30 - 1 :00 Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch

1 :00 - 1 :30 IC3 GP2 GP3 GP2 GP3

1 :30 - 2:00 FT GP2 GP3 GP2 GP3

2:00 - 2:30 IC4 FT GP4 FT GP4

2:30 - 3:00 Consult Teacher Consult IC4 FT

3:00 - 3:30 Consult Seminar FT Consult FT

IC= Individual Counseling

FT= Flexible Time
GP= Group Counseling
TAP= Teacher Advisor Program
ESE= Exceptional Student Education Planning Team
Consult= Teacher/Parent Consultation
Peer Facil.=Peer Facilitator Class and Training Projects
Staff= Counselor Meetings

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

The weekly schedule for the elemen- meet with individual students during a
tary school counselor also shows how TAP block of time for tutoring or special
classroom guidance was scheduled for a friend projects.
one-half hour period four times a week. In some high schools, peer facilita-
The counselor, in this case, decided to tor classes are part of the academic cur-
meet with four different classes during the riculum. A class period, perhaps 45 to 55
week, but the decision could have been minutes, might be used and taught by a
made to go to one class four times in one teacher or a counselor. If the counselor
week. teaches the class, then that time commit-
The allotment of large group guidance ment should appear on the counselor's
or classroom time depends upon arrange- weekly schedule, as shown in the high
ments that are made with a teacher or school counselor's schedule in Figure 4.4.
group of teachers. However, seeing two In other schools where an academic
groups or classes twice a week instead class is not available, counselors could
of four once a week usually requires less train peer facilitators in a one-day work-
counselor and teacher preparation and shop or in a week-end retreat, and then
is less personally demanding. Classroom follow-up time with peer facilitators
guidance by teachers, of course, is sched- might appear on a schedule. As peer facili-
uled on their own schedules and would tator projects are developed and imple-
not appear on the counselor's schedule, mented, organization and supervisory
unless the counselor was to participate. times also would appear on the weekly
The middle and high school counsel- schedules.
ors' schedules are similar to the elemen- Consultation with students, teach-
tary school counselors' schedule, except ers, parents, and administrators happens
TAP happens at the beginning of each at various times. However, the counselor
day. Teachers, working as student advi- can identify times during a day that are
sors, present guidance units during TAP most likely to be used by those who want
time, perhaps twice a week (e.g., Tuesdays consultation. For example, the first and
and Thursdays). But, a counselor might last 30 minutes of the school day often
develop a special guidance unit that could are marked for consultation, since these
be delivered during TAP time, either by times are most convenient to teachers and
the counselor or in collaboration with parents.
TAP teachers. The counselor also could
pull together two or more TAP groups to lt will be helpful if teachers and ad-
present some general information or a ministrators have some scheduled times
guidance activity. for meeting with you. They may request
to meet at another time, such as during
Peer facilitator training could take their planning periods or perhaps during
place when TAP is scheduled, perhaps as lunch, and you will want to build your
a special TAP group for peer facilitators. schedule to accommodate them as best
Later, during that same time period, peer you can. Therefore, try to avoid student
facilitators could work with other students conferences or small group counseling at
and teachers. For instance, after nine times when most teachers can meet with
weeks of training during a TAP period, you conveniently. Scheduling consulta-
meeting five days a week, peer facilitators tion time can cut down on interruptions,
might assist teachers or counselors with especially if teachers use the time you
small group activities in their TAP groups. have made available to them.
Or, the peer facilitators might be asked to

128 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

Group consultation with teachers also Flexible time also might be used for
is recommended. Teachers can voluntarily follow-up with students, going to a class-
meet as a group to talk about some mu- room or an area in the school where the
tual interests or concerns. As a consultant, student might be. It could be used to call
you might arrange for interested teach- in a group of students, to meet with a so-
ers to talk about parent conferences. The cial worker, to make a telephone call to a
middle school teacher seminar in Figure community agency or a parent, or to work
4.3 was scheduled for three consecutive on the computer to call up some records.
Thursdays, with each session lasting about It might be used to talk informally with
30 to 45 minutes. In one series, the coun- students who are in the Career Resource
selor facilitated a discussion about suc- Center or to observe students in a class.
cessful techniques in parent conferences. The time could be used for responsibili-
Aside from teacher seminars, you ties related to coordinating the guidance
might do group consultation with teams program in the school.
of teachers. The middle school counselor, The term "chunking" is used to de-
in our example, found it helpful to attend scribe a technique for grouping similar
the planning meetings of the red, blue, job tasks that could be performed within
and green teacher teams, which met at the same time block. For instance, return-
regular times during the week. ing telephone calls might be reserved for a
Scheduling consultation time can help particular hour in the afternoon. Another
clarify your role and inform people about time period might be set aside for writ-
times when you might best be available. ing notes or recommendations or work-
Therefore, some "best times" are usually ing with school files. In this respect, you
noted on a schedule. When the time is might try to identify a few times during
not used for consultation, it automatically the day or week when some related tasks
converts to flexible time. might be completed. Although labeled
"flexible time" on your weekly calendar,
Flexible time (FT) is shown in all three there might be some routine or typical
of the sample schedules. This is time that activities that often occur at a particular
has not been committed to one of the six time.
basic counselor interventions and may be
used for different purposes. It is the com- Instead of "free time," the term "flex-
mitted time for each intervention that ible time" is preferred, particularly when
maintains the balance of the counselor's you are blocking out your schedule on a
schedule and it is this time that needs to piece of paper. Teachers or counselors may
be protected against interruptions and perceive themselves as having some extra
changes. or free time during a planning period or
when they are not scheduled to meet a
Even flexible time can be a time when class, a group, or a student, but such time
a counselor provides one of the basic is still considered "flexible time" to profes-
interventions, depending upon what sional counselors.
is scheduled for that day or that week.
When flexible time appears on a schedule, Some counselors use a master weekly
a counselor might meet with an indi- schedule as a general guide, editing it as
vidual student who happens to want an needed to show the actual events that
appointment that day or with a parent happened during a week. This "working
who stops by the school. schedule" with its deletions, substitutions,
and notes can be filed as a perm anent
record for later reference.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

The management of counselor inter- The Annual Guidance Calendar

ventions and time involves building a The same concepts for building a
weekly schedule in which a minimum set
weekly schedule also apply to an annual
of the basic six counselor interventions
guidance calendar. This calendar shows
and services are arranged and noted. The
school-wide events, such as when stan-
number of commitments appearing on
dardized tests are to be given, when orien-
your weekly schedule will depend upon
tation meetings are scheduled, and when
your special interests, the circumstances
applications for college are due. Seasonal
in your school, and the needs of students
events and holidays that lend themselves
and teachers. However, in a comprehen-
to guidance units or special school tradi-
sive developmental guidance plan, ap- tions also are noted.
proximately 10 to 26 hours of your time
will be scheduled for five of the basic One guidance calendar for a high
counselor interventions. If we assume a school highlighted such events as when
40-hour week, the remaining 14 to 30 standardized tests were administered;
hours are given to the sixth basic inter- College Night, when representatives from
vention, coordinating guidance services, different universities came to campus;
and to other flexible time activities. It is Career Week, when several vocational
the use of this remaining time that threat- guidance activities took place; Educational
ens the image and role of all school coun- Planning, when students planned for next
selors and must be kept under control year's courses; Orientation Week, when
through careful and systematic planning. middle school students visited the high
school and scheduled their classes; Par-
ent's Night, when parents were invited to
an open-house at the school; and cut-off
dates, when various applications or forms
were due.
An annual guidance calendar can
identify events around which some re-
lated guidance units could be developed,
such as those that focus on orientation to
the school, career guidance, educational
planning, friendship, and study skills. The
calendar can suggest times when readi-
ness activities might be appropriate, such
as some test-taking and anxiety manage-
ment skills before a standardized test
Annual guidance calendars for a
school and counselors' weekly sched-
ules coincide a great deal. They can be
changed as a need arises. Weekly sched-
ules are representative and are usually
designed for one grading period.

130 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

The schedule might be posted in the It was probably the first time the prin-
guidance office or given to administrators cipal had a clear understanding of what
and department heads so they are bet- counselors could do for students. The
ter informed about what counselors are schedules clarified counselor roles and
doing. The annual calendar is usually pre- functions and improved communication
pared before school starts and additions between the principal, the counselors,
take place at staff meetings. and others in the school. The administra-
A junior high schopl principal re- tor, in this case, was unable to speak with
ported the three counselors in his school much confidence about the work of his
were not very busy. The counselors denied counselors until he had a visual picture of
this, of course. He continued by saying what they were trying to do and how they
he sent different tasks down to the guid- were spending their time. The weekly
ance department as a favor to give them schedules had done more to describe the
something to do. work of the counselors than any profes-
sional publication or written role state-
After the counselors' initial anger and ment.
disappointment receded, they recognized
they were operating out of a crisis-based Schools also are finding it useful to
model. They saw students as they were employ counselors in a flexible schedule.
self-referred or referred by others. The For instance, one high school in Fort Lau-
counselors were reactive more than proac- derdale, Florida, released one of its coun-
tive. Therefore, they decided to imple- selors during the day to meet with stu-
ment a developmental guidance program dents and parents on Wednesday nights.
and to change their visibility and image. Many more working parents were able to
They began by outlining weekly sched- avail themselves of counselor assistance
ules. at that time. In addition to the school
counselor, a mental health counselor, and
The principal, who was given copies a counselor assigned from the sheriff's
of their new weekly schedules, later re- office also worked in the school the same
marked his counselors were now too busy evening. The three counselors provided
for some of the clerical and administrative family counseling and consultation ser-
tasks he formerly assigned to them. Per- vices and met more needs of students and
sonnel in the front office now completed their families.
many of the tasks. He also tried to help
the counselors protect their "schedules" Counselors are being challenged to
so they might work more with students think of new ways of scheduling their
and teachers. He was proud of what the time. Finding new ways to have access to
counselors had accomplished and told more students can be difficult. One group
other principals what the counselors were of high school counselors recognized stu-
doing. dents had time to see counselors during
lunch period, if counselors were available.
Therefore, counselors took turns shifting
their lunch schedules to accommodate
times when students could see them with-
out missing academic classes.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Factors to Consider Flexible times, on the other hand,

are generally unprotected. For example,
There are some other concepts and students may drop by to visit a counselor.
strategies that can help you to be effective During these times, the counselor is vul-
in the limited time you have available at nerable, on occasion, to small intrusions.
school. Some of these are discussed below. Without protected times, counselors will
find too many other duties and tasks that
Protected Time keep them from direct interventions with
Nothing seems to work unless coun- students.
selors have made time on their weekly Without protected time in mind,
schedules for it to happen. Once a coun- many counselors may rarely find the time
selor intervention has been scheduled, to meet with students in developmen-
then that time must be protected. There tal guidance and counseling activities.
are no interruptions during protected Rather, they fall into the trap of always
time periods. That is, there are no tele- operating from a reactive position.
phone calls or "I need to see you for just a
minute" from the principal or teachers. The Law of Parsimony
Protected time on the schedule is The Law of Parsimony suggests you
safeguarded from intrusions, unless there work with students in large groups first.
is an emergency that demands the coun- For example, you may be concerned with
selor's attention and cannot be postponed student attitudes about school. Classroom
for a few minutes until the counselor has guidance or a guidance unit in TAP is
finished meeting with students. A general the first strategy to be used in effecting a
way to describe such a crisis or critical change of student attitudes. Those stu-
situation is: Would someone walk into a dents who do not respond to large group
classroom, interrupt, and ask the teacher guidance might be targeted for small
to leave or report to the main office? If so, group counseling at a later time. Likewise,
who would be responsible for the students if a student fails to respond to small group
at that point? When counselors are rou- counseling, then individual counseling
tinely called from meetings with students, might be in order. If individual counsel-
or other kinds of interruptions take place, ing is ineffective, then a referral might be
the message to everyone, including stu- made to another counselor or agency.
dents, is: Whatever the counselor is doing
is not very important. The Law of Parsimony encourages
you to think about reaching all students.
Not all of a counselor's time can be It helps you implement guidance activi-
protected. That would be ideal but not ties and strategies that otherwise might
practical. The hectic pace of school life not be available to students. In addition,
lends itself to interruptions and crises that the sequence of moving from large group
seem to need immediate attention. There- guidance to an outside agency referral
fore, counselors study and plan schedules provides a systematic approach to inter-
that set aside certain periods of time dur- ventions and services. These can be docu-
ing the week where they can concentrate mented and you can then have a base
and work with students in an interven- from which to talk about any next steps
tion without interferences. The office that need to be taken.
staff, perhaps the principal, is informed of
these times and works with the counselor
to help protect these times.

132 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

Multiple Interventions A student who has been referred to

you for counseling, for example, may
Experimental research on counselor
meet with you in small group counseling,
interventions is limited. There is a need
working with others who have similar
for more studies in which a counselor
problems. In addition, you might, on
intervention is implemented with one
occasion, talk with the student on an
group of students and then compared
individual basis (individual counseling)
to another group of students who did
and talk with a teacher about the student
not receive the intervention. There also
(consultation). You might even want to
is a need for more single-case studies, in
telephone the parents (consultation) be-
which baseline data is taken and then
measurement is continued with one fore asking a peer facilitator to be a special
friend or a tutor for the student. In such
person throughout the time a counselor
intervention is administered. The studies a case, several counselor interventions
are being brought into play, with the as-
that are available have not only been lim-
sumption they will intensify the helping
ited, but they also have tended to preju-
process and change might be expedited.
dice our thinking toward using a single
It seems practical to have as many help-
counselor intervention.
ers as possible involved in working with
Doctoral dissertations, master theses, a student, especially if the nature of the
and other exacting and rigorous research case allows for it.
isolate variables for study. For instance,
When a multiple intervention hap-
if individual counseling is to be studied,
pens by chance, it is because the cir-
then efforts are made to control extrane-
cumstances seem to dictate that type
ous variables by not combining it with
of involvement and you make the best
other treatment modalities. If you mix
use of them. However, when a multiple
individual counseling with group counsel-
intervention is carefully orchestrated to
ing as part of an experimental treatment,
maximize impact and increase the chance
someone might ask, "But, which one
of making positive changes, then you
made the real difference, the individual or
are more likely to have more satisfying
small group counseling?"
The legacy of single counselor inter-
When a multiple intervention is
ventions was born out of research stud-
planned, you avoid a "fragmented ap-
ies and has been sustained because most
proach" in which people are trying to
published research focuses on single treat-
help but sometimes working at cross
ments or interventions. Practically speak-
purposes because they are not communi-
ing, a multiple intervention approach can
cating and working together. This wastes
be used as part of your work. It involves
energy and is analogous to a football team
the use of more than one of the six basic
having its players run around in different
co~nselor interventions, simultaneously
directions without any plan or rationale.
or m sequence.
It may work. But, when everyone under-
stands the goal and works together on a
similar plan, then chances of success are
greater. Multiple interventions involve
teamwork and they take time to con-
struct. They are more likely to occur when
you have control of your time and con-
centrate on a few students in a caseload.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

The Caseload they needed me." It was a tragic waste of

Given high counselor-student ratios time to line up students outside a coun-
selor's office for a quick interview that was
in almost every school in the nation, it
makes sense for counselors to develop a often rushed, stiff, and meaningless to
caseload of students who will receive high either counselor or student.
priority. These students might be selected Your caseload may be determined
for any number of reasons. They may not several ways. However, let us assume you
be the students who have the greatest have decided to meet individually with
need or who are the most troubled. While eight students. Further, you have decided
such students are good candidates to be to meet with them twice a week for 30
part of a counselor's caseload, one's case- minutes each time. This accounts for a
load often is determined by such factors total of eight hours of individual counsel-
as accessibility, time restraints, availabil- ing time to set aside each week. Next, you
ity of other helpers, specific requests by might decide how many students you will
teachers or administrators, and the prob- see through group counseling and sched-
ability of making a positive difference. ule the groups on your schedule. These
In a developmental guidance pro- students also might be considered part of
gram, some of the students who are seen your on-going caseload, although some
as part of a counselor's caseload will be counselors prefer to think of caseloads
in the normal range of functioning and only in terms of individuals being seen in
have concerns, needs, and interests that counseling.
are not as intense as some dysfunctioning Counselors who use the caseload ap-
students. However, who is to say these proach report they feel more in control
students are any less deserving of a school of their schedules and individual counsel-
counselor's time? ing, particularly, is more productive and
The purpose of the caseload is to help rewarding. By highlighting a caseload of
you manage your time. It also gives you students, there is a better chance more
an opportunity to focus your work and systematic procedures and a defined time
you will feel less torn than if you take frame will be used in working with them.
whatever comes your way, day by day.
Students in a caseload receive special Target Students
attention because they are part of your Research has shown students who are
weekly schedule and you see them regu- more optimistic about their future and
larly. This can make your job, and your see fewer obstacles to future goals are the
time, manageable. You simply cannot be most likely to use school counseling ser-
available to all your assigned students at vices (Scheel & Gonzalez, 2007). They can
all times. assert themselves in a group guidance or
There was a time when school coun- counseling activity and often feel com-
selors were told to see all their "coun- fortable sharing their ideas and concerns.
selees" at least once each school semester. A target student is one who has been
This meant some counselors scheduled singled out for special attention by the
500 individual interviews, which lasted counselor. Target students receive the high-
about 15 minutes each. One counselor est priority and tend to occupy most of the
in this situation said, "I just wanted the thinking and planning time you have to
students to get to know me and to find give in your job as a counselor.
out how things were going for them .... I
wanted them to know I was available, if

134 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

In that sense, all individual counsel- Let us suppose you are one of six high
ing cases are probably target students, ex- school counselors working in a school
cept some students who meet briefly, per- that has 2,400 or more students. You and
haps a few minutes, with a counselor and the other counselors might ask the build-
who do not take much of a counselor's ing administrators and department heads
planning time. When counselors target a to use a computer printout list to identify
few students at a time within their ongo- students who need special help beyond
ing caseloads, they are much more likely what classroom teachers can give them.
to consult with other counselors or pro- This list will probably be 150 to 200 in a
fessionals about them, to do some profes- school of this size because administrators
sional research about them, to read a book will think about students with the most
or journal article about their problems, or visible needs.
to chart their behaviors and evaluate their Next, ask the administrators to re-
progress. It is impossible to give that type duce the list in half by identifying those
of attention to all counselees. students who might be most responsive
Target students might be seen in to counselor help within a grading period
group counseling sessions, perhaps with (i.e., six or nine weeks). Or, you might ask
other students who are not targeted but yourself, "Which ones do I think I can
who are there to benefit from the group make a positive difference with, in some
experience. For example, if you are meet- way, during the next grading period?"
ing with a group of five students, one stu- There is no need for further assessments,
dent whom you particularly want to re- discussion, or debate. Time is of essence
ceive attention is more in your awareness. and it is the paring down of the list that
Maybe you want to help that student to is essential. Thus, you will have about 100
self-disclose more or to receive additional student names.
high facilitative responses. Or, you may Now, you and your counseling col-
want the group members to eventually leagues look over the new list and again
use this student's situation or problem cut this list in half by identifying those
as a focus for discussion. While all group whom you think might respond positively
members are part of the learning process, to a counselor intervention. The list is
counselors are keenly aware of target stu- now down to 50 students.
dents and seize upon timely opportunities
to help them within the group. These are your target students. It
might be appropriate to divide the names
How can you identify target students? among the six school counselors, giv-
Of all the students who need help in the ing each approximately eight students to
schools, which ones should be targeted work with closely during the next grad-
for special attention? Here is one simple ing period. Use any one of the counselor
way to identify a group of target students. interventions, or a combination of them
(a multiple intervention), or anything
else you believe will work to help your
target students adjust to school, resolve
their personal problems, or become better

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Do whatever you can to make a Career Development

positive difference. Making a difference and Life Style
within one grading period with half the
list can affect the climate of the school. The term "career development" has
Some of the students only need a little been used to describe several lifelong
boost, while others may be targeted again processes, all of which form an individu-
later. Most important, with the help of al's life style and patterns that result in a
others, you can identify students who career identity. How these patterns evolve
need special help and you can manage is based on one's values, interests, skills,
your efforts and time in light of an over- abilities, personal and educational experi-
whelming number of students with whom ences, and environmental influences. Life
you could work. style and career choices characterize one's
life (Herr, Cramer, & Spencer, 2003).
Target Populations In the ASCA position statement on
comprehensive programs and career
Aside from individual target students,
development, it was suggested counselors
there are target populations of students
concentrate on a series of common, core
within a school who need special atten-
experiences and competencies. These lead
tion. For instance, some target populations
to career awareness, career maturity, and
might be: students who have poor study
career readiness. In general, they include:
habits and skills and who do not know
how to manage their time; students who • Clarifying work values and developing
experience high anxiety and stress when plans.
they take tests and perform poorly; stu- • Assessing abilities, personality traits,
dents who have experienced a recent death and interests through formal and
or separation in their families; students informal measures.
who are "at risk" as potential dropouts; • Providing occupational and career
students who are frequently absent from information, linking community re-
school; students who are unsure about sources with guidance.
their job goals; students who are frequent-
ly rejected by their peers; and so forth. • Helping students learn interviewing
and job-hunting skills.
Targeted populations or a targeted
individual could be identified and referred • Increasing awareness of educational
by faculty or students. However, as the and training opportunities, including
counselor, you make the final choices, financial aid.
including the one or two that you particu- • Encouraging skill training, goal set-
larly want to give attention-regardless of ting, and decision making related to a
the reasons. tentative career interest.
• Integrating academic and career skills
in a school curriculum.
• Reviewing and evaluating student ac-
tion plans.

136 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

The foundation for career develop- Counseling and Learning Styles

ment and career-related skills is laid In the future, we will know more
in the early school years. Beginning in about learning styles, their effect on
elementary schools, children learn about personal and academic development, and
work-related behaviors and feelings. Field how they affect a student's participation
trips, videotaped programs, and in-class in learning activities. Presently, learning
experiences, for example, are designed to style assessment measures are limited and
increase children's awareness of the world often unreliable. Yet, it is generally recog-
of work. They learn to respect uniqueness nized some students have a predisposition
in the workplace. for visual learning approaches, while oth-
More importantly, children have ers prefer auditory and kinesthetic modes.
an opportunity to learn more about the Some students take socially active roles in
value and importance of work and how learning, while other students are more
it can give special meaning to their lives. introverted and passive.
As children get older and move through This insight is not new to counselors
middle and high schools, their interests who have appreciated, measured, and in-
become more apparent and career devel- terpreted individual differences for many
opment experiences are extended and years. However, it is surprising counselors,
grounded in decision making and plan- like many teachers, have been slow to
ning. adapt their strategies and techniques to
Life-style and career development will student learning styles (Keteyian, 2009).
remain a central focus for most school Counseling is primarily a talking pro-
counselors, but some related issues chal- cess. For some students, this kind of learn-
lenge counselors to do more than what ing situation is workable. Their verbal and
has been done in the past. More attention conceptual abilities are drawn upon in
must be given to the career development the process of counseling. Other students,
of women, ethnic minority groups, and with different learning styles or slower
the economically disadvantaged. This rates of cognitive development, may find
inevitably involves confronting some themselves hopelessly inundated with
traditional thinking, values, stereotypes, words when being "counseled." They may
prejudices, conventional programs, and feel overwhelmed, insecure, or lost in the
methods. intellectual efforts that seem to form the
Career exploration and planning basis of most school counseling and guid-
have been particularly influenced by new ance interventions.
developments in computer technology. As Perhaps, this is one reason why some
Sabella (2003) pointed out, "For better or students are unresponsive to counselor
worse, computers are changing the ways activities and why, at times, counselors
in which we conduct our work, interact, feel frustrated and defeated when working
and especially make decisions" (p. 212). with some students. Counselors who have
Career resource labs in schools feature different learning styles than their coun-
computer technology that can help more selees may experience less success than
students achieve the career competencies usual, unless they are flexible, adaptive,
outlined by ASCA. and learn how to use different counseling

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Learning styles may be affected by Play media may be used at all grade
cultural backgrounds. Counselors need to levels, but there is a lack of proven activi-
study the diverse cultural groups that are ties and almost no research to support
represented in their schools and discover their use with adolescents in the schools.
the small but significant differences that Using play media is not popular with
influence learning and counseling. Mi- middle and secondary school counselors,
grant students, for example, must often despite the fact most teenagers enjoy
compensate for educational deficiencies learning through games and fun activities.
and subculture differences that influence Some new developments are needed in
participation in school (Atkinson, 2003). using play media to accommodate learn-
All ethnic groups are highly sensitive to ing styles in counseling. One solution to
certain words or phrases that cause them meeting students' needs who have dif-
to feel "put down." Some cultural groups ferent learning styles and rates of cogni-
prefer nontraditional counseling ap- tive development may be found in high
proaches, such as ones with more visual technology, which for many teenagers is a
and active counseling techniques. playground and a major source of enter-
This book, like so many others, places tainment.
a lot of emphasis on the verbal process
of counseling through examples and Using Computer Technology
recommended procedures. First, it is the Advancements in computer technolo-
most popular and practical approach, as gy are rapidly changing traditional school
the vast majority of students can work counseling approaches. New technology
within this counseling process. Secondly, can help counselors develop comprehen-
all of the counseling approaches that are sive programs that enhance students' aca-
feasible for school settings rely to some demic, personal, social, and career devel-
degree on communication via words. opment. Yet, surprisingly, little attention
Play techniques have been popular in the research literature has been given
with child therapists and counselors for to exactly how computer technology can
many years. Elementary school counsel- advance school counselors' professional
ors often use play media in their work. work.
Puppets, art materials, guided fantasies, In one study, 49 school counselors
music and movement, creative dramat- used various technologies to accomplish
ics, and games are part of almost every their goals in what seemed to be a more
elementary school counselor's repertoire. effective, efficient, and professional way.
Yet, it has been only recently that play The counselors believed that applied
counseling has moved beyond the tradi- technology tools would help them better
tional therapeutic approach of Virginia implement the delivery system compo-
Axline (Kaduson & Schaefer, 2000), which nents of the American School Counselor
was considered inappropriate for use by Association's National Model (2005). The
school counselors who do not have a lot results indicated each component of the
of time for individual cases. delivery system was positively affected by
the use of technology (Hayden, Poynton,
& Sabella, 2010).

138 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

Today's high tech tools, high speed Counselors often have felt burdened
networks, and fast-paced digital exchang- by clerical tasks that must be performed as
es are more intricate parts of our global part of their job assignments. Computers
society than ever before (Friedman, 2005). immediately made clerical duties easier
School guidance and counseling programs and more efficient. Because computers
are no exception. make more information available at a
For many years, most computer tech- counselor's fingertips, data also might be
nology was used for infqrmation storage used to study groups of students targeted
and retrieval. Counselors marveled when for guidance and counseling. Patterns and
lap top computers were first introduced. trends within a population of students
They began working with students regard- might be identified. Final reports, with
ing career decision making and accessing graphs and summary data, could be easier
information about the world of work on to construct.
a microcomputer while sitting in a guid- Networking among counselors will
ance office. It was the dawn of a career increase in the future. Some school dis-
planning revolution. tricts with secure computers can easily
A computer program might provide transfer a student from one school to an-
data about job opportunities, educa- other within a district because a student's
tional requirements, skills and interests records can be displayed on a terminal
needed, and some appropriate references. in any of the district schools. It also is
Programs such as SIG! Plus, DISCOVER, possible to have a computerized network
and CHOICES enable students to interact of counselors, which serves as a clearing-
with a computer in search and explore house for ideas and activities.
activities. Now, various websites and the In addition to computers, high tech-
interactive nature of the nternet provide nology is providing counselors with other
a depth and range in career exploration ways to match or accommodate students'
that was inconceivable to counselors a learning styles. Videos, some which inter-
few years ago. face with computers, can provide simu-
There was a time when counselors lated experiences in which students gain
and administrators marveled at how a new information, explore alternatives,
basic personal computer saved the school and learn skills.
thousands of dollars when it was used to Digital video cameras and moni-
organize student schedules. They were tors are becoming more affordable and
able to schedule all students for classes might be used to assist students in guid-
within a shorter period of time and with ance and counseling activities, providing
less personnel involved (Strong & Turner, unique opportunities for more decision
1983). Now, computers are used in all making, feedback, or the study of inter-
schools to manage classes, assignments, personal relationships. Using video clips
and student information. and role-playing situations, a counselor
might coach students in communication
or problem-solving skills. A high school
counselor can let students form ideas
about job interviews and then video mock

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

The use of high technology is typi- Systematic preparation of paraprofes-

cally implemented in the military services sionals can make a positive difference.
and business enterprises before it reaches An effective training program introduces
schools. There is a trend for sophisticated participants to the working environment,
electronic equipment to become less explains the roles and functions to be
expensive and more available to counsel- performed, and provides them practice
ors, whose own imagination and innova- with interpersonal skills which can be
tive practices will determine how helpful used with students and adults in a school.
technology can be. Many counselors will Without such preparation, paraprofession-
be challenged to enter the 21st century als feel less like team members and more
of counseling by learning more about like tagalong workers.
computers and high technology (Paisley If paraprofessionals such as parent
& McMahon, 2001; Van Horn & Myrick, and community volunteers assist counsel-
2001, Sabella, 2003). ors in their work, then more students can
receive guidance services. There is more
Share Responsibility time for attention to details and follow-
With Parprofessionals up. They create more opportunities for
Counselors and teachers need not be differentiated staffing. Well-trained and
the only providers of guidance services. enthusiastic paraprofessionals add a posi-
They can teach others basic helping skills tive element to the working environment.
that can be used in guidance related ac- There are many helpers within a
tivities and tasks. school and community (e.g., Big Broth-
There are people who, even without ers and Big Sisters, church groups, neigh-
professional training, seem to have a bors, and relatives) who can help a young
natural talent and inclination for helping person with a problem. While the burden
others. Their personalities, interpersonal of responsibility for personal choices and
skills, and positive attitudes make it pos- changes always rests with the student, the
sible for them to accept some guidance responsibility for caring and being helpful
roles in which they provide direct and can rest on the shoulders of many people.
indirect services to students. However, be- The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
cause they are not professionally certified (NCLB) established higher educational
or formally trained, they often are referred standards for paraprofessionals working
to as paraprofessionals. Their roles are with special education teachers as aides.
limited and supervision is required and The most common strategy school dis-
expected (Astramovich & Holden, 2002). tricts use to support students with severe
Paraprofessionals were first introduced disabilities in inclusive classrooms is to al-
to school guidance during the 1960s in locate a paraprofessional to work with the
order to alleviate critical counselor short- individual student. This does not work
ages. They also seemed to help address the well if the helper is viewed as a detriment
heavy caseloads facing professional coun- to forming positive peer relationships.
selors. The rationale was paraprofessionals
could reduce the noncounseling-related
duties and assist counselors in a variety of
direct and indirect counseling services. In
turn, school counselors would have more
time to develop and implement counsel-
ing programs for students.

140 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

For example, Causton-Theoharis and Working with Legislators

Malmgren (2005) found paraprofessional There was a time when counselors did
proximity was the single most important not concern themselves with the work of
classroom condition that negatively in- national and state legislatures, but that
fluenced peer interactions when working time has passed. Counselors now must
with special education children. Appar- take an active part in working toward
ently, it brought too much attention to legislation that affects them and their
students who found it embarrassing and programs.
peer pressure worked against the extra
help. Financial support for counseling and
guidance started decades ago from the
Closely related to the use of parapro- federal government and the funds helped
fessionals is the use of mentors and peer train and employ more counselors and
facilitators (see Chapter 9). It makes sense improve counselor education programs.
to mobilize as many helping resources as This early federally supported thrust had
you can to implement a comprehensive a significant impact on the development
guidance and counseling program. of the school counseling profession and
the role of school counselors. Likewise,
Orientation P.L. 94-142 (1976) not only appropriated
Sometimes it is easy to take things for millions of dollars to help children, but it
granted, especially if you have been do- influenced many procedures and activi-
ing the same for a long time. Counselors ties that are still used in the schools. It
might forget that with each new wave of also determined how some personnel,
students and parents there is need to ori- often including school counselors, would
ent them regarding the guidance program function in their work and forced them to
and counselor roles and functions. You reorder their service and time priorities.
may not need to explain in detail how a Elementary school counseling in
particular guidance model works, but peo- Florida resulted from state legislators being
ple need to be informed about the work of convinced early intervention was the best
a counselor. Then, they will have a better way to help improve the academic, per-
idea of how best to use the guidance office sonal, and social development of students.
and counselor services. Specific legislation was passed which
Technology-based counseling orienta- marked funds for the employment of
tions can be produced locally and shown elementary school counselors. This kind of
during general student/parent meetings. categorical funding protected the counsel-
An introductory video clip or slide pre- or position from encroachment by other
sentation might be played just prior to needs in school systems, of which there
initial counseling sessions. They introduce are many. It gave counselors time to build
a counselor whom a student is about to programs and provide some accountability
see or identify personnel in the guid- studies to justify legislative action.
ance office. Simple and brief orientations Over the years since 1972, elementary
explain how counselor interventions can school counselors in Florida have firmly
work and help clarify expectations. They established themselves and their devel-
prepare students and parents to make the opmental guidance programs as a regular
best use of available time (Moore-Thomas part of the school system. Every elementa-
& Lent, 2007). ry school in the state now has at least one
full-time counselor and this would never
have been possible without the support of
state legislators.

Educational Media Corporation® 141

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Legislators can give funds and create Take Your Gains

opportunities and they can take them Take your gains where you can get
away. Some promising programs have them. Then, move on. Look for positive
been discontinued in some states because differences and do not expect to get dra-
time ran out and they were never estab- matic reversals every time you work with
lished independent of federal or state students. It is not easy to turn someone's
funding. Some of these programs had attitude around 180 degrees or to signifi-
the potential to be exemplary models for cantly impact a student's grade point av-
other school systems, but when funding erage. When students have problems with
was reduced or lost, the programs melted a teacher, you are unlikely to do anything
away. overnight to help them become good
Counselors, usually through their friends. In these situations, you probably
state professional organizations, can form need to take a few small steps in the right
legislative task forces that work with direction.
legislators. These task forces, sometimes Some counselors have lofty goals for
with the help of paid lobbyists, help keep themselves and their counselees. They
legislators and their aides informed about feel unsuccessful, or even defeated, un-
the guidance and counseling needs of less they reach their general objective.
young people and the value of guidance They fail to consider the difference a f~w
programs to meet those needs. little things can make and to take credit
For instance, the Florida School Coun- for helping a person have the courage or
selor Association and the Florida Counsel- the skill to take a first step. While we all
ing Association develop a written legisla- hope for some quick turnarounds, most
tive platform for each annual meeting of progress is slow and sometimes goes un-
the state legislature. The associations help noticed.
raise funds to employ professional lobby- Intervention and time management
ists. They organize groups of counselors to plans are based on the assumption you
visit and talkwith their local state legisla- work toward and take short-term gains.
tors prior to when the legislature meets, There is little doubt six small group ses-
in order to be informative and build posi- sions are only a start to helping some
tive relationships. Consequently, Florida students learn to communicate more
legislators, in general, have a good idea of effectively or to explore a problem that is
what counselors are trying to do and what facing them. But, time restraints empha-
they have accomplished. size you "take your gains" where you find
them and then work with other students.

142 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 4 The Counselor: A Developmental Guidance Specialist

One high school counselor, for ex- The Developmental Counselor

ample, was so pleased with one of her
Counselors in developmental guid-
counseling groups she continued to meet
ance programs often are described as
with the group for several weeks. After
human behavior and relationship special-
about 22 sessions, she was asked what she
ists. They focus on the developmental
planned to do next. She responded b~ list- needs, stages, and tasks of students in the
ing several possibilities and hypothesized
elementary, middle, and high schools.
about one or two group members. Her
They adapt the best of counseling theories
enthusiasm ran high. rt was suggested she
to educational settings, relying primarily
get closure on the group and stop meet-
upon brief counseling and short-term ap-
ing them. There were other students who
needed a similar group experience.
Developmental school counselors
After some surprise, she realized that
work with a caseload, which they can
many gains had been made and tha~ to
manage within a given week or time-
continue meeting the group was satisfy-
frame, such as a grading period. Target
ing her own needs to feel successful. The
students are singled out for study and
group helped her feel "like a real coun-
given special attention. The concepts of
selor," more so than some other groups.
target students, target populations, and
Confronted with this insight, she ended
caseload make a counselor's work man-
the group and started some others.
ageable and realistic.
Counselor interventions are sched-
uled in a representative work week and a
master weekly schedule can be shown to
others. The counselor's job is defined by
what counselors do, not by what counsel-
ors or the counseling profession thinks or
wishes they could do. Counselor interven-
tions and time management eventually
define and clarify a counselor's role and
Developmental counselors base their
work on helping students learn more ef-
fectively and efficiently. Counselors are
concerned with the personal problems of
students because they can detract from
learning. More effective and efficient
learning is the essence of counseling
and guidance, no matter the counseling
theory or intervention.

Educational Media Corporation® 143

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

144 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

The Counselor
as Facili~ator

School counselors and teachers are The Facilitative Model

described as facilitators. A facilitator is
The Facilitative Model has evolved
someone who is adept in the use of inter-
over the years, as practitioners helped
personal skills and who can assist individ-
make it a practical and feasible script from
uals or groups to move toward their goals.
which to work. Although it may appear
Facilitators help people explore their ideas
similar to what others have presented
and arrive at responsible decisions.
(e.g., Carkhuff, 1993), close examination
Numerous books and articles have will show the model is a unique package
described how teachers, counselors, and of selected concepts and skills that are sys-
therapists rely on communication skills. tematically organized and linked together.
Communication is the heart of the coun- It is a workable and practical application
seling process. Consequently, school of interpersonal communication skills.
counselors continue to look for simple
The model can be used with students,
ways to describe their work and for sen-
parents, administrators, and others. It
sible plans that give them direction.
is a practical guide, something to keep
in mind as you manage counselor inter-
ventions. It is not an attempt to replace
counseling theories or strategies you may
already find useful. The model empha-
sizes certain aspects of helping relation-
ships and facilitative processes that can
make you more effective. In addition, it
identifies and clarifies the essential inter-
personal skills needed in developmental
guidance and counseling.
The Facilitative Model consists of four
parts: (1) the facilitative conditions of a
helping relationship; (2) facilitative pro-
cesses; (3) facilitative responses; and (4)
facilitative activities and tasks.

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The Facilitative Conditions We have known for a long time cer-

of a Helping Relationship tain relationships are more helpful than
others. Carl Rogers, for example, was a
Sometimes close relationships be- pioneer in drawing attention to the im-
tween people just seem to happen with- portance of "the helping relationship."
out any apparent reason. Some people He believed if certain conditions existed
just "hit it off." From the beginning, there between people, then a process would be
is a friendly bond between them-a bond set into motion that would be productive.
that feels comfortable and secure. These He said these personal conditions were
people like each other almost immediate- essential and sufficient to produce posi-
ly and enjoy being together. When asked tive changes in personality, attitudes, and
to explain it, they often struggle to find behaviors.
the exact words to describe the friendship
or the closeness they feel, but they know Although not everyone has agreed
the relationship is special. these conditions alone are sufficient and
nothing else is needed, they still are seen
Then, there are some people who as essential ingredients in the helping
have unfavorable impressions of one process. Despite theory or method, the
another when they first meet; yet, even- characteristics of a relationship will make
tually they form a close relationship. the critical difference when it comes to
Sometimes they are not even aware of one helping students take responsibility for
another's presence until they are placed in themselves and making desired changes
a situation where they have to take note in their lives.
of each other. Then, the relationship starts
to grow because they listen, share ideas More specifically, if you are perceived
and information, and find mutual inter- as a friendly and caring person, then stu-
ests. Eventually, they learn to value the dents are more likely to be drawn to you.
friendly relationship that develops. If they also experience you as an attentive
listener who is respectful, understanding,
There also are some relationships be- accepting, and interested in what they are
tween people that seem adverse. These thinking and feeling, then they will tell
people dislike being in each other's com- more about themselves and explore ideas
pany. They seem ill at ease and find it and choices with you. If you recognize the
difficult to be attentive to what the other pain and joy of growing up, while patient-
person is doing or saying. They are insen- ly helping them look at realities and the
sitive to each other's needs and interests. positive side of life, then a personal work-
There is usually no bond between them ing relationship can be established.
and, consequently, they have little posi-
tive impact on one another. Unfortunate- Teachers frequently find themselves in
ly, there are a lot of cases in which such situations that have potential for conflict.
unproductive relationships exist among They cannot always be responsive to indi-
counselors, teachers, and students. vidual interests and needs when assigned
to teach large groups of students. Class-
Teachers and counselors want to es- room procedures, which are usually aimed
tablish good working relationships with at managing groups of students, can cause
students. But, close relationships do not some individuals to feel ignored or treated
always come easily. They depend on how unfairly.
people interact and communicate, as well
as upon first impressions.

146 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 5 The Counselor as Facilitator

Likewise, group teaching methods Caring suggests you are personally

may make it difficult to identify or re- interested and concerned about a person's
spond to individual problems. Many well-being. It also involves a sense of per-
teachers feel trapped in a system where sonal commitment to the person because
decisions are based on what is best for you give something of yourself in the re-
most students and teachers. They also feel lationship. You value the person enough
pressured when time is limited and so to psychologically reach out and be atten-
much academic work needs to be done. tive.
School counselors have more flex- Understanding is a term used to
ibility to work with individuals and small describe the phenomenon of perceiving
groups than do teachers. However, coun- and acknowledging what another person
selors can feel in a bind when it comes is experiencing. There is empathy for the
to following school rules and procedures person in which an awareness of feeling is
that are aimed at managing large numbers communicated. It goes beyond knowledge
of students in a complex school environ- of events in a person's life and touches on
ment. Sometimes easy access to students emotional experiences.
is denied to counselors. Time is so limited Acceptance focuses on a willingness
many feel rushed and they fail to form to believe in and acknowledge the person-
a positive working relationship with al worth and dignity of a person, despite
students before pushing ahead with an the circumstances. We can be accepting
agenda. of someone and still not agree with the
Some counselors have complained person's ideas or behaviors. Even when we
about being seen as "enforcers" more than challenge someone's behavior, the value
"friends" because they are charged with of the person as a human being is always
reminding students of school rules and present.
policies. Others worry they are strangers Respect suggests common courtesies
to their students because they see them so are given to people, including the right to
seldom. express their own ideas and feelings, to be
"I don't like to tell a stranger about responsible for their own decisions, and
personal things. This is the number one
to be capable of shaping their own lives.
reason that keeps high school students Friendliness communicates a warm
from seeking counselor assistance. This personal style that invites others to recip-
is followed by, "Afraid the counselor rocate with mutual interest and warmth.
will pass information about me to other It is a factor that often results from some
people" and then, "I did not have time." of the other facilitative conditions. But, in
Forming a counseling relationship, one in its own right, friendliness is best charac-
which a person feels free to self-disclose, terized as a kindly attitude, one in which
depends on some fundamental facilitative there are amiable exchanges and a genu-
conditions. ine sense of comfort.
Trustworthiness involves being en-
Six Facilitative Conditions trusted with confidence or a sense of se-
For our purposes, the facilitative rela- curity. It often inspires faith and reliance,
tionship is characterized by six conditions. but it is primarily founded on a prediction
These are: (1) caring; (2) understanding; (3) someone will act in an honest and forth-
acceptance; (4) respect; (5) friendliness; and right manner so an individual's well-being
(6) trustworthiness. is not hurt.

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No doubt, the learning climate of a Three students, two boys and a girl,
school is directly influenced by the inter- disliked a teacher. They resented the
personal relationships between students homework that was assigned and de-
and their counselors and teachers. Facili- scribed it as trivial busy work. They were
tative or helping relationships are ones in upset when the teacher threatened to
which students explore their ideas, feel- lower their grades or remove them from
ings, and behaviors. These relationships class because of their attitudes. After some
are needed in a developmental guidance discussion with a counselor, the students
and counseling program. decided to work on paying more atten-
tion in class, starting their homework at
school, and stopping their inappropriate
The Facilitative Processes talk and remarks in class.
"Okay," you may be thinking, "but if In these cases, counselors and stu-
I'm friendly and have a good working re- dents had general and specific goals when
lationship with students, then what hap- they met together. Likewise, teachers, as
pens?" The answer to that question de- advisors, might have goals in mind as
pends upon the situation or the problem they present a guidance activity. It is the
presented and the processes that receive way in which counselors and teachers
special attention. work with students that frequently deter-
If you are counseling a student, for mines success.
example, you will want to build a helping The facilitative processes that happen
relationship by creating the facilitative in counseling or guidance sessions refer
conditions of trust, understanding, and to the interactions that take place and the
so forth. This is done through mutual dynamics of the interpersonal relation-
self-disclosure and feedback. As the rela- ship. Each facilitative process has its own
tionship continues to develop and aware- special attribute that contributes to the
ness increases, it is then possible to think events in counseling. In addition, these
about how decision-making and problem- processes tend to emerge because of the
solving skills can be activated so the stu- reciprocal actions of counselor and coun-
dent will take some responsible action selee. The facilitative processes also are
toward desired goals. interactive, with one process influencing
A boy wanted to improve his grades. another. They are unique products of the
This general result was further delin- communication of ideas, feelings, and be-
eated and one goal was to reduce his test haviors in a helping relationship.
anxiety in order to improve test scores. In This leads us to consider the four ba-
another case, a girl wanted to feel better sic helping processes of the Facilitative
about herself and to have more self-con- Model: (1) self-disclosure; (2) feedback; (3)
fidence when she played basketball. One increased awareness and decision making;
of her desired counseling outcomes was to and (4) responsible action.
reduce the number of negative thoughts
she had about herself. She also wanted to
reduce the panic she felt when someone
guarded her closely in a basketball game.

148 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 5 The Counselor as Facilitator

Self-disclosure about our feelings and ideas can be useful

Self-disclosure involves revealing one's as we examine situations and attempt to
self to others and it is the primary process understand others and ourselves more.
in counseling. As the trust relationship Borrowing from Harry Luft and Joe
builds between a counselor and a student, Ingram's famous Johari's Window Qoe
there is more sharing of personal informa- and Harry's window), it is possible toil-
tion and greater depth in exploring pri- lustrate several things about the Facili-
vate ideas and feelings, tative Model. A few liberties have been
taken with the original illustration (Luft,
All of us have had experiences in our
1984). For our purposes, we will refer to
lives that made a significant impact on
us. Sometimes we remember the events it as the Relationship Quadrant (Figure
5 .1), since it features four distinct areas
vividly and at other times we can recall
only the general effect they had on us, that are involved in analyzing individual
but strong feelings and impressions linger. or group relationships and the facilitative
The events may not be nearly as impor- processes.
tant as the meaning we give them. Talking

Figure 5.1
Relationship Quadrant

Known to self NOT known to self

Known to
others Open Blind
I Ill

NOT known Closed Potential

to others II IV

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Let us see how this might be applied energy, the circumstances of a situation,
to you and your personal relationships. and an invitation to talk about ourselves,
For instance, there are some things that can determine how much we disclose to
are known to you and also known tooth- others.
ers (Quadrant I). This shared knowledge Some sensitive topics are more likely
makes it possible for you and others to to be disclosed when we perceive the
have a base from which to relate with presence of the facilitative conditions in
each other. It is an open area and free for a relationship. It matters not whether it
each of you to make comments. It is with- is with an individual or a group. It does
in this open area ideas and feelings are not matter how long we have known a
explored and it is from here awareness, person.
decision making, and actions eventually
spring. Student self-disclosure. Some
counselors claim self-disclosure has a
If some parents know, for example, strong cathartic value for students. Sev-
you are a counselor and you have taken eral therapies are based on this premise.
courses in family counseling, they may There may be times when students need
talk with you about some parenting mat- to blurt out their feelings or "pop off" just
ters. If students know that to keep fit to drain away some tension. They might
you run at the school race track every talk rapidly and impulsively with you, just
day, they may use this information to to "get it out"-to hear how their ideas
talk with you about exercising or athletic sound to themselves as much as to you.
events. Knowing something about you
may invite them to talk more freely with One way of helping students sort out
you, especially on topics about which their ideas and feelings is to encourage
they have some information. them to disclose more and to explore
their ideas with them. Such a process
Information known to self and to can help them to gain a better picture of
others can be a departure point for fur- themselves and how a situation is affect-
ther discussion. Although limited at first, ing them.
Quadrant I is where you start. It is the
area you want to expand and develop as You might be thinking, "But most stu-
part of guidance and counseling relation- dents are always talking about themselves.
ships. They disclose continually." That might
be true, especially when you consider
At the same time, there are some nonverbal communication. Yet, when stu-
things about yourself others do not know dents talk with others casually about their
much about. These things may be hidden interests and needs, they seldom are in a
or undisclosed for various reasons (Quad- situation where they can share their feel-
rant II). This is not necessarily because ings and ideas in depth. They rarely have
you have deep, dark secrets and are afraid a chance to discuss a topic to any great
to disclose them. It could be because you length because somebody is changing the
have not had a chance to tell certain topic or taking the focus away from them.
things about yourself. Systematically helping students disclose
To reveal your favorite TV program to their ideas and feelings about school, and
someone or share your likes and dislikes the things in their lives that affect their
about sporting events is a form of self-dis- learning, is part of a counselor's job.
closure. These topics become part of the Some students will not "open up"
open area, just as much as telling what to adults. They are accustomed to being
you remember most about your parents evaluated or "put down." Some quickly
and how they influenced your life. Time,

150 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 5 The Counselor as Facilitator

learn to clam up after they have started In a sense, everything you do while in
to reveal things about themselves because the presence of others reveals something
they begin to perceive subtle, or blatant, about yourself. Your choice of words, for
messages that warn them to be careful example, can tell how you feel and what
and cautious. This is especially true when you value. They may expose your attitude
they are not experiencing the facilitative or a hidden agenda you carry into a meet-
conditions of a helping relationship. ing. You cannot avoid revealing some
It is difficult to help students as- things about yourself in counseling, even
sess themselves or change their ideas, if you try. The point here, however, is
attitudes, and behaviors if you do not what and how you self-disclose. What is
know what they are thinking or feeling. the most facilitative way to disclose about
Therefore, when providing guidance and your self?
counseling services to students, you want Most students have heard parents and
to create situations and an atmosphere in teachers tell about their student days, "the
which students feel free to self-disclose good old days." "When I was your age,
and talk about matters. I had to .... " is an opening line that is a
Counselor self-disclosure. There sure bet to turn students away. Similarly,
was a time when counselors and teachers students have heard such things as, "If
were told they should not reveal much of you think it's tough now, I can remember
their own personal thoughts and experi- when I.. .. " For the most part, students
ences to students. It was assumed reveal- have a difficult time imagining adults, es-
ing their own ideas, feelings, values, and pecially teachers and counselors, as young
decisions would be intrusive. Some early people their age. It does not compute well
client-centered theorists, for example, with them.
believed counselor self-disclosure would Most adults usually go astray when
inappropriately influence the counsel- they self-disclose by telling too many
ing process and make it less productive details and not enough of their feelings.
because clients would try to please their They seldom miss having a moral to the
counselors, based on that information. story. The bottom line is usually, "So, I
There appears to be some truth to the idea understand what you are going through,
students may say things they think will and therefore .... " It may even have the
please a counselor, but it is more likely to ring of, "That's what happened to me,
occur when they are not experiencing the here's what I did, and this is what you
facilitative conditions. can do (or should not do)." Students fre-
It was assumed for many years there quently hear more advice than a genuine
was a common self-disclosure sequence shared experience.
that would work well. It would begin with To avoid falling into old cliches and
the counselee first disclosing personal in- boring students with stories about days
formation about needs, problems, history, past, remember to self-disclose more of
and relationships. The helper would then your feelings than the details of an event
reciprocate in self-disclosure by reveal- or situation. Be cautious when telling stu-
ing such information as impressions of dents how you solved a similar problem or
the counselee, reactions to the unfolding how you turned a potential disaster into a
counseling situation, and relevant per- smashing success. Rather, emphasize what
sonal information. Research showed such you were feeling during those times.
mutual self-disclosure could elicit more For example, consider the follow-
client self-disclosure and ratings of greater ing self-disclosure by a school counselor,
helper trustworthiness.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

working with a high school senior who The self-disclosure process is the first
was trying to make a decision about col- priority in counseling and guidance as it
lege: sets the foundation for the other facilita-
"I, too, was unsure about the college tive processes. As students disclose more
I wanted to attend. There was a lot about themselves, they can receive feed-
or pressure on me to make a decision. back about their ideas, feelings, attitudes,
Those were confusing times." and behaviors.
Notice how the counselor, in this case, The two facilitative processes of self-
communicated what was thought to be a disclosure and feedback interact together
similar experience. In contrast, the follow- to create a free and open relationship as
ing would probably be less effective. the facilitative conditions continue to
grow (Quadrant I expands). It is in this
"I remember when I was trying to facilitative relationship people can begin
decide between two colleges. I finally to explore their ideas in greater depth,
decided on the one closest to home to evaluate their goals more honestly, to
because that is where my friends were examine alternatives, to make responsible
going and I could get home easier decisions, and to find solutions to their
when I needed to. Today I would look problems.
more at what courses were offered;
but, I guess your first college major
does not make any difference. Most
people change. I know I changed my Feedback is a term that probably had
major three times. Now, if I were you, its origin in electronics and aerospace
I would.... " engineering. It implies a circuit is looped
back to its original source and this flow
Interesting, perhaps, but this self-dis-
back allows for a modification of an effect
closure runs the risk of being only tangen-
that produced the results.
tial to what the student is experiencing.
Most attention is directed to the events For example, the thermostats in build-
of the time, with the counselor assuming ings use information about temperature to
these events add credibility to the advice activate air conditioning or heating units.
that is about to follow. Commercial airline pilots use guidance
systems that involve feeding information
If you focus primarily on the feelings
into computers and then confirming or
you experienced in a situation and less
correcting the airplane's flight pattern.
on the event itself, then you are likely to
build a bond that cuts across differences. In a similar sense, personal feedback is
This is true whether the differences are helpful to us as individuals. It sometimes
related to age, sex, socioeconomics, or validates our attitudes and behaviors. At
culture. Similar feelings bridge communi- other times, it helps us modify or make
cation gaps more than similar events or changes in our lives. Feedback from others
situations. can help us stay on track or chart a new
Self-disclosure will be a mutual expe-
rience for you and your students as you As seen in the Relationship Quadrant
work with them. The appropriateness, (Figure 5.1), there are some things (facts
timeliness, and the extent of personal dis- and perceptions) that are known tooth-
closure will result from your professional ers, but not necessarily known to us. This
judgment and skill. area (Quadrant III) has been called a blind
spot or a blind area and it can be reduced
only by the process of feedback.

152 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 5 The Counselor as Facilitator

What do you know about your Feedback in the Facilitative Model

friends? What do they know about you? If can be equated with personal information
you know the same things about each oth- that is received about oneself. There are
er, then you can talk about these matters several possible sources of data, including
freely. They are subjects of conversation tests and inventories. But, personal infor-
that are easily accessible with one another mation from other people, including reac-
(Quadrant I). You may have told some tions of peers, is the most valuable and
close friends things abqut yourself others useful of all.
with whom you are less acquainted do
not know (Quadrant II). In other words, Increased Awareness
you moved some things from the closed and Decision Making
to the open area (Quadrant II to Quadrant
I) as you found the occasion and time to The third facilitative process is that
talk with your friends. Similarly, they may of increased awareness and decision mak-
have done the same with you. ing. It is this process most people want to
experience when they see a counselor for
There also are things your friends help. Decision making and problem solv-
know or believe about you, but they may ing are not always seen as products of self-
not have shared with you. They have disclosure and feedback. However, these
observed you in several situations and processes are closely related.
noticed how you behaved. They also have
experienced certain reactions to things Most people want their problems
you have done. They have formed impres- solved immediately. They want to tell
sions of you and reached some conclu- their story in brief and be told what to do,
sions about you as a person. Unless they or at least it seems that way. They want
have taken time to tell you, much of this to learn more about themselves in a few
information is still blind to you (Quad- quick steps and prefer everything to be
rant III). as painless and effortless as possible. It
is human nature to wish for an easy and
Feedback from those who have ob- satisfying process that does not take much
served you can add to the open area. time or commitment.
When done in a positive way, it can open
the relationship even more and provide Yet, it usually takes time to establish a
you with some valuable information. It is facilitative relationship. It takes time and
a powerful experience. energy to disclose and explore ideas and
feelings. It also takes time and commit-
As one of the four facilitative pro- ment to receive and give feedback. Finally,
cesses, feedback is an essential part of it is hard work to identify goals, weigh
guidance and counseling services. The alternatives, set priorities, and take some
information students receive can be used action steps.
to assess their development and progress.
It can help them determine if they are
Again, the Relationship Quadrant
accomplishing their goals or objectives. helps us gain insight into the process of
It also reinforces some behaviors and pro- decision making or problem solving. As
vides a stimulus for changing others. Quadrant I increases in scope and depth,
people talk more openly about matters.
In addition, counselors need feedback The processes of self-disclosure and feed-
from students and teachers. They need back help Quadrant I grow and become
to know how they are being perceived in meaningful. The scope and potential for a
their work. They also need to know what relationship (Quadrant IV) also grow be-
counseling interventions are working and cause Quadrants II and III decrease in size
which ones are not. as self-disclosure and feedback take place.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

It is in the context of Quadrant I Sometimes an action step involves

people experience a greater awareness of developing a skill or practicing one. This
themselves and others and they feel more might be done in individual or small
confident in making decisions and solving group counseling. It also might result
problems. This third facilitative process, from large group guidance activities. It
then, is a product or outgrowth of Quad- could be an outcome of a student having
rant I, despite its size and range. The more had an opportunity to talk with another
limited the open relationship, the more student about a decision they are trying
limited the communication and, conse- to make.
quently, the ability to become more aware Despite the plan of action, students
of self and others and to make decisions. learn they are responsible for implement-
These three processes are directly related ing the plan and its consequences. It is
to the action a person takes as a result the fear of having to accept the conse-
of working in a helping relationship. Re- quences or the fear they will fail that
sponsible action is the final process and often prevents people from taking action,
final goal. even a first step.
As students take action, they also
Responsible Action learn to evaluate their outcomes and
Considering alternative courses of ac- make new choices. They elicit feedback
tion happens with increased awareness and explore their feelings, perhaps their
when the decision-making process is im- indecision. They reach new understand-
plemented. As students think about what ings of themselves. They can consider al-
they can do and the consequences of any ternatives and find new courses of action.
action they might take, they gain a clearer In the process, they become more mature
picture of their own rights and responsi- and responsible.
bilities. Eventually, they are encouraged
Professional counselors and teachers
to take some action to make a decision or
know they must help create and partici-
solve a problem.
pate in the four processes of self-disclo-
The person ultimately responsible sure: feedback, increased awareness and
for taking action as a result of a valuable decision-making, and responsible action.
counseling or guidance experience with They also remember they are not working
a counselor or teacher-advisor is the stu- alone in making these processes happen.
dent. Helpers have to resist the urge to It is a joint effort between helpers and
rush in to advise and act for the student, helpees.
while students must learn to form their
The facilitative processes during coun-
own courses of action and then to imple-
seling and guidance are directly related
ment them.
to what people do and say in the time
In general, the best way to assure they are together (Figure 5.2). Counseling
implementation of a course of action is to is primarily a talking process. Therefore,
develop a plan and search for some step- special attention needs to be given to how
by-step procedures that will lead to suc- people talk with one another as they at-
cess. Moving toward a goal through small tempt to produce the four facilitative pro-
steps tends to reassure students they are cesses and the facilitative conditions.
moving in the right direction and they are
making some progress toward achieving
their goal.

154 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 5 The Counselor as Facilitator

Figure 5.2
Facilitative Processes
(Individual or Group)

Ill Ill


(A) (B)

I Ill I Ill

RA ~



(C) (D)

SD = Self-disclosure
FB =Feedback
IA/DM = Increased Awareness/
Decision Making
(A) The barriers around the open area (I) RA = Responsible Action
can be relaxed through facilitative re- WW\; = Relaxed Barriers
sponses, activities, or both, in order to
enhance the facilitative processes.
(B) Through self-disclosure (SD) and feed- (D) When the open area (I) is expanded and
back (FB), the open area (I) is expanded; developed, there is more opportunity
there is more freedom to discuss and to gain increased awareness about self,
explore issues in this area. others, and special issues or concerns.
Increased awareness by itself may be
(C) As the barriers are reduced, the open (I)
valuable, but it also can lead to more
and potential (IV) areas get larger and
effective decision-making. This, in turn,
the blind (Ill) and closed (II) areas are
leads to more responsible action on the
reduced. This is true for both individual
part of an individual or group.
and group relationships.

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The High Facilitative Teachers who view themselves as fa-

cilitators can improve student-teacher re-
Responses lationships through the way they talk and
Years ago, researchers began to take respond in classroom situations. A caring,
note of how people talked with one an- supportive relationship has been shown
other. They were particularly interested to create a positive classroom environ-
in how teachers talked with students and ment and be directly related to students'
how counselors responded to counselees. school satisfaction (Baker, 1999; Corne-
It was not long before it was concluded lius-White, 2006; Stipek, 2006).
that even relationships that are intended Likewise, communication between
to be helpful can be for better or for worse counselors and clients is a critical factor
(Carkhuff, 1993), depending upon the in the helping process (Cornelius-White,
type of talk that happens. 2003). While acknowledging the impor-
Although Carl Rogers never advocated tance of nonverbal communication in
or outlined specific talking techniques counseling, most writers concentrate on
when he described his client-centered ap- verbal interaction and suggest ways coun-
proach to counseling and therapy, some selors might talk with their clients.
of his colleagues and supporters did. For You will find no exception here.
example, Arbuckle (1950) was the first to CounseJor talk is such an important vari-
encourage teachers to use the client-cen- able that everything else pales when com-
tered concepts of the helping relationship. pared to it. Even our attitudes are con-
He described how teachers could be better veyed through how we talk and the words
helpers if they listened carefully and ad- we are chose to express our ideas.
opted a student-centered attitude.
The Facilitative Model is based on the
Fifteen years later, Flanders (1965) assumption personal relationships are the
reported 95 percent of all teacher talk in basis for effective teaching and counsel-
the classroom is in the form of advising, ing. In turn, personal relationships are
judging, giving opinions, reporting facts, built on selective listening and respond-
and providing information. Not much ing. Certain verbal responses and nonver-
has changed since then. Most classroom bal behaviors increase the probability of a
interactions, regardless of grade level, are helper being perceived as friendly, caring,
situations in which teachers talk and the understanding, accepting, and trustwor-
students listen. This may be appropriate thy. Facilitative responses help create the
occasionally, but when it dominates a facilitative conditions and enhance the
teacher's style, then the working relation- helping relationship.
ship is one-sided and less productive than
it could be. The facilitative responses can be used
with everyone, regardless of age. Counsel-
Wittmer and Myrick (1989), among ors, of course, should be selective in their
others, expressed concern about teacher- choice of words and modify their interac-
student relationships and tried to help tion style with younger students. If the
teachers view themselves as facilitators. meanings of words used in the counseling
They wanted teachers to play a more sig- process are explained during the process,
nificant role in helping students grow per- children can understand and work with
sonally and socially as part of the academic them.
process. They emphasized meaningful
learning was a product of facilitative teach-
ing and described how classroom commu-
nication could be improved.

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Visual props might be useful to help Feeling words are the key ingredients
ground counseling language in the day- in these empathic statements. A feeling
to-day life of children. For instance, one word has to be present in this type of re-
counselor talked with children about sponse. It cannot be assumed you under-
pleasant feelings as sunshiny feelings"
stand and know what the person is feel-
and used a picture of a smiling sun to il- ing. You have to say or do something to
lustrate the warmth they bring. Unpleas- show it. A feeling word must be expressed
ant feelings were described as "cloudy" in in your response.
a rainy picture and portrayed as gloomy. You probably have heard the old ad-
There are six basic responses that are age, "Put yourself in the other person's
the foundation of the Facilitative Model. shoes." It suggests that by doing so you
You will want to increase the frequency will be more understanding. You also
of them in your work. They are: (1) feel- could ask yourself, "How would I feel if I
ing-focused response; (2) clarifying or were in a situation like that?" Or, "How
summarizing response; (3) open question; would I have to feel to do or say some-
(4) facilitative feedback, as a compliment thing like that?"
or confrontation; (5) simple acknowledg- The answers to these questions might
ment; and (6) linking. give you some insight into what the per-
son is experiencing. They might lead you
The Feeling-Focused Response to be more empathic. Yet, the problem
The feeling-focused response is one with this approach is it sometimes traps
of the three highest facilitative responses you into projecting your own feelings on
you can offer to others. It is an attempt to others. We often assume others experi-
go beyond the events or ideas that are be- ence things the same way we do, but this
ing expressed and capture the essence of a may not be true.
person's experience. It directs attention to Being perceived as an empathic lis-
what a person is feeling. tener, one who responds accurately to what
Some writers have referred to this type a person is experiencing, requires you to
of response as "reflecting understand- tune into the person's feelings and respond
ing." People feel better understood when to them. It is not enough to identify the
someone senses what they are feeling in a feelings and say nothing or to think you
situation and mirrors back those feelings. understand and not verbalize that under-
There is a sense of being understood when standing. It is never enough to say simply,
others communicate they have grasped "I understand what you are experiencing"
the essence of your experience. or "I know what you are going through."
Here are some examples of feeling-fo- Neither of these statements communicate
understanding. Such responses are likely to
cused responses:
be ineffective, often met with the thought,
'Tou're really angry, John." "I don't think you do."
"Jennifer, you seem confused." Pleasant and unpleasant feel-
"That was exciting for you." ings. One method to help you be a
"You're feeling more relaxed now." more empathic person is to listen for the
feelings that exceed the literal sense of
"It hurts to think about it." the words. Ask yourself: Am I hearing

pleasant feelings, unpleasant feelings, or

both?" This will give you some clues re-
garding what the person is experiencing.

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Helping students develop a feeling Figure 5.3

word vocabulary also is a part of guidance
and counseling and is just as important as Feeling Words
teaching them problem-solving strategies. PLEASANT UNPLEASANT
To assist you in your work, a list of pleas- enjoyment defeated
ant and unpleasant feeling words can be satisfied suspicious
developed. You can use the words shown
excited doubtful
in Figure 5.3 or you and your students can
generate your own lists. These lists could loved threatened
be posted for easy reference. happy offended
Review the list. Which words are most contented disgusted
familiar to you? Which ones do you tend delighted guarded
to use the most in your work? Which ones proud angry
are likely to be present in certain situa- hopeful hateful
tions? Which ones are unfamiliar to you accepted rejected
or sound strange? What are some current
slang expressions students use to tell about bright unhappy
their feelings that could be added to the peaceful sore
list? calm cramped
If you are looking for a key to being a warm worried
more empathic counselor, then begin by close troubled
increasing your feeling word vocabulary. strong shocked
This enables you to be more sensitive and optimistic depressed
to respond more accurately to what people
joyful disappointed
say and do. Be as precise as you can, choos-
ing the best words to grasp the person's pleased discouraged
feelings. cheerful pained
Many feeling words are closely related. stimulated abused
Sometimes you might choose one that cap- refreshed uneasy
tures a shade of the basic emotion, such as trusting uncomfortable
"You're irritated," instead of "You're mad." confident sad
It acknowledges the unpleasant experience
secure gloomy
and may not evoke as much defensiveness
as words that are forceful or less socially ac- interested tired
cepted. If you are off the mark, or if people needed bored
want to use even stronger words to empha- powerful fearful
size their emotions, then you can substitute relieved confused
or add another word. relaxed irritated
Making a feeling-focused response, special annoyed
even when it is not exactly on target, will
important angry
usually get you some credit for being an
understanding person. You are trying to uplifted concerned
grasp what the person is experiencing and inspired empty
most people appreciate the effort. You can successful overwhelmed
always be corrected. But, meanwhile, your appreciated defensive
attempt emphasizes how much you want welcomed pressured
to understand. You can hardly lose when
satisfied fragmented
you make feeling-focused responses.

158 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 5 The Counselor as Facilitator

Many people are unaware of their think the team will win tonight." The first
feelings. In times past, people frequently part focuses on the feeling and the second
ignored or suppressed them. "Don't get part goes on to emphasize the person's
emotional" is an expression most of us thoughts or ideas about the game. To re-
have heard, especially when we were ceive credit for this type of response, feel-
trying to make a decision or to solve a ing words (pleasant or unpleasant) must
problem. The assumption is logical and be in the context of the statement.
clear-headed thinking is without personal Another typical response that is not
feelings. This is nonserise. feeling-focused is, "I feel you should study
Our feelings have a powerful influence more." This is an opinion. It suggests
on our behavior. Feelings are a part of liv- what the person should do. The response
ing. There are a few people who are so un- is not person-centered; rather, it is a form
responsive to their environment that the of advice coming from someone else's ex-
extent of their feelings is limited. These perience.
unfeeling people are dysfunctioning. If a Feeling-focused responses can echo
student is without feeling or affect, the feelings that may or may not have been
counselor knows extensive help and ther- expressed overtly. You follow the lead of
apy, probably beyond school resources, the person. Nothing new is offered except
are needed. The person should be referred your own perception of the feelings that
to a doctor or mental health professional. are being expressed.
Most of us experience many kinds We talk and behave with feeling. We
of feelings during a day. We take some always feel something, although we may
routine events in stride while others are not be aware of the feelings that comple-
unsettling. Generally, there is a very low ment an experience. Both our verbal and
level of awareness of our feelings, as our nonverbal behavior reveal feelings tooth-
thoughts and images seem to take pre- ers, especially if they are attentive observ-
cedence in most situations. As people ers and tune into our experiences.
respond to our feelings, our awareness in-
creases. Feelings complete the pictures we Nonverbal behavior and com-
have of ourselves. munication. Nonverbal communication
is a part of all interpersonal interactions,
Feeling-focused responses will help yet it does not receive much attention in
you to be perceived as someone who counseling texts. We need to know more
cares, who is interested, and who is an about it and how to use it in our work.
attentive listener. They help people feel We typically acknowledge its importance
more comfortable and relaxed with you, and sense its strength and power, but we
as you demonstrate your empathic abili- still neglect it. Perhaps we are unsure of
ties and show you are trying to under- what to do with such knowledge.
stand how they see things.
Nonverbal communication comes
To begin a sentence with "You feel..." through the tone of one's voice, the speed
does not necessarily mean you will focus at which one speaks, the pauses, and the
on a person's feelings. For instance: "You hesitations that happen as an event is
feel the basketball team will win tonight." being described. It includes stammering,
This statement is not a feeling-focused stuttering, shouting, whispering, and oth-
response. It is really directed to the per- er vocal expressions. It also includes facial
son's opinion or idea. It might be stated, expressions, hand gestures, foot move-
"You're excited about the game ... and ments, and body position.

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Body messages are part of the com- so tired of it all." Or, after hearing a young
munication process. Often the position student express a form of determined
or the movement of one's body will com- defiance, you could squint your eyes, grit
municate pleasant or unpleasant feelings. your teeth, lean over with closed fists, and
A turn of the lip, a frown, a grinding of say, "You get so angry just thinking about
teeth, or a rolling of the eyes can be valu- it." It might even be more dramatic if you
able clues as to what someone is think- shook your body while making the state-
ing and feeling. Although an awareness ment, as you attempt to emphasize what
of nonverbal behavior can be helpful in the person is experiencing.
counseling and teaching, there is no reli- You may feel the need to reach out
able reference book that helps us analyze and physically touch someone. Some
and interpret this type of behavior. counselors, for fear of accusations of mo-
Eventually, the person with whom lestation and lawsuits, make it a rule to
you are working will be assisted to see never touch students. The trend toward
how feelings and behaviors are related. abstaining from touch is probably related
Feelings and behaviors play a significant to efforts over the years to increase aware-
role in decision making and problem solv- ness and sensitivity about sexual harass-
ing. ment and abuse. In some cases, states and
In the general scheme of life, feeling- school districts say unequivocally, "Hands
focused responses are uncommon to ev- off! Touching is taboo." (DelPrete, 1998).
eryday talk. Many people, consequently, Yet, when a student is talking about
complain nobody understands them. Feel- a painful matter and has broken down,
ing-focused responses are considered the sobbing profusely, a gentle touch on the
most critical response in the counseling arm or shoulder to show compassion may
process. They communicate understand- seem like the thing to do. It is intended
ing and enhance the other facilitative to be comforting, perhaps even reassur-
conditions. ing, and to communicate the person is
Counselors who work with people not alone. Such consoling touches appear
of various ages and cultural and ethnic to be appropriate and accepted in most
groups believe nonverbal behaviors play schools.
an important role in communication The counselor must still show good
(Borg, 2008). Some cultural groups, for judgment and avoid anything that might
example, may divert their eyes when talk- be perceived as an erotic touch. This re-
ing, just as small children might when quires some counselor self-assessment.
they are talking with an adult. Eyes may You must know your own personality and
be the mirrors of the soul, but sustained needs and be aware of what your touches
eye contact can be too intense to some- tend to communicate to others.
one who associates it with intimacy or The fact remains some people can
perhaps sternness. touch and say things that are perceived
Mirroring body movements may be as kind, friendly, and even jovial. Mean-
as helpful as mirroring words (Ivey et while, other people, trying to touch in
al., 2002). For instance, when a person is the same manner, may find their touches
speaking with a tired tone of voice, you being experienced as too intense, too inti-
might lean back in your chair and drop mate, or even seductive. Their intentions
your hands, shoulders, and head as you may be misinterpreted.
make a feeling-focused response, "You're

160 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 5 The Counselor as Facilitator

It is obvious some touching is inap- about something else, introducing more

propriate and should be avoided, such thoughts that may or may not be relevant
as kissing, stroking hair, prolonged hugs, to the first idea expressed. Being an atten-
and spanking. Touches that are generally tive listener is not an easy job, especially
regarded as appropriate include shaking when a person is rambling about many
hands and gentle pats on the back, arm, things.
or shoulder. In addition, there may be It can be helpful to make a clarify-
times when a child must be physically re- ing or summarizing response when you:
strained or when counselors must defend (a) are not sure if you are following the
themselves. person's train of thought; (b) are not sure
Appropriate touch certainly has a if you heard something correctly; or (c)
place in school and in the work of a coun- want to draw attention or emphasize
selor. Still, most professional, state, and something that was said. Such responses
school guidelines are vague about this focus on the content of the discussion
topic. Counselors must exercise their best or the events of the story. There is no at-
professional judgment. tempt to use feeling words, although feel-
ings may be heard when the ideas were
The Clarifying or expressed.
Summarizing Response As you try to focus the conversation
If you are like most listeners, you at- or highlight a few ideas, use fresh words
tend to the events or the ideas a person when you clarify or summarize. This helps
is talking about. They are the basis of the you avoid parroting. You can use some
conversation and provide the framework of the same words, but turn the basic
for accurate understanding. Although phrases around, unless you deliberately
emotion is part of expressing ideas, the want to repeat the phrasing for emphasis.
thoughts and the story that are being Some people have referred to this type
communicated also must be understood. of statement as paraphrasing, which is a
rewording of the meaning expressed in
After listening attentively, you may something written or spoken.
want to clarify a significant idea or sum-
marize some themes you heard expressed. When used at appropriate moments,
For instance: clarifying or summarizing responses help
communicate you are interested in fol-
"You apparently have already made lowing the thoughts people are expressing
your plans.

and you want to understand them. These

"Let's see then, you intend to enter responses also give people an opportu-
the military service after graduation.
nity to hear their ideas and to think more
"You and your parents disagree about about what they have said. In a sense,
what you should do after gradua- they can provide a focus to the discussion,
tion." almost serving as a checklist of ideas that
are receiving attention.
Clarifying or summarizing responses
attempt to capture basic ideas or events. If you have misunderstood, the per-
When so much is being said in a free- son to whom you are talking can correct
flowing conversation, many things are you or add information to increase your
communicated. One statement might ex- knowledge. Then, you are back on track
press a key idea, such as plans after gradu- and can follow the lead of the person as
ation, while other statements support the the story continues. Some typical lead-in
idea. Sometimes the person who is talk- phrases are:
ing will veer off course and begin talking

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"If I hear you correctly... :" questions ask for more information and
"You seem to be saying.... " encourage answers with more explana-
tion. Look at these examples:
"If I'm following you, you believe
that.. .. " "Do you get along with your teach-
ers?" (closed)
"In other words, you're trying to .... "
"What can you tell me about your
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but.. .. " teachers?" (open)
"From what you have said so far, I'm "Did you talk with your teacher?"
hearing that.. .. " (closed)
"It strikes me you're primarily.... " "What did you say to your teacher?"
"I've heard these key ideas, 1) .... " (open)
"Let me see if I understand, you The open question provides a broad
said.... " base from which to respond. There is
"What's emerging from all you said some leeway and how the person re-
is .... " sponds can provide valuable clues and
information. The closed question is nar-
"Let's see, you're thinking that.... "
row and only interested in the basic fact.
Such phrases alert the person you are Closed questions also tend to be couched
trying to focus the conversation. They in terms of your perspective, whereas
also provide a little "wiggle room" or a open questions elicit student points of
simple qualification of what you are plan- view.
ning to clarify or summarize. Moreover,
Note the examples below. Which do
they can provide you a lead as you at-
you find more inviting?
tempt to express your thoughts.
"You don't like school, do you?"
Suppose a student came to your office
and began talking about a test that was
taking place in the near future. You might "What do you dislike about school?"
respond to the person's feelings (e.g., (open)
"You're worried about the test;" "It makes "Is this task confusing to you?"
you uneasy and nervous to think about (closed)
it"). You might clarify or summarize (e.g., "What is it that's confusing to you?"
"This test is coming up soon;" "You're (open)
planning to spend tonight studying for
the test.") In both cases, you follow the "Are you going to go to college?"
lead of the student, rather than give ad- (closed)
vice or reassuring remarks, and this facili- "What do you think about going to
tates more communication. college? (open)
Open questions are more facilitative
The Open Question because they invite additional self-disclo-
Questions can be either closed or sure. They encourage people to express
open. Closed questions require only sim- themselves more.
ple yes or no responses. They are some-
times experienced as a "just give me the
facts" approach. On the other hand, open

162 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 5 The Counselor as Facilitator

Closed questions also have their When students hear the "Why" in a
value, especially if you are trying to get question, they also hear criticism. They
some specific information or confirm frequently get defensive, even when it is
some thoughts or facts about something. a legitimate question of interest or con-
There will be times when you can speed cern. Therefore, facilitative counselors
up information gathering by using closed and teachers limit their use of this par-
questions. ticular open question, knowing it is not
The most facilitative open questions as productive as turning it into a "what"
tend to begin with "What" or "How" in- or "how" question. For example, look at
stead of "Why." The latter is risky because these contrasting statements:
it tends to ask people to explain or justify "Why did you cut school yesterday?"
themselves. The infamous "Why" ques- "What made you want to cut school
tion deserves special attention. yesterday?"
Most people do not know the reasons "Why don't you like math class?"
they do the things they do. Yet, they
might be asked, "Why did you do that?" "How could math class be better for
Many students respond to such a question you?"
with a quick, "I don't know." They look "Why don't you study more?"
away or shrug their shoulders. They feel "What keeps you from studying
on the spot. Look at these questions: more?
"Why don't you study more?" "Why don't you like school?
"Why did you hit him like that?" "What's your biggest complaint
"Why are you always late for class?" about school?"
"Why do you play your music so The "What and How" questions are
loud?" more specific and they are easier to an-
"Why didn't you talk with your swer. The "Why" questions, although they
teacher?" may produce some insightful thought and
comments, are usually less productive be-
Think about how you feel when such cause they tend to elicit rationalizations
"why" questions are directed to you. and defensive postures.
What kinds of answers are possible? What
kinds of impact do you think they might Clearly, the wording of a question and
have on students? the way in which it is phrased or posed
can make a difference in how a person re- .
We may never discover or understand sponds. Your tone of voice also can make
all the reasons we do the things we do. a difference. It is important to be aware
A rational explanation of some things your questions communicate your values
seems almost impossible. In addition, the and interests.
"Why" question often means something
else besides a question. Look again at the Finally, students frequently say teach-
examples above. Each one implies an ers, counselors, and parents ask too many
opinion. Also, behind each of the ques- questions. Out of habit and social custom,
tions is advice: Study more; Don't hit; Be more than anything else, it is easy to ask
on time for class; Turn down the music; questions. We hear and use them more
Talk with your teacher. than any other kind of response. It also is
easy to fall into the trap of asking ques-
tions and failing to listen to the answers.

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Behind every question is an assump- Students want feedback. They want to

tion. The basis of the question is likely know how they are coming across tooth-
to be found in what the person said. ers. This includes both the personal and
Therefore, questions can easily be turned academic aspects of their lives. While they
into statements which are either feeling- may be skeptical of flattering statements
focused or clarifying responses. For ex- or leery of criticisms, they nevertheless
ample, are curious about how others experience
Closed Question: them and the impressions they make.
"Do you listen to hip-hop music?" How can you give people feedback
without judging them? How can you
Statements: compliment or confront people without
"You listen to hip-hop music." making them feel defensive?
"You enjoy hip-hop music." Facilitative feedback consists of a
Open Question: three-part response. It can be either a
compliment or a confrontation, depend-
"What feelings do you have about
ing upon what you want to communicate.
the war on terrorism?"
Part 1: Be spedfic about the be-
havior. What has the person done? Give
"The war on terrorism is on your an example and be descriptive.
mind a lot these days."
Part 2: Tell how the person's behav-
"You worry about the war." ior makes you feel. Is your experience a
Turn questions into statements to re- pleasant or unpleasant one? Or both?
duce the number of questions you pose. Part 3: Tell what your feelings
This can be especially helpful if you find make you want to do. Being in the pres-
yourself asking a lot of questions. ence of the person's behavior and feeling
It also is effective to ask an open ques- as you do, how do you want to respond?
tion and follow it with a feeling-focused The three high facilitative responses
or clarifying response. This kind of inter- mentioned earlier (feeling-focused, clarify-
action keeps the focus on the talker and ing or summarizing, and open questions)
facilitates self-disclosure. are powerful tools that keep the focus of
discussion on the students with whom
Facilitative Feedback: Compli- you are working. A feedback response still
menting and Confronting keeps the focus on a student, but it also
Feedback, as a facilitative process, discloses some things about you. It is an
involves reducing blind areas in a rela- honest response that can be presented in
tionship, as presented in the Relationship an organized manner so your message is
Quadrant (Figure 5.1). When you use a clear.
feedback response, you will be telling See if you can identify the three parts
another person the impact that person is of feedback in the following response:
having on you. The response is a personal "Richard, I remember your telling me
one in which you are expressing your about getting a morning job before
own feelings about a person's behavior. school and how rushed you were
going to be, but I've noticed you've
been to school on time every day this
grading period. I'm proud of you and
it makes me want to support you in
anyway I can."

164 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 5 The Counselor as Facilitator

Now, try this example: Students especially like to hear about

"Jennifer, I'm interested but I'm also how they have affected you in a pleasant
confused. I'm not sure what to say way. They will enjoy hearing your compli-
to you. You came in the offi.ce today, ments. It creates warm feelings for them
sat down, and haven't said anything. and they will be drawn to you, although,
You're just staring at me." at first, they may feel a little uneasy to
hear positive things about themselves.
In the first example, a compliment You can help others feel important by
was paid to Richard and the three parts tuning into some of the pleasant feel-
of facilitative feedback were presented in ings you experience when they do certain
the order of parts 1, 2, and 3. In the case things.
of Jennifer, however, the parts appear in a
different order (2, 3, and 1). They also are On the other hand, we have learned
the basis of a gentle confrontation. when we share our unpleasant feelings,
there is a tendency for people to be de-
The order of the feedback parts in a fensive. They may initially pull back and
statement is not particularly important, take a second look at you, then probably
unless their placement creates a different at themselves. Therefore, there are three
emphasis. In fact, the order of the parts guidelines that may be helpful when con-
can be mixed easily. Sometimes only the fronting.
first two parts are relied upon to provide a
basic feedback response. First, do you have any "chips in the
bank?" This is another way of asking,
The three parts of the feedback model "Have you taken time to listen to and
help us to organize our thoughts and know the person?" Have you tried to be
to communicate them. They provide a understanding? Every time you are an at-
framework, just as though you were writ- tentive listener and use feeling-focused
ing a thoughtful letter and you were us- responses, clarifying or summarizing
ing your best knowledge of grammar and responses, and open questions in your
paragraphing. talk with a student, you are putting some
The difference between a compliment "chips in the bank." In essence, you are
and confrontation can be found in part building up a reserve that can be drawn
2, regardless of where it appears in the upon when it is time to confront.
feedback statement. Your pleasant feelings Some counselors and teachers have
will be perceived as a compliment, while reported they intended to confront stu-
your unpleasant feelings will probably be dents, but after listening to their stories
viewed as a confrontation. and using facilitative responses, there was
Both compliments and confrontations more understanding and fewer unpleasant
can be difficult for people to receive. Most feelings. There was no need to confront.
people are not used to them. They may. Second, is your unpleasant feeling a
feel defensive when confronted and a bit persistent one? Nobody likes a grouch or
surprised or uncertain when compliment- someone who "pops off" at every little
ed. Feedback statements are sometimes turn. Life is full of little conflicts and it
dismissed in an off-hand way because would be counterproductive to confront
they are so personal. Few people have ex- others every time their behaviors create
perience in how to respond positively to some unpleasant feelings in you. How-
them. However, the words are likely to be ever, it is neither healthy nor wise to let
heard and the impact felt. things build to the point they "boil over."
That can be messy and hard to clean up.
When persistent feelings are left to sim-

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mer and stew, then a relationship suffers. A suggestion or advice may, on oc-
Timely confrontations are valuable and casion, be included as one aspect of the
have a place in facilitative relationships. third part of the feedback model, but it is
Finally, which words best commu- qualified. It also is linked to the source-
nicate your ideas? If you are too intense your feelings. Those who receive feedback
and choose words that are loaded with are ultimately responsible for whether
heavy emotion, you run the risk of not they want to continue or to change their
being heard. The impact of the feedback behavior. But, they need to know how
response could be diminished, if not dis- their behaviors affect others. It is part of
missed. the facilitative processes.
There are many words that describe Facilitative feedback may be direct or
unpleasant feelings and could be used indirect. The direct approach can be seen
in a confrontation. Some are similar, but in the examples already provided. Direct
have slightly different shades of mean- feedback is straight-forward and relies
ing. For instance, it may not be helpful to upon a clear choice of words to draw at-
tell a person how much "hate" you feel. tention to the person's behaviors and to
It might be better to tell how you feel "ir- your reactions. The indirect approach
ritated" or "annoyed." Words that are too uses metaphors or similes to describe the
intense can miss the target. Obviously, impact behaviors have on you. Inanimate
your choice of words depends upon the objects, animals, or fantasized ideas can
situation, your judgment, and your own be used to help communicate your experi-
personal style. ences.
Facilitative feedback, as a compliment For instance, something like this
or a confrontation, is efficient. It offers might be said:
you a degree of control over your own "Derrick, you remind me of a book.
emotions. It can generate energy and re- It's brand new and has never been
lease tension. After you give feedback to opened. I don't know much about it,
people, then it is time to carefully focus except what I have heard from oth-
your attention on them and tune in to ers. The cover is interesting and I find
any reactions. It is time to continue mak- myself wanting to look inside and get
ing facilitative responses to enhance the a better idea of what it's about before
relationship. I recommend it to others."
Like the other responses, compliments Or, "Renee, you remind me of a fast
and confrontations are most effective race horse. You have so much energy
when the timing is right. Again, the more and you plunge right into things. I
"chips in the bank" you have, the more envy your ability to get things done
receptive the person will likely be. If you so quickly. It makes me want to be
are working with a student who is in a around you more, because I think
shell and does not want to spend time you'll win a lot of races and you're
with you, then your words will probably {Un to watch."
bounce off like water off a turtle's back. Do you have any ideas about these
On the other hand, if you use facilitative two people? Do you think this feedback
responses to have an open and positive would be helpful to them? In both exam-
relationship, then your time together will ples, the speaker is being descriptive. You
be more productive and you will feel like can do the same. Tell size, color, location,
you are a counselor. and unique qualities. Include your feel-

166 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 5 The Counselor as Facilitator

ings and what you want to do with the These responses and others like them
object when you are in its presence. All help avoid the "plop experience" that
three parts of the facilitative feedback re- often occurs when someone says some-
sponse are included. Also, the parts could thing and there is no response before at-
have been put in a different order. tention shifts to someone else. It is easy
Indirect feedback may have a lighter enough to recognize you heard the person
tone, but it can be just as effective as di- without discussing or making reference
rect feedback. It sometimes allows us to to any specific ideas. In addition, such a
communicate things that would other- response is effective in bringing closure
wise be difficult to say through the direct to someone's comments. It acknowledges,
approach. It is dramatic and creative. It but does not encourage the person to
appeals to some students and catches talk more-at that time. It is a polite way
their attention more than other kinds of of telling a person you are now going to
responses. move on to another topic or another per-
Feedback, the art of complimenting
and confronting, is an essential skill for
counselors and teachers. It enhances the
helping process. In addition, we also learn The linking response is especially fa-
more about ourselves through feedback cilitative in groups. Although it could be
to others because we invariably disclose used to refer to another person who is not
some things about ourselves. present, it is effective when a group leader
identifies similarities (or perhaps differ-
Simple Acknowledgment ences) that are occurring among group
members. For example:
People like to be acknowledged for
their contributions. They might be embar- "Juan and James, you both seem to
rassed or feel awkward if what they say have a special interest in soccer. v
is ignored. Therefore, a simple acknowl- (Linking content).
edgment can be facilitative, especially in "Juan and James, you're excited
groups. about trying out for the soccer team."
Here are a few common simple ac- (Linking feeling).
knowledgments: As a group leader, you can look for
"Thank you for sharing that." opportunities to "link" events, ideas, or
general experiences students have in com-
mon. You also can link feelings. Listen for
"Thanks.I) unpleasant and pleasant feelings as they
"All righC' are being expressed by group members
and, on occasion, try to show how these
feelings are shared.
Linking responses help develop a
sense of togetherness in a group and add
to group cohesiveness. They accentuate
relationships by linking information or
feelings from one person to another and
enhance the facilitative conditions within
a group.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

The Low Facilitative When advice is relevant and practical,

it can be helpful and it might facilitate
Responses people toward their goals. This is especial-
While all responses-at one time or ly true when it is offered at an appropriate
another-might be helpful, some are like- time and is in the form of a suggestion,
ly to be less facilitative than others. Three instead of a directive or command. Stu-
common responses that are generally con- dents will look to you for some timely ad-
sidered to be low facilitative are: (a) advis- vice and you will want to advise them, on
ing/ evaluating; (b) analyzing/interpreting; occasion. But, remember, it shifts the re-
and (c) reassuring/supporting. Let us see sponsibility for decision making. In most
how these fit into the facilitative model. cases, it is not perceived as a response that
communicates respectful understanding
Advising/Evaluating and accepting.
Advising/evaluating responses tell Evaluative statements are judgmental,
people how to behave or judge their be- whether positive or negative, and are un-
havior. For instance: likely to be facilitative. Even when used
"Don't drop geometry, you'll need it as a secondary reinforcer, as advocated
later to get into college." by learning theorists (e.g., That's great!
Good!), evaluation often closes the door
"Instead of arguing, you should try to to open communication. People are less
see his point of view." inclined to self-disclose for fear of being
"If you'd make a study plan, then rejected. Praise and criticism, although
you'd get more homework done." well-intended, communicate you are
"What you need to do is to talk with judging the person.
your teachers about your concerns." Advising and evaluating responses are
"One of the best things you can do rated among the least facilitative respons-
now is to apologize and ask to get es for building a helping relationship. Yet,
back in class." they do have their place in the work of
counselor and teacher. It is the timely use
Advice is cheap and it is given by of them that will make the critical differ-
almost everyone. Listen to a group of ence.
people for a while and you will soon hear
some form of advice creeping into the
conversation. Students hear a lot of advice
from their parents, teachers, and coun-
selors. It is easy to recognize and follows
such lead-ins as:
"You should .... "
"If I were you, I would.... "
"The best way is to .... "
"If you do not..., then .... "
"If you would only.... "
"You need to .... "
"The thing to do is .... "

168 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 5 The Counselor as Facilitator

Analyzing/Interpreting Reassuring/Supporting
Analyzing/interpreting responses Reassuring/supporting responses are
probably gained their popularity from the intended to tell people we believe in
theory that there is always an explana- them. These responses are meant as en-
tion for why people do the things they couragement, but they can easily dismiss
do. And, if people only had more insight someone's feelings and fail to facilitate
about their behaviors, they could change. self-disclosure. For example:
Look at these responses: "Everyone feels like that at your age."
"Don't you see being critical of school "Things will tum out okay. 11

is just another way of expressing your

unhappiness with your family's situ- "You remind me a lot of another boy,
ation?" Chris, and he did real well in that
"You want to be an engineer because
your father wants that for you." "I know how you feel."
"You don't participate in class be- "It looks bad now, but things will be
cause you're shy and afraid of fail- better tomorrow. 11

ing." "There's nothing wrong with you that

"You just want to be in Mrs. John- a couple of years of growth won't
son's room because she was your help."
sister's teacher.
Unfortunately, most of the time the
The intent is to explain the reason be- reassuring statements miss their mark,
hind the person's thoughts or behavior in probably because they imply individu-
the hope this will provide insight. These als need not feel as they do. They suggest
responses are marked with "because" ter- one's feelings are common, normal, un-
minology and suggest what the student necessary, or temporary. They often are
might or should think. There is an at- followed by advice or advice is implied.
tempt to provide some meaning to a situ- They suggest they should not be con-
ation, but most people do not like to have cerned and should feel differently.
their behavior or ideas interpreted. To test the impact of the three high
An interpretation may be accurate, and three low responses on the facilita-
but most of the time it is only a guess, a tive relationship, three discussion leaders
hypothesis at best. Too often interpreta- were each assigned two different groups of
tive statements are textbook cliches (e.g., eighth grade students who were matched
"You threw your pencil at her because you for age, sex, academic achievement, and
wanted attention.") It may or may not be attitude about school. The groups met
true, but is it facilitative? twice with their leaders, who were coun-
selor education students, to first talk
Interpretations tend to discourage about school and then pet peeves about
self-disclosure by confronting people who adults. The groups were very similar,
then become defensive and hesitate to except each leader was instructed to re-
share their thoughts. Want to slow down spond to one group with high facilitative
rapid and long talking bores? Interpret a responses (feeling-focused, clarifying/sum-
few of their statements or behaviors and marizing, open questions) and to the oth-
watch what happens. er group with low facilitative responses
(closed questions, reassurance, interpreta-
tions, and advice).

Educational Media Corporation® 169

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Tape recordings validated the leader's The LEAP response might help answer
use of responses in each group. After the the question, "Why are we doing this?" or
two meetings, the students completed a "What am I supposed to get out of this ac-
relationship inventory. Results indicated tivity?" It might be viewed as the "bottom
students who experienced the high facili- line" or, perhaps, a practical conclusion
tative responses described their leaders that can be drawn from the counseling
as more empathic, caring, interested in process and what participants are observ-
student ideas, and respectful of students, ing and experiencing. While it could be
among other positive helping character- connected to some famous maxim, epi-
istics. The study was repeated three dif- gram, or saying such as "practice makes
ferent times with similar results (Myrick, perfect," it is usually more subtle and cli-
2003). ches are avoided.
Because many counselors want to For example, one counselor led an
push things along in their busy schedules, activity that featured seven students who
they have a tendency to use too many grasped hands and arms in a tight circle.
low facilitative responses. Impatience and Another student, who was on the out-
a press for time often cause counselors to side, was instructed to "see if you can get
rush in with low facilitative responses, inside the circle," while the seven others
with disappointing results. Low facilita- attempted to keep the person out. The
tive responses have their place in counsel- counselor occasionally commented on
ing and guidance activities. You are going what was taking place. Almost always,
to give advice occasionally. You will give outsiders attempted to force their way
reassuring statements and, occasionally, into the circle by pulling and pushing,
you may make interpretations. But, it is shoving and hitting, faking and darting,
timely advice, timely interpretations, and and jumping over or crawling under until
timely reassurance that is the critical dif- the circle was broken and entry is com-
ference. plete. Others became exhausted and gave
up. Once a student was in the center of
The LEAP the circle, the challenge then was to break
The LEAP is a counselor response that out.
attempts to provide personal meaning by The LEAP in this activity took place
relating the process and concepts experi- after a few students had taken turns try-
enced in a counseling session or activity ing to break in and out of the circle. "Let's
to events and experiences outside the stop," said the counselor, "and think
session. LEAP is an acronym that means: about what has happened." Sitting to-
Linking and Extending the Activity Pro- gether, the participants were asked to talk
cess. It can provide insight or an "ah ha" about their experience as the counselor
experience that appeals to one's intellect used high facilitative responses to help
and imagination. Further, it connects the them talk. "What happened when ... ?"
"here and now" experiences of the coun- "So, you were determined not to let him
seling process to "there and then" experi- in." "You felt challenged." "It seemed so
ences outside of the counseling session. silly to you at one point." "You felt it was
It links the present with both past and hopeless and decided to give up."

170 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 5 The Counselor as Facilitator

Making a LEAP, the counselor then said, Another counselor used an overhead
"Do you suppose this is what it is like for projector to show picture puzzles that
people to try to break out of a social group could be viewed from different perspec-
or perhaps their environment?" "Is it pos- tives. "Are you looking down a tunnel or
sible many of the feelings and behaviors at the top of a beach ball?" "Do you see
we saw today are the same or similar to two people or three vases?" After a few
ones that happen when a person wants to pictures and the observation that a design
change-maybe break away from an old or picture can produce more than one
neighborhood, gang, or group? Or when a perspective, the counselor made a LEAP.
person tries to break into a new environ- "Do you suppose when students get
ment or circle of friends?" into arguments that some people are
One student commented it was sad only looking at one possibility when
everybody in the group first tried force or actually there are more sides to the
trickery and none had calmly approached issue?" "Is it possible some people
members of the group and respectfully re- can only see one option and, no mat-
quested to get in or out. Another student ter how hard they try, they cannot
related it to times when minority and ma- see other things in the picture? "I'm
jority groups clashed, while another said wondering if some of the rumors that
the behaviors and feelings elicited from get started in our school are because
the group activity also might be applied of different perspectives and not just
to how some women feel when entering a people wanting to be mean?"
male dominated field of work. LEAPs often begin with such words
A LEAP does not have to be a final and phrases as:
statement or summary, so it can be used "Is this what a person might be experi-
at any timely moment. But, it is usually encing when .... "
made toward the end of a session, after
the activity has elicited behaviors and "Is this what people tend to do when ... "
feelings from the participants. It requires "How is what happened today similar
the counselor to be observant and aware to ... ?"
of how such feelings and behaviors are re- "Could it be what you saw happen today
lated to various life situations and events also takes place when ....

in life.
"Is it possible what (name) experienced
For instance, "Ann became discour- is what others experience and do when
aged and finally gave up. She sat down faced with the same kind of situation?
and said she couldn't do it. Is it possible
"I was wondering if what happened today
other people who are trying to break in or
is like .... "
break out of a situation also feel frustrated
and give up?" "Brian pushed the group as "This activity was designed to help us
hard as he could until a few members fell think about.. ..

over and then he dived into the middle. The LEAP response might be an open
It made some of you mad. Can you think question that leads to further discussion
of times when others have forced their or a closed one that is looking for consen-
way into a group by pushing and shov- sus. It could be a rhetorical question that
ing, perhaps bullying?" "Is it the nature of helps conclude the session. Or, it may be
people to first think of and use aggressive a final statement that ties the activity to
tactics?" the session's objective.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Facilitative Responses Feedback responses can be used with

individuals or the total group. To compli-
in Groups ment the group, an counselor might say,
The six high facilitative responses "I was pleased and encouraged to see we
are effective with students when you are could start our group on time today, espe-
meeting them individually. You are the cially knowing it's not easy for you to get
only listener and you are totally respon- here. It makes me want to make the most
sible for responding to the individual. of our time together today." An example
They also can be used with groups for an individual might be, "Jessie, I was
of students. In this case, you still can re- impressed with the way you told us about
spond to an individual in the context of your situation. You shared some personal
the group or you can respond to the total information and you weren't afraid to talk
group. about your feelings. I'm touched by your
trust in us."
For instance, you may notice a group
member is apparently fatigued and strug- When a counselor is the only one
gling to be attentive. You might make a who responds after each group member
feeling-focused response such as, "Jen- has shared something, the process tends
nifer, you're tired and it's not easy to be to look like individual counseling before
a part of the group right now." Or, if the an audience. It chokes off communication
group is experiencing fatigue, you might among group members, the very strength
say, "As I look around, I'm sensing there of the group. Group members need to talk
is a loss of energy in our group. It seems with one another, not just to the coun-
like we've hit a snag and it's dragging us selor.
down." Eliciting the high facilitative respons-
Likewise, it is possible to clarify a es from members of the group helps them
group member's point of view or some of to be more responsive to each other. It en-
the ideas that have been expressed by the hances the facilitative relationship in the
total group could be clarified or summa- group and builds greater cohesiveness.
rized. For example, "If I followed you, Ra- For instance, you might elicit a feel-
chel, you think the school policy should ing-focused response by saying something
be changed." Or, "Let's see now, in this like this, "Jessie's been telling us about
past half-hour, our group has suggested at some things that are important to her.
least four different ways of changing the Let me ask the rest of you in the group,
policy. First, you said .... " are you hearing pleasant or unpleasant
Questions can be directed to an in- feelings as she talks?" Then, using a "go
dividual or to the total group. Simple around" procedure, each member tells the
acknowledgments usually are made to feelings that were heard.
individuals, but could be directed to the The same might be done with a clari-
whole group. Linking events and feelings fying or summarizing response. "What
tends to be used in the "here and now" as basic ideas have we discussed so far in our
a group works together. group?" Or, "Who can summarize what
you heard Jessie say to this group?"

172 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 5 The Counselor as Facilitator

Likewise, questions can be elicited. The Facilitative Activities

"Who can ask Jessie a question that will
help us think more about what she's been The facilitative responses are power-
telling us?" "What's a question that needs ful tools and alone may be adequate to
to be asked at this point?" facilitate your students. In one group
counseling session, for instance, partici-
You also can elicit a linking response pants might be invited to share what is on
by asking the group to take note of simi- their minds, followed by an open discus-
larities among membei;s. For example, sion of matters. You hope there will be a
"Who in our group has some things in spontaneous flow of ideas and feelings, as
common when it comes to the type of you and your students move toward some
jobs they want to have someday?" Or, "It guidance and counseling objectives. The
seems some of you have had some similar movement and direction of the group, in
experiences or feelings when interview- this instance, might depend entirely on
ing for a job. Who remembers the feelings the dialogue that happens between you
some of our group members shared in and your students.
Nevertheless, facilitative activities also
Thus, you can respond to individuals can be used to build relationships and
within a group or to the group as a whole. expedite the facilitative processes. These
You can make the facilitative responses or activities are structured learning experi-
you can elicit them from group members. ences that may be used with individuals
Consequently, the original six facilitative or groups. Some activities, for example,
responses can be doubled when practiced are designed to elicit self-disclosure and
in groups, considering they are coming increase self-awareness. Others encourage
from the counselor and participants. self-assessment and feedback. Still others
Increase the frequency of the facilita- focus on decision making and problem
tive responses. They are not representative solving.
of a particular theory. They can be incor- The term activity is used to generally
porated into whatever theory you find describe a planned and structured experi-
useful or whatever role you want to play. ence. Each activity has a set of procedures
They are not a panacea by themselves. that outline the steps to be followed.
Taken out of context, they may even ap- Counselors pay particular attention to
pear contrived or phony to you. However, procedures since they structure the flow
in the context of guidance and counsel- of the session. In addition, participants
ing sessions and at the appropriate times, in an activity are given tasks that call for
they can make a difference. They provide their responses. Some counselors use these
a focus and help build close working re- terms interchangeably, but it can be useful
lationships. And, within those relation- if they are viewed more precisely.
ships, they also help create the facilitative Facilitative activities are structured
processes of self-disclosure, feedback, and learning experiences that tend to elicit
decision making. They help you accom- the facilitative processes of self-disclosure,
plish the goals of guidance and counsel- feedback, increased awareness and deci-
ing. sion making, and responsible action.
Some counselors and teachers think of
them as exercises. An activity also might
be viewed as a composite strategy with
procedures and tasks.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Facilitative procedures are the sequence Facilitative tasks are specific assign-
of steps to be followed. They describe a ments that direct a person to do some-
course of action or a way of doing some- thing. They may be given alone or as
thing. They are the general guidelines that part of some group procedures. One task
outline a manner of proceeding in a struc- might request a person to "Tell one thing
tured experience. you do well." Another might be "Tell
Facilitative tasks are more specific as- one thing about yourself you would like
signments. They request specific action to improve." These tasks focus on self-
from participants. They may call for cer- disclosure.
tain behaviors or responses and are usu- Group members also might be direct-
ally posed as a question or some type of ed to "Tell something positive you have
directive. noticed about someone in our group."
For example, during group counsel- Another task might be "Tell one thing you
ing, it is common to begin with introduc- have noticed about how we work togeth-
tions (an activity). You might first put er." Both tasks focus on feedback.
group members in pairs (procedure) where As you might imagine, tasks also can
they then interview each other (proce- be directed toward decision making or
dure) before introducing one another to problem solving. For example, "List ten
the rest of the group. things you want to accomplish this year
One direction that might be given to and then rank order the top three." Or,
each pair is: "During your interview, find "List three things you can do to resolve
out the name of a famous person your the problem. Then we'll discuss the conse-
partner admires and would like to visit" quences of each one."
(task). The task, in this case, focuses on a Many of the activities and tasks used
specific area for self-disclosure, making it in guidance and counseling grew out of
easier for group members to reveal some- human relations training and the group
thing of themselves. This introductory ac- movement of the 60s and 70s. Sensitivity
tivity, with its procedures and tasks, aids groups, encounter groups, growth groups,
the facilitative process. and other kinds of groups evolved around
In an individual counseling session, certain exercises or procedures. These
a counselor used an activity to help a interpersonal groups increased opportu-
student begin talking about future plans. nities for self-understanding and human
A piece of paper that contained some awareness.
unfinished sentences (e.g., What I want Some of these human relations groups
most is .... ; Happiness is .... ; When I am and their related procedures were integrat-
under pressure, I.. .. ; One thing I want out ed into academic and guidance programs.
of life is .... ) was given to the student, who A few teachers quickly adapted some for
quickly penciled in responses that came use in their classrooms. However, most
immediately to mind. Then, the student teachers and counselors found them to
and counselor talked about the list and be controversial or were unsure how to
some of the responses. In this case, the ac- "process" them. Some activities were more
tivity consisted of using some unfinished facilitative than others and some were en-
sentences. The procedures described the tirely inappropriate for the schools. But,
stages and steps within the activity (e.g., we have learned a lot since those soul-
Give the student a paper with unfinished searching days and now we borrow the
sentences and some directions; talk about best ideas to make our work easier.
the experience) and the task was to com-
plete the unfinished sentences themselves.

174 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 5 The Counselor as Facilitator

Activities and tasks can be organized Facilitative Counseling

in a sequence as part of a guidance or
counseling session or unit. Activities can and Teaching
be arranged so they are likely to lead stu- The Facilitative Model, then, consists
dents sequentially through the facilita- of building interpersonal relationships in
tive processes. Self-disclosure is usually which students experience the facilitative
the first step, followed by feedback. After conditions of trust, understanding, ac-
a few activities along tpese lines, it is as- ceptance, caring, respect, and friendliness.
sumed the counselees are more open to These conditions develop as you and stu-
exploring and making decisions with the dents self-disclose to each other, reducing
help of additional activities. some of the hidden areas that block com-
Activities and tasks can elicit behav- munication.
iors and responses from people. They can These conditions also are fostered
help focus a discussion, keeping individu- through the process of feedback, where
als on task. They expedite matters; how- an honest exchange of perceptions can
ever, they are not an end to themselves. help students know more about their im-
They do not do the work of the counselor. pact on others. Interestingly enough, as
You must be selective of activities and the these two facilitative processes hap-
make decisions about the best procedures pen, the helping relationship is further
to follow. After giving counselees a task, enhanced; students become more open to
you must still be the facilitator to move exploring ideas, feelings, and behaviors;
them toward their goals. The activities and responsible decision making and
you choose will fail or have only marginal problem solving can happen.
success without your selected use of high The model applies to working with
facilitative responses to "process" the ex- individuals, small groups, and large
periences that result from, and during, the groups. It is useful not only for problem-
activity. focused situations, but for developmental
and preventative ones as well. Moreover,
when used in the classroom, the model
can facilitate academic as well as guidance

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

176 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Individual Counseling
as a Couoselor Intervention

When most people think of coun- The early history of guidance in the
seling, they think of two people sitting schools suggests individual counseling
across from one another and talking consisted primarily of interviews about
about a personal matter. The counselor is occupational plans. Students explored
settled back, relaxed, and listening atten- their career interests and abilities and test
tively as the counselee describes a person- results were interpreted to them. They
al event. After a time, the counselor offers received occupational information and
interpretations, insights, advice, and suggestions about job placement. Voca-
encouragement as the counselee reflects tional counseling, the foundation of all
and considers their meaning. It is a scene school counseling, was generally an in-
of two individuals-one a professional- dividual counseling process. As the years
working together to discover causes and passed, a greater emphasis was placed on
solutions to problems. helping young people with their personal
Not surprisingly, it is the intensive na- and social problems, which still involved
ture of individual counseling that attracts individual meetings between a counselor
persons to counseling. It also is this same and a student. It often was called personal
scenario which appeals to many people counseling.
who want to enter the counseling profes- Very little research has examined the
sion. At the same time, there are people underlying assumptions teachers make
who find the idea of personal counsel- about the helping relationship and the
ing intimidating. This especially may be role of the counselor when a referral is
true of young people, who often envision made. One five-year study Gackson &
being "psychoanalyzed" or "treated like White, 2000) took place at an elemen-
"mental cases." tary school with 430 students and 45
staff members. The school was culturally
diverse with 38 percent African American,
33 percent Hispanic/Latino, 20 percent
European American, and 9 percent from
other cultural backgrounds. It was con-
sidered a low-socioeconomic school, as
defined by the number of students receiv-
ing free and reduced lunch (92%).

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

The researchers found the school Individual Counseling

counselor received an average of 200
formal requests for individual counsel- Defined
ing each year and saw these individual By definition, individual counseling
children an average of three times each. happens when a counselor meets pri-
Overall, kindergartners were referred most vately with a student for the purposes of
frequently for counseling (23%) while counseling. It is this dyadic interaction
fifth graders were referred least (11 %). between counselor and counselee many
Boys (55%) and girls (45%) were referred think is the essence of the counselor's job.
to the counselor at almost equal rates. Many young people are reluctant to
The percent of referrals for European talk about personal matters or concerns in
American children (44%) and African classroom discussions with teachers. Some
American children (41 %) were almost hesitate to talk in front of small groups.
equal. Only 9 percent of the counseling Therefore, individual counseling in the
referrals involved Hispanic students, al- schools, taking its lead from psycho-
though they comprised 21 percent of the therapy, was based on the assumption a
school population. In turn, the counselor counselee would prefer to talk alone with
referred 20 percent of all referred students a counselor.
to an out of school agency for special Furthermore, confidentiality was
help. always considered the cornerstone of
One of the most important findings counseling. Consequently, it was assumed
was teacher referrals were based on the students needed a private meeting with a
perception of the school counselor's role. counselor to confide their thoughts and
Almost all teachers making a referral to be assured their disclosures would be
viewed individual counseling as the most safeguarded.
likely counselor intervention. Individual counseling as an interven-
As students learn more about the role tion gained its popularity from theoretical
and function of their school counselors, and philosophical premises that empha-
they are more likely to refer themselves sized respect for individual worth, differ-
for counseling. Some students may feel ences, and rights. The counseling relation-
less pressure to resolve a problem alone ship is considered a personal one. It allows
and be willing to work with a counselor in for some distinct kinds of communication
a small or large group setting. The major- between counselor and counselee, protect-
ity of self-referrals, however, will initially ing the integrity and the welfare of the
seek a private conversation. They, too, counselee.
may think individual counseling is the
only counselor intervention available.

178 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 6 Individual Counseling as a Counselor Intervention

Many people picture counseling as Because individual counseling seems

an intense or intricate process, with each easier to understand and to manage, most
word, gesture, and silent moment being beginning counselors start with that kind
considered significant. It could happen of counselor intervention in their practi-
only between a skilled counselor and a cum experiences. Counselor education
willing counselee, together searching for programs have expanded their course
hidden meanings behind behaviors. Such offerings to include group counseling,
a personal examination would necessitate consultation, and other interventions.
permissiveness and freedom to explore However, individual counseling is still the
ideas in depth, under the watchful eye of a primary focus during counselor prepara-
counselor. For many years, it was assumed tion.
this experience could happen only in a For these and other reasons, individ-
two-person interaction. ual counseling is a popular counselor in-
Individual counseling continues to tervention in the schools. It is a valid job
be a primary counselor intervention in function and it will always be a unique
schools for many reasons. First, most and important part of the counselor's role.
school organizations are structured
around classes and classroom teachers.
Teachers are more inclined to release
one student at a time from their classes
because it is less disruptive of their class-
room routines. Individual counseling is
easier to schedule than other interven-
tions and may seem to be more practical.
Subsequently, it is the most frequently
used counselor intervention.
In addition, many school counsel-
ors acquired a preference for individual
counseling through their graduate stud-
ies in counselor education. Burnham and
Johnson (2000) suggested there might be
an over-reliance on individual counseling
because it is consistent with traditional
counselor education training. In addition,
it is a convenient and comfortable way
to work with students. Counseling theo-
ries and techniques, for example, most
often are illustrated through individual
case studies. Many of these have emerged
from the long history of psychotherapy,
where individual case studies have been

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Stages of Counseling Although counseling topics change

and can merge and the sequence of events
Most of us like some order in our are sometimes unpredictable, it is pos-
lives. Among other things, we organize sible to identify representative stages of
our days, our households, our personal counseling. These provide a convenient
belongings, and our work. Some of us checklist and occasionally suggest some
envy people who seem to be more system- directions in which you might work.
atic and efficient than we are.
Let us take a look at eight stages that
Unfortunately, counseling is not typically characterize the general nature of
always an orderly and logical process. We counseling.
would like, for instance, to have coun-
selees start their stories from the begin-
ning, touching on only the most relevant
Stage One:
details, as they proceed step by step to re- Beginning and Orientation
late significant events and circumstances The first stage of counseling is charac-
that have led to their concerns. Likewise, terized by getting acquainted, gathering
it would be convenient if they would some background information, forming
clearly articulate their dilemmas, alterna- a helping relationship, clarifying roles
tives, and consequences and then system- and expectations, making some initial
atically arrive at some insightful meanings assessments, and setting some goals.
or plans that would solve their problems. Counseling is initiated and the counselee
Counseling often does not seem to is given some orientation to the nature of
follow such an easy path. First, counselees the counseling process. While this stage
are frequently distressed and full of emo- might be completed in one session, it may
tion. They are confused or frustrated and take as many as two or three sessions,
cannot think clearly. Typically, they avoid even in short term counseling.
or resist examining critical issues and The first stage is when you and your
ideas, as their rambling dialogues become counselees discuss what you will do
part of their defensive postures to explore together and mutually agree upon some
ideas and consider change. roles and procedures. Even when these
Nevertheless, close observation of are stated in general terms, there is an at-
many counseling sessions has revealed tempt to identify some parameters for the
some common patterns. The easiest place sessions.
to begin is to think of the three basic parts No matter the setting or the occasion,
of a counseling interview: (1) initiation, the first meeting sets the tone for the rest
or statement of the problem or situation; of the counseling sessions. First impres-
(2) development or exploration; and (3) sions are formed immediately as counsel-
closing. These three parts indicate move- or and student meet. The student might
ment and direction in an interview. be thinking, "Can this person help me?
The actual amount of time given How much can I trust this person? What's
to any one part may vary extensively, going to happen? Should I really do this?"
and sometimes the parts are difficult to Meanwhile, the counselor might be think-
identity. In many respects, the totality of ing. "Will this person trust me? How can
counseling with all its sessions is parallel we best work together? How can I make
to an individual session. There is a begin- the best use of our time? How serious is
ning, a working, and an ending period. the problem? Where do we begin?"

180 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 6 Individual Counseling as a Counselor Intervention

This is the time to get acquainted. Such questions may make some
Both you and a counselee might exchange people feel on the spot, but they are rea-
some friendly greetings and words as you sonable inquiries and have the advantage
reach out and invite the student to talk. of letting counselees begin wherever they
Relationship building begins from the first are most comfortable. It is always better to
moment the two of you set your eyes on let people state their reasons for wanting
one another and continues to grow as you to see you, even when you might already
exchange ideas. The g~neral rule is to fol- have an idea.
low the lead of your counselees, helping When counseling is the result of a
them self-disclose as you "put chips in the self-referral, small talk or "ice breakers"
bank" by responding with high facilita- are usually not needed to get things go-
tive responses. Through your "chips" ing. The person has something in mind
(your responses), you build the helping and is anxious to get started. As long as
relationship and increase your credibility. you do not rush in with a lot of unnec-
Nonverbal communication during essary reassuring words, the person will
the early minutes of the first meeting usually begin to talk, even when unsure
plays a significant role and could be more of how counseling works.
important than anything that is said. For If a first meeting is not a self-referral,
instance, a counselee's eyes will examine but is counselor-initiated, it will be your
your demeanor, looking for personal clues responsibility to clarify the reasons you
that suggest how to act in your presence. called a student into your office. Even
They scan around the room, searching for then, in the beginning, you will want
things that will tell how comfortable and to ask open questions and avoid any
safe the environment might be. long speeches or lectures. Some coun-
It is common to see students spend selors make the mistake of quickly tell-
time looking around the room instead of ing students they are in trouble with a
speaking directly to a counselor. Stealing teacher and the possible consequences
close glimpses of the counselor is com- if the problem is not resolved. This only
mon among students who are generally makes students think defensively and
insecure around adults, especially author- tends to create a picture of the counselor
ity figures. The eyes soak up unspoken and teacher conspiring as a team against
information and influence the counseling them. The task is to get students to talk as
process. openly as possible about their situations
Some tension is usually present as and perspectives and to avoid speaking for
you and your counselees test one another teachers or others.
and move toward a working relationship. An English teacher referred Allen,
Therefore, like most counselors, you may a ninth grade student, for counseling.
want to begin your first meeting by asking His classroom behavior was described as
students, especially if it is counselee initi- uncooperative and inappropriate. Ap-
ated, "How can I help you?" or "What's parently, he paid little attention to class
on your mind?" or "What did you want lectures, made side remarks to classmates,
to see me about?" All these are straightfor- and became sullen when confronted. He
ward questions, although counselees may was considered disruptive and the teacher
not know what to say, where to begin, did not want him back in class.
or what particular reasons brought them
there. This type of question gives them an
opportunity to think about and tell what
has led them to see you.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

The counselor began by asking a series and how they experienced the counsel-
of open-ended questions, such as: "How's ing process. This again follows the lead
school going for you, Allen?" "How would of the student. It gives you information
you describe your English class?" "How that might be helpful and buys some time
do you get along with your teacher in that as you decide how you might best be of
class?" Each of these questions, of course, help.
was followed by clarifying and feeling- After hearing the initial thoughts and
focused responses. feelings of a counselee and any requests
Some counselors may prefer to begin and expectations, it is time to explain
by revealing the motivation for calling the and clarify counseling as you see it. What
student into the office, such as: "Allen, is counseling? What is your job or role?
I had an opportunity to talk with your What services do you provide? Who else
English teacher this week. She's concerned is available to support you in your work
and has asked me to talk with you. How's or also might be available for assistance, if
it going for you in that class?" This gives needed? How does the counseling pro-
the discussion a focus and, while it could cess work? What are your expectations,
elicit some initial defensiveness, it identi- ground rules, and limitations?
ties the reason for the meeting. It assumes The first meeting is a critical aspect
a candid and straightforward approach of counseling. Some call the first session
encourages counselees to be honest and an "intake interview," drawing upon the
open. work of mental health counselors and
Most counselees are unfamiliar with therapists. The term is not commonly
the counseling process. It is usually a used in school counseling, but some
new experience for people to talk with counselors use it to identify a starting
a trained professional who helps them place.
think about their ideas and feelings in Mental health centers and counseling
depth. Most counselees will not know agencies typically have intake specialists
what to expect from counseling or from who gather general information from
the counselor. They are unsure of what each new client before any therapeutic
roles each person plays. They enter the experience. Then, based on the intake
counselor's office with more hope than information, assignments are made to
knowledge of how to get the most out of counselors or therapists. High school
counseling. counselors in Lincoln, Nebraska, used this
It is risky to assume counselees know procedure as they attempted differenti-
who you are and what counseling is ated staffing. As a rule, school counselors
about, even if they have had experiences conduct their own intakes because they
with other counselors or therapists. It are assigned to a designated class or popu-
might be foolhardy to assume others work lation of students.
in the same manner as you or share the
same philosophy, theories, and skills. In
fact, they may have used approaches or
worked in a way that was contrary to the
approach you might use. If a counselee
has had some previous experience with
other counselors, then it may be appropri-
ate to ask how the counseling worked out

182 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 6 Individual Counseling as a Counselor Intervention

In addition, there is less need for tra- Some counselors prefer less formal
ditional intake procedures and informa- methods, following the lead of the
tion in schools because most background counselee and noting information as it
data are available in student records and emerges from a relatively unstructured
cumulative files. Drawing upon data that interview. Others prefer to expedite mat-
follows students through the school years ters and use more structured procedures,
can save you time and reduce the need to gathering particular information to use
ask general background.questions. How- in formulating a counseling plan or
ever, it is always valuable to hear how contract. One counselor said, "Without
students describe their situations instead some basic information, a counselor is
of depending totally on school records. not only delaying a counseling strategy,
Regardless of circumstances or set- but could go off on a tangent and waste
tings, the first meeting is the beginning of a lot of time." Others have countered by
counseling. When you meet a student for saying, "Yes, but there is no need to rush
the first time, first impressions come into and push things along. The basic referral
play. Opinions are formed, subtle deci- information is all that is needed at first.
sions are made, and personal perceptions The highest priority is to build a working
begin to influence the interaction. The relationship."
first meeting usually sets the direction of By the end of the beginning and ori-
the counseling for other sessions-for bet- entation stage, counselees should know
ter or for worse. more about you, your roles and func-
During your first counseling sessions tions, the general procedures to follow,
with students, you will form some pre- and the services you can give, including
liminary hypotheses as you look for clues your limitations and expectations. You
about the problem and the best direction should know what help you can and
to take. Beware letting the first meeting be might give in light of your current com-
reduced to merely a fact-finding question mitments and some idea of your next
and answer period. Otherwise, despite step. This might be to schedule more
the reason for being there, counselees individual sessions or to form a small
might conclude counseling is a process group. You might mutually agree to stop
of answering questions that will eventu- at this point. The orientation and intro-
ally lead to being told what to do to make duction stage needs special attention to
things better. Consequently, you may help you and your counselees make the
want to look for some effective ways to most of your time together.
collect information without falling into
a "just give me the facts" type interview.
Make sure a focus on information gather-
ing does not supersede the attention you
give to building the relationship.
Collecting some general and specific
information in the first meeting can clari-
fy the reason a person is seeking counsel-
ing and some of the resources available
to that person. Background and history
might be useful in diagnosis or in making
decisions on how to proceed. How and
when this information is collected can
vary from one counselor to another.

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Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Stage Two: Building the been conditioned about the nature of

Relationship and Assessment tests and how they are used. Few students
support them, even among those who
If you decide to work with the coun- always perform well. Tests are considered
selee beyond the orientation and intro- a "necessary evil" in school and there is
duction stage, then it is likely you will en- no reason to believe tests and inventories
gage in some assessment procedures and administered in the guidance office will
continue to build the helping relation- be perceived differently.
ship. Assessment of a counselee's situation
or problem is a continuous process, one Informal assessments are those that rely
done jointly. Sometimes you may want upon first hand observations, a simple
to administer a brief form or inventory to checklist, or counselor intuitiveness.
obtain baseline data as you start counsel- While formal assessments, such as stan-
ing to help assess progress. There are two dardized tests, provide specific kinds of
types of assessments: formal and informal. information and insight, counselors also
Both can provide valuable information can gain information through informal
and each, in its own way, affects the assessments, such as the use of drawings
counseling relationship and process. (e.g., Cobia & Brazelton, 1994) and early
recollections (e.g., Clark, 1994).
Formal assessments consist of standard-
ized measurements to which a student re- The biggest criticism of the less formal
sponds. Such instruments provide norms assessments is they lack reliability and
for comparison and can enable both the validity. However, experienced counselors
counselor and students to gain some idea develop an idiosyncratic set of norms that
of how they compare to others. They enables them to use informal assessment
might focus on intelligence, attitude, procedures with confidence. Some coun-
values, achievement, interests, concerns, selors have even developed their own
skills, or aptitudes. Standardized tests and school norms.
inventories are explained in greater detail There are seven primary areas of as-
in other books, but it is important here to sessment that can be addressed using both
recognize their role at this stage of coun- formal and informal methods.
seling. 1. Physical. The manner in which a
Formal assessment usually takes more student physically presents oneself
time than informal assessment. Data is can provide the first clues to a stu-
collected through recommended admin- dent's situation or problem. How is
istrative procedures. Students often feel as the person dressed? Groomed? What
if they are taking tests, although it may be about physical posture? What do
only an interest or career inventory. Tests the student's eyes tell you? Is this an
and inventories are usually paper and energetic or fatigued individual? What
pencil devices. This puts some distance, outward signs of stress are evident?
although temporary, between the coun- What evidence is there about overall
selor and student. Sometimes students health? Are there hearing or vision
assume, after completing the "exam," you problems? Do medical records suggest
now have all the information needed to any unusual health problems (dia-
help solve any problem. betes, etc.). Is the student taking any
Formal tests and inventories are medication?
impersonal and, during interpretation,
it takes a skilled counselor to reduce the
threat, suspicion, and personal distance
most instruments create. Students have

184 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 6 Individual Counseling as a Counselor Intervention

2. Social. How well does the student re- 5. History. What general and specific
late to you and to others in the office history is relevant to the situation or
or immediate area? Does speech flow problem? Have there been any par-
easily or hesitantly? Is the person's ticular events in the student's life that
demeanor generally positive or nega- may have contributed to any prob-
tive? What attitudes are expressed in lems of difficulties (e.g., traumatic
both verbal and nonverbal behaviors? events, frightening episodes, unstable
Does this person form social relation- family, migrant history)? What par-
ships easily or is it difficult? Does the ticular circumstances have and are
individual have any friends or fit into contributing to the person's present
groups around the school? state of mind and patterns of behav-
3. Cognitive. How well does the stu- ior?
dent conceptualize ideas? Do words 6. Future Perspective. Does the stu-
flow easily or falteringly? Is there a dent have any goals for the future? Is
logical flow to discussion or does the the future seen as positive or nega-
person jump from one topic to anoth- tive? Is the person hopeful, although
er? What about the tone of voice, the the situation is difficult? Can prob-
pitch and speed at which the person lems be seen as solvable and as part of
talks? Is the individual taking any life's process? Is the person fatalistic or
medication or drugs that might affect is there a sense of control over one's
thinking processes? How good is the destiny? Can goals and objectives be
person's testing of reality? Is there an described in realistic terms? Is there a
understanding of the consequences of sense of how past, present, and future
behaviors? What kinds of values tend are related and the future can be af-
to influence the person's thinking and fected by current behaviors? How will-
behavior? Is there any evidence of in- ing to take control and responsibility
appropriate affect or inability to think for the future is the student?
logically about matters? 7. The Presenting Problem. What is
4. Cultural. What cultural (religious, the situation or problem that has been
ethnic, family lifestyle or background, given as the reason for counseling?
environmental) factors have influ- The level of awareness will vary from
enced the person's thinking, feeling, one person to another, but does the
and behaving? Are there any special student have some idea of what has
pressures or difficult to control cir- led to the situation? Of all the prob-
cumstances for the student that make lems that might be presented, which
it difficult to make choices? Does the one has the clearest theme? Keep in
person feel stigmatized, isolated, per- mind the presenting problem is so
secuted, or rejected because of cultural named because it is the place where
factors? Can the person appreciate you are starting. It may not be the
cultural differences or is there a ten- most serious problem or even a prob-
dency to think in terms of disadvan- lem, but it is a place to begin.
tages or to devalue?

Educational Media Corporation® 185

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

Some assessment information might ideas and feelings can lead through some
be obtained by simply asking the coun- confusing mazes of thoughts and dead-
selee a list of questions. However, most ends in terms of personal insight. Yet, the
information can be obtained by being a process is, more often than not, consid-
careful listener as you help counselees talk ered productive.
about their situations. It is during this It is as though counselees are search-
time you also are building your work- ing for treasures. They may not find what
ing relationship. Following the lead of they are looking for, but the experience
the counselee and using high facilitative can provide valuable information about
responses are still appropriate counselor them and it can be an exciting adventure.
behaviors in this stage. This is especially true if they are making
the journey with a trusted friend who has
Stage Three: provided some timely reassurance, in-
Exploring and Discovery sights, and encouragement.
The third stage can be described as This stage can be characterized by the
a working stage. It is a time when the use of structured or relatively unstruc-
counselor and counselee explore events tured activities that are designed to en-
in an attempt to find some special mean- gage a student in the counseling process.
ings, discover some new ideas, gain Play media, perhaps drawing or painting
insight, and consider alternatives. It is materials, may help students open up and
a time to think and feel freely about can provide an avenue to help explore
a situation without restraints and it is barriers to school success.
frequently characterized by spontaneous
talk. Structured activities can help stimu- Stage Four:
late thinking and feeling. They also help Centering and Setting Goals
identify patterns of behavior, self-pictures,
influential values, and significant others. Eventually, the time will arrive to
Sometimes it is helpful to use stories and take what has been learned in the previ-
metaphors as tools to explore ideas. ous stages and put it to use. This usually
requires a focus be given to the discus-
In this stage, you provide the counsel- sions. This might come because of pat-
ee the luxury of weaving through images, terns which clarify a person's attitudes
collecting ideas, sharing fleeting thoughts, and behaviors. Or, it might come through
and momentarily gaining glimpses of general themes that keep recurring in
past, present, and future. You assist the discussion.
counselee to move from an external to
an internal frame of reference and un- As counselees get a focus on what
derstanding. It is a time for patient and they want to happen in their lives, some
attentive listening and gentle structuring. personal goals can be identified, clarified,
and made more meaningful. They are
This can be a difficult stage because described generally and in specific terms
you, the counselee, or both of you often to obtain an image or picture of desired
are eager to move ahead toward some outcomes. In this sense, the process of
solution and may grow impatient, espe- counseling is much like working with a
cially if the sessions tend to ramble. While camera. It takes some fine-tuning to get
stimulating, this process of exploring a clear image and the camera's eye takes
in only so much of the landscape. In

186 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 6 Individual Counseling as a Counselor Intervention

counseling, as in photography, there are Stage Six:

choices to make about which scenes to Collecting Data and the Interim
explore now and which ones to return to
later. In the counseling process, it is usu-
ally appropriate to identify a starting
point. This may be done in the first stage
Stage Five:
and first meeting. Or, it may come after
Planning and Taking Action specific goals have been identified (e.g.,
During this stage, a: counselee identi- more homework completed or improved
fies a specific goal and arrives at a plan attendance record) and some baseline
of action. This plan is primarily a "next data are collected and examined. Data col-
step." It may have several parts, but the lection can continue as the plan of action
most immediate course of action is identi- is implemented.
fied. It is the responsibility of the counselee
One of the intriguing traits of humans to begin the plan, to note any conse-
is our ability to have fantasies-to dream quences, and to make decisions. The time
about things we would like to see hap- when the counselee is implementing
pen. How often have you thought about some course of action is considered an
doing some things, but did not do them? interim period. Sometimes supportive ses-
We can think about what we would like sions are needed to help a counselee keep
to have happen, but sometimes we fail to focused or to practice skills; but, for the
take action and so nothing happens. The most part, this is a waiting period for the
lack of action reduces energy and commit- counselor.
ment and the goal slips away into fantasy
or is forgotten altogether. Stage Seven:
It is assumed a first and next step Follow-up and Evaluation
will trigger other related positive behav- The follow-up and evaluation stage is
iors if a next step is carefully planned. a time when the counselor and counselee
While other goals and more plans may look at what has been accomplished, as-
be sketched out in detail later, preparing sessing progress and the effectiveness of
for some immediate responsible action is the counselee's plan or behavior. Some
given high priority in school counseling. counselors choose to follow-up cases only
Discussion of consequences, alternatives, when the counselees need more help or
role-playing, and skill-development might things have not gone according to plan.
be included in this stage. Yet, it is just as valuable to hear a coun-
selee tell a success story as it is to focus on
parts of a plan that did not work or that
need improvement. Having a follow-up
listener is reinforcing to counselees and
gives them an opportunity to clarify what
happened, to identify the parts of their
plan that contributed to success, to think
of how the results might be generalized to
other aspects of life, and to start thinking
of new goals and objectives.

Educational Media Corporation® 187

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

"How did it go?" "What happened?" Although some interesting ideas or is-
"How did things work out?" "Tell me sues might be introduced during the final
how you started." "What did you like stage, it is usually best to avoid any new
best about what you did?" "If you were counseling material. If necessary, another
to change things, what would you do contract for counseling services can be
differently?" "How would you approach agreed upon, perhaps for another two or
it now?" "What did you learn or relearn three sessions. "If we had some more time
from your experience?" All these open- to spend together in counseling, how
ended questions are possible entry state- could we best use that time?"
ments for this stage as you follow the lead During closure, you will want to end
of the counselee. You also might listen on a positive note. Perhaps, you will want
for behaviors that can be reinforced and to summarize any progress the counselee
generalized. made, even celebrate the gains. Or, you
Based upon a joint evaluation with may want to ask the counselee to think
the counselee, it is possible to make such about what has been learned or relearned.
decisions as whether the plan of action Final impressions might be in order. Some
should continue as it is, be modified, or counselors end by using some of the time
be terminated and another plan devel- to compliment the counselee about some-
oped. An evaluation may suggest coun- thing, using the feedback model.
seling is ready to end. In that case, it is One counselor would always remind
during the last part of this stage you make her elementary school students that al-
plans to phase out the counseling process though the counseling sessions were end-
or to make a referral. ing, the connection was not. She would
be around the school and continue to see
Stage Eight: them, on occasion. She would make every
Closing and Separation effort to visit the counselees' classrooms
In this final stage, you help fashion an and give a friendly "hello," letting the
end to the counseling arrangements and young students know she was still around
bring closure to the counseling relation- and available, if needed.
ship. It is time to separate because coun- Without some limits, however, this
.seling is over. popular counselor found students did not
It can be helpful to have some con- want to end their counseling sessions. The
cepts and strategies for termination or counselor provided a warm, caring envi-
ending counseling with a counselee. If ronment that was difficult to terminate.
managed effectively, it can maximize Therefore, she took some precautions in
counseling outcomes and minimize nega- helping students find closure to counsel-
tive reactions. Parting can be a sad and ing.
difficult experience for both counselor Almost all counselors forewarn their
and counselee, especially when it occurs counselees about the number of counsel-
abruptly. ing sessions that remain. For example,
you might say to a student, "We have two
more meetings or sessions together. How
do you think we might spend that time?"
Or, "Next week is our last session, so what
can we do today to make the best use of
our time?"

188 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 6 Individual Counseling as a Counselor Intervention

Even in a one-time counseling ses- Factors to Consider

sion, closing remarks can make a lasting
There are a few factors to consider in a
impression. As time comes to a close, you
practical approach to individual counsel-
might ask, "Our time is about up; is there
anything else you'd like to say?" ing. Some beginning questions might be:
Who? When? Where? and How?
One favorite way of terminating coun-
seling is to ask counselees to summarize Who should receive
what counseling has meant to them from
their point of view. Or, you might take
individual counseling?
the lead and provide a summation of the Some situations are especially suited
sessions. Then, ask the counselee what for individual counseling. For example,
might be added. Any final statements are there will be students who lack self-con-
positive and you conclude by wishing the fidence and are hesitant to participate in
person well. other kinds of counselor interventions,
such as small group counseling. They can-
No two counseling cases are the same.
not imagine others understanding their
Every counseling session is different. Yet,
situations or even caring. Speaking in
these common stages seem to appear in
front of a group is unthinkable to them,
one way or another. They are intended as
a practical guide and should not be con- as they struggle to find the courage to talk
to one person.
sidered a concrete path to success.
There are other students who lack
social skills and are quickly rejected by
others. Their lack of personal sensitivity
sometimes leads to socially inappropriate
remarks or behaviors, which can make
it difficult to obtain group support. One
student, for example, had an offensive
body odor and dressed in odd-appearing
clothes that tempted other students to
joke about him. They made every effort
to avoid his presence. It was not practical,
in the beginning, to put him into small
group counseling, although he and other
students could learn from each other.
He needed individual attention to help
prepare him for group counseling, where
he could receive feedback and help from
his peers.
Some students have problems that are
intensely emotional and they need the
privacy of individual counseling to risk
talking about their situations. Some topics
are so confidential and sensitive that it
may be questionable to work on them in
a group.

Educational Media Corporation® 189

Developmental Guidance and Counseling

A young girl, in one case, worried some students. It is especially valuable for
about her older brother who was selling those who need more self-confidence or
illegal drugs to buy a motorcycle. She was social skills or those who need to experi-
unsure of what to do, particularly because ence being accepted by at least one person
he had been unresponsive to her pleas who will provide undivided attention.
to "stop pushing drugs" and her warn- Sometimes the urgency of a problem
ings he might be caught. She did not makes it necessary for you to meet alone
want others to know for fear they might with a student. This often occurs in a
turn him in to the police. She needed to crisis intervention. The problem needs
think through her concerns. She needed immediate attention and circumstances
individual counseling because her prob- suggest you talk privately. For instance, a
lem threatened the welfare of her brother report came to a guidance office that a girl
and she was uncertain how others might was staggering in the hallway and seemed
respond. disoriented. After reaching her classroom
Child abuse, teenage pregnancies, desk, she sat quietly and stared out the
family violence, and drug abuse are other window with a fixed gaze. Her school
examples of situations where individual counselor found her and they sat together
rather than group counseling may seem in the privacy of a nearby alcove where
appropriate. However, there are many they talked about the girl's behavior and
skilled counselors who can form support- what she was experiencing. As it turned
ive counseling groups in their schools out, the girl had taken an overdose of a
where almost any topic can be discussed prescribed medication.
by a group of counselees in a responsible This might be a good time to empha-
and confidential manner. Therefore, topic size one student should not necessarily be
sensitivity is a general guideline instead given preference over another, although
of a steadfast rule for determining who crisis-interventions sometimes call for an
should be seen in individual counseling. exception. Suppose a student is having a
Individual counseling also appeals to very difficult time at school and has sud-
some students because of their develop- denly reported to the guidance office for
mental needs. For example, some teenag- help. If possible, try to avoid canceling
ers may be afraid of being perceived as your other counseling commitments and
different or they may be afraid of what schedule the student to return as soon as
others might say. They do not want to be possible. This does not mean you do not
described as "weirdos" and think it would care about the student. It says your time
be impossible to be open and honest with with whomever you are seeing at that
their peers in a group meeting. moment is important and that, when you
You will find almost any topic can meet with students, you value your time
be discussed in individual counseling with them.
(e.g., study habits, test anxiety, family One counselor was scheduled to meet
problems, depression, how to get along with a group of students who were in
with a teacher, and fear of failure). While their fourth session together. Another of
the same topics also could be discussed his counselees showed up in the guid-
in group counseling sessions, individual ance office and said she needed to see the
counseling might be the first step for counselor immediately. Her problem had
become more difficult and needed atten-
tion and she was at a loss of what to do.

190 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 6 Individual Counseling as a Counselor Intervention

The counselor was concerned and decided Of course, exceptions are rooted in
to cancel the group meeting to respond professional judgment. One guideline for
to her situation. Eventually, the girl's interruptions might be the same that a
problem was resolved, but it came at the principal would apply to a teacher who is
expense of the group. Group members re- responsible for a class of students. Would
ceived the message the girl's problem was a teacher be interrupted and called out of
more important than their own. session? If so, what would happen to the
Could the counselor have met with class of students? Flexibility of counselor
the girl after the group finished meet- time is not meant to imply the counselor
ing? Was the girl's situation so urgent she is always available to respond to every
needed immediate attention? Was there crisis or adult whim.
no one else who could help the girl until The development of your schedule,
the counselor finished meeting with the with special attention to when you will be
group? Do students have to be in crisis be- meeting with students in your caseload,
fore they can gain and maintain a coun- will do a great deal to communicate your
selor's attention? role and image. Periods designated as flex-
Similarly, suppose you are counsel- ible time on your schedule will be used for
ing a student individually and the parent individual counseling when appropriate,
of another student unexpectedly arrives but unless you guard your blocks of times,
in the guidance office and asks to see her there will be no time for counseling.
child's counselor. Should you interrupt
or cancel the session with the student to Where does individual
immediately give attention to the parent? counseling happen?
If this is the case, then what is the mes- Like most school counselors, you
sage to the student? To the parent? Most probably will have a small office where
important, what is the message about you can hold individual counseling ses-
the work of the counselor? If it happens sions. Ideally, this room is in a guidance
regularly and as a matter or practice, then center and will be suited for private con-
the strongest message is whatever the versations.
counselor is doing is not too important to
interrupt. Be careful about the arrangement
of furniture in your room. The order
Therefore, interruptions and cancel- and appearance of a room can influence
lations should be the exception instead counseling interactions. For instance, one
of common practice. Principals, teachers, counselor was given a traditional, bulky,
parents, and students can be assisted to businesslike desk for her small office and
understand this policy, especially if your conversation could happen only across
work schedule is available to them and it the desk. This fostered an impersonal
identifies times when they can see you. relationship and tended to communicate
This also means someone in the guidance authority. The counselor had the desk re-
office, maybe another counselor or guid- moved and replaced it with a small table.
ance aide, must help protect your coun- She also removed the large filing cabinets
seling time by working with whoever has and brought in a small couch, an easy
walked into the office or by identifying chair, an end table, and an attractive table
the next time when you will be available. lamp. She wanted a more relaxed atmo-
sphere in which to counsel and was aware
of how distant and impersonal formal
office furniture can be.

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Individual counseling need not always Individual counseling is usually scheduled

take place in the counselor's office. Dyadic by caseload, as described in Chapter 4, but
interactions have the advantage of be- crisis interventions are unpredictable and
ing able to happen in many small spaces come at various times. Such interventions
throughout the school. For instance, one are obviously not scheduled or shown on
counselor knew a certain hyperactive boy your weekly calendar. Even though crisis
who often was disruptive in classes felt situations may happen often because of
caged in when he was in the counselor's circumstances in your school or the na-
small office. Therefore, the counselor ture of the student body, it is unlikely you
asked him to walk with him around the will be able to keep all students-in-crisis as
school. They walked and talked, occasion- a part of your caseload.
ally stopping to sit in secluded corners During the early days of school coun-
of the building. They sometimes walked seling, many counselors followed the lead
to the gymnasium where they sat on the of psychotherapists. The traditional fifty-
bleachers and talked. This occasional minute-hour, upon which therapists based
reprieve from the confines of the coun- their work, was considered reasonable.
selor's office seemed to make the meetings Now, such meetings are seen as unrealis-
more productive. tic and an exception. Instead, it seems 30
No doubt, you will have your own minutes is a feasible and practical time in
preferences for room arrangements and which to do individual counseling.
places to talk with a counselee. While Half-hour time blocks reduce the time
space and room arrangements are not students are out of class or other school
critical, they can contribute to your image activities. Nevertheless, a few teachers pre-
and working atmosphere (Pressly & Hee- fer a student remain with a counselor an
sacker, 2001). Trust your judgment and entire class period (e.g., 45 to 55 minutes)
do not be afraid to be creative, especially instead of entering late and disturbing the
when the occasion calls for some unusual class. You need to know each teacher's
approach to reach students. preference, although you may not always
be able to honor it.
When does individual Some counselors learned individual
counseling occur? counseling could be as few as 15 to 20
Individual counseling can occur at minutes and quick follow-up sessions
almost any time during the school day. might be only 5 or 10 minutes. One mid-
Counselors wanting to implement a dle school counselor who had met with
comprehensive developmental guidance a group of five boys regarding their study
program try to schedule their individual habits and classroom behavior decided
counseling sessions during times when it to follow-up group counseling with some
is not practical to meet with groups of stu- individual sessions. Each boy was assigned
dents. Because it is easier to gain access to a day to meet with the counselor at the
one student, group counseling times take beginning of the school day for about 5 to
precedence when developing a weekly 10 minutes. Discussions usually focused
schedule. on the boy's plans for that week and con-
As you look over your week, there will cluded with a quick progress check. It was
be times when individual counseling ap- a supportive effort and not intended as a
pears to be most practical because of the time to explore matters in depth.
school's daily schedule. Try to schedule
individual appointments for those times.

192 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 6 Individual Counseling as a Counselor Intervention

Again, the scheduling of classes or counseling in the schools takes the form
the bell schedule in your school will help of "brief counseling," in which goals and
determine the best times and how long to techniques are more focused and limited.
meet with students on an individual basis. It is a mistake to think a student who
You may find it practical to meet with has a serious problem can benefit only
some students longer than others. But, from long-term counseling or therapy.
try to avoid seeing students individually Unfortunately, old models of counseling
for sessions longer than 45 to 50 minutes. and therapy continue to dominate some
This has rarely proved any more produc- counselors' thinking. They have reported
tive and is usually reserved for special feeling guilty when they are unable to
kinds of crisis interventions. provide extensive counseling and believe
How often does individual counsel- their short-term work with students is not
ing happen? Practically speaking, it seems really counseling. Yet, short-term indi-
best to meet with individual counselees vidual counseling can be very effective for
who are a part of a targeted caseload at many school-related issues when provided
least twice a week. There will be more by counselors who understand the pro-
continuity in the sessions and the stu- cess.
dents often need more concentrated focus
and support than once a week. However, How is individual
many counselors find it workable to meet counseling done?
once a week.
There is a tendency for counselors
As recommended earlier, students who have been schooled in one approach
who are part of your individual counsel- or theory to be attentive to certain dy-
ing caseload (about 6 to 8 individuals) namics, symptoms, counselee behaviors,
might be met twice a week for one grad- and counselor techniques. But, there is
ing period. The grading period is a con- a need to re-conceptualize counseling
venient time around which to organize theories, especially their applications to
counseling interventions. Therefore, in a school settings. The effectiveness of any
six-week grading period, a counselor and counseling approach or technique always
a counselee might meet for a total of 10 to will rest more in the ingenuity, talent, and
12 times. As a rule, six individual counsel- capacity for caring of the counselor than
ing sessions are considered practical for the theory or techniques themselves.
most students, which means if a student
is seen twice a week for three weeks, it Part of being an effective school coun-
would be possible to see 12 to 16 students selor is knowing a school system and how
in individual counseling as part of your it works; understanding the expectations
caseload in one six-week grading period. of administrators, teachers, and parents;
and teaching students some simple skills
Obviously, this type of individual that can make life easier. It is helping
counseling precludes extensive in-depth make school more palatable to students
counseling and lends itself toward cogni- who do not want to be there and helping
tive and behavior counseling theories. them find ways to cope with day-to-day
This is usually a more direct and guided situations that makes the difference.
approach, with an emphasis on clarifica-
tion of ideas and feelings, goal setting, and
behavior management. Most individual

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Sometimes it is assisting students to There are no shortcuts to some prob-

cope with a particular concern or issue lems. There is not always a sure step or
outside school, something that distracts an easy road to follow. You might, for
them from their school work. But in most instance, work with a young person who
cases, it is coaching students through the has some serious family problems that are
system, helping them to adjust and to get frequently displaced on people at school.
the most out of school, that is, perhaps, You might feel powerless to do anything
the central mission of school counseling. about the family situation. Or, recogniz-
More brief-counseling or short-term ing the student needs more extensive help
counseling theories need to be devel- than you can give, you might feel guilty
oped and applied to school counseling. for not giving more of your time or not
Such theories and techniques are usually being able to make things better. These
more structured and the counselor plays unpleasant feelings can paralyze you to
an active part. Typically, one important the point you do nothing for fear things
problem is clarified at a time and relevant would only get worse.
behaviors are identified. Priorities are set. Without minimizing the severity of
It is a systematic approach, pecking away any problem, you can make a positive
at one symptom or problem behavior at a difference with even the most dysfunc-
time. tioning of students by focusing on those
Counselors who use solution-focused aspects or symptoms that are school-relat-
approaches in brief counseling often find ed and proceeding to work in those areas.
it more productive to emphasize successes You can, for instance, work on the child's
than failures. Instead of talking about personality and lifestyle as manifested in
problem behaviors, one might look for school.
appropriate behaviors, or exceptions, that Most troubled students, unless placed
are working (Sklare, 2005). The counselor in a residential treatment center, continue
uses purposeful questioning to learn what to go to school and participate in school
an individual is already doing well and events. They may be working with profes-
builds on those strengths. Such an ap- sional therapists, social workers, or medi-
proach also can be used with a group of cal personnel outside school. While the
students who work together to discover student is in school, it is the structure of
personal competencies, abilities, and com- the school that takes precedence over the
patible solutions (Lafountain, Garner, & structure of the family and other profes-
Eliason, 1996). sional facilities.
The most common steps of individual
counseling are: (1) Identify and assess the
problem; (2) Define goals and objectives;
(3) Develop a plan; (4) After the student
has implemented the plan, evaluate the
progress that has been made, and finally;
(5) Conclude the counseling relationship.
This general outline characterizes the ma-
jority of individual counseling cases and
the counseling stages discussed earlier fall
within its parameters.

194 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 6 Individual Counseling as a Counselor Intervention

Let us look at two examples of indi- The Systematic

vidual counseling approaches that might
be helpful to you in your work. The first Problem-solving Model
is an interview procedure that has been Everyone has problems. Some need
called the Systematic Problem-solving immediate action; others need careful
Model. It encourages the counselee to thought and time before they can be
do most of the talking and thinking. It is resolved. Regardless, school counselors are
especially helpful wheµ you are limited seen as experts in problem solving.
in time and do not have access to all the The art of problem solving need not
facts of a case. The second example is of be the exclusive domain of the counselor.
a behavior contract. Behaviors that are There are many resources within a school
contributing to a problem are identified. that can assist people. Students, them-
Then, using methodology founded on selves, can even be trained in problem-
principles of behavioral counseling, a solving skills as part of their academic
plan is articulated and implemented. Both training and then be assisted in applying
approaches are examples of short-term those skills in their personal lives. How-
counseling. They can be applied to many ever, by training and by job description, a
different situations and they are appro- school counselor is considered a primary
priate for use in elementary, middle, and resource to be drawn upon.
high school settings.
A review of professional literature
suggests problem solving and decision
making involve several steps.
First, the problem is identified.
What is the situation? What has hap-
pened to cause the problem? Who is in-
volved and what parts do they play in the
problem? (Littrell, & Peterson, 2001).
Identifying the problem can be a diffi-
cult task as the "presenting problem" may
not be the "real problem." The present-
ing problem may only be a symptom or a
manifestation of the source of the prob-
lem, but it is a place to begin. It is a safe
place in the minds of most counselees.
Later, other related problems or behaviors
may emerge during the process of coun-
seling and these might receive attention.
They might even take precedence over
other issues that were first introduced.

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Problem solving can be tedious work. other instance, a younger boy was having
It is not always easy to know where to be- trouble choosing between two groups of
gin once the problem has been identified. friends, each of whom liked to do differ-
Some problems are particularly stressful ent things. One group was very athletic
and frustrating. They can cause some and involved in sports while the other
anxious moments for both you and your group spent more time in the arts, such as
counselees. There is an uncertainty that dance and a creative crafts club. He liked
permeates most beginning counseling re- both groups, but realistically knew time
lationships when a problem is presented, was limited and he could not join in all
especially if there is no obvious solution. the activities. The values chart was a start-
A second common step is to de- ing place for both students.
fine the problem. As you explore the The final steps are selecting a
situation, you will want to break down course of action, developing a plan,
the problem into areas that can lead and then acting upon it. After ideas
to further understanding. Defining the and values are clarified and goals are iden-
problem in specific terms and behaviors is tified, courses of action are considered.
especially helpful. Obviously, this involves choices and with
For example, if a student complains a each choice there are some consequences.
teacher is bigoted and insensitive to eth- Suppose a student, perhaps a girl in
nic minority students, it is best to specify the eighth grade, has asked you for help
actions and behaviors that have led to because she was dismissed by a music
this conclusion. Or, if a student is worried teacher for being disruptive and inat-
about receiving a passing grade in a class, tentive in class. Her return to the class
the problem might be defined in terms is on the condition she meet with you
of teacher expectations and assignments, and work out her "problems." Otherwise,
study habits and behaviors, and current she will be dropped from the class. The
grade status. girl is defensive and immediately talks
Once a person has a clearer picture of about how unfair the teacher is with her,
the problem, it is possible to have a better emphasizing that others in the class take
understanding of what might be done. Al- more advantages and do not receive the
ternative courses of action can be consid- same reprimands.
ered. This may involve the exploration of What are your choices in this case?
values and some possible next steps. For Where do you start? How can you help?
instance, some counselors have assisted Perhaps, it would be helpful if the girl
students to build a "value hierarchy" first clarified her situation and identified
chart in an attempt to identify factors the specific problem that led to her being
that influence decision making. Ideas or excused from the class. It might then be
values might be listed and given a positive helpful to think about what she has done
or negative weighing of their significance. and could do to take some positive action.
They might then be ranked from most to As you help others solve problems,
least important and then related to pos- one practical framework from which you
sible courses of action. can work is the Systematic Problem-solv-
One high school girl was having a ing Model. It is an organized approach to
problem deciding whether to attend a thinking through a problem and finding
college in her local area or go to one out a possible next step. It places responsibil-
of state. She wanted to be close to her ity on the counselee or the person who
family, but she also wanted to meet new has the problem. It assumes a person
people and be more independent. In an- will benefit by being coached through a

196 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 6 Individual Counseling as a Counselor Intervention

thinking process, which makes it possible Because the model is flexible, it can
to put the problem into perspective and accommodate most counseling theories
to arrive at an action that can be taken in and techniques that are used in school
the near future. The experience with the settings. It gives direction. In that sense,
process also enables the counselee to learn it can be comforting to you as a counselor
how to approach other problems and ap- because you have some idea of how your
ply the same process. While it emphasizes time might be spent and where a counsel-
responsibility for solving the problem ee is headed. It can be used in situations
rests with the individual, it also gives you where you have only limited of knowl-
an opportunity to give timely suggestions edge because most of the work is being
or advice. done by counselees as they think about
There are four steps to the model. their problems.
These are couched as four open-ended Counselees will have the most per-
questions. They are arranged sequentially tinent details and information in their
according to a natural flow of thinking minds. They are the ones responsible
which tends to occur when people sys- for bringing information to a session,
tematically try to solve a problem. More exploring what has been done and what
specifically, they are: (1) What is the prob- alternatives remain, and identifying some
lem or situation? (2) What have you tried? actions that might be taken.
(3) What else could you do? (4) What is The four questions provide only the
your next step? parameters of a counseling session. The
You might think of the four key ques- questions lend themselves to several fol-
tions as "trigger questions." They trigger low-up responses. After you ask each ques-
the imagination of the counselee, guid- tion and a counselee responds, you will
ing the person into a particular area of have an opportunity to use high facilita-
thinking about the problem. In addition, tive responses.
the counselor is in charge of pulling the For instance, you might listen for
trigger on each question when it seems pleasant and unpleasant feelings and re-
appropriate to move onto the next area to spond with a feeling-focused response. Or,
be explored. you might demonstrate you are following
The decision to trigger a question is the counselee by clarifying or summariz-
governed by such things as the nature of ing ideas or events that were described. In
the problem, the emotional intensity with the same sense, you also might ask more
which a counselee describes a problem, questions, either closed or open-ended
the ability to identify the problem, the ones, which will help the person to dis-
degree to which relevant feelings and be- close more information. In addition, com-
haviors are explored in each of the ques- pliments and confrontations are possible
tion areas, and the time frame in which at each step. Similarly, the model might
the counselor and counselee are working. be used with a group of students. In this
The model has been used successfully case, you would be able to use and elicit
within a 15-minute counseling session all high facilitative responses, including
as well as a SO-minute session. It also has linking.
been used over more than one session by Let's take a closer look at each of
giving the questions attention in different the questions because they suggest four
counseling sessions. important steps in problem solving. The
Case of Kellen will help illustrate.

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The Case of Kellen Counselor:

You're concerned for your friend and uncer-
"What is the tain what you should do.
problem or situation?" Kellen:
That's it. He really needs help and if she gets
When you start by asking this simple pregnant, then it's good-bye college, good-
open-ended question, you encourage bye future.
counselees to begin by telling you what
they are thinking and feeling. It is espe- Counselor:
cially important to be alert to opportu- You don't see a future for your friend unless
nities to show your understanding and he goes to college.
respect by responding with some high Kellen:
facilitative responses. You are not only Well, I guess he'd have a future all right, but
helping them to identify the problem, but it sure isn't the one he's been talking with
you are fostering the facilitative condi- me about all this time. I really don't think he
tions of the counseling relationship. wants to get married right after graduation,
You are letting the counselees know you but she does. I know he doesn't because he
care, you are interested in what they are tells me he still wants to go to college with
experiencing and you want to help them me, together like we always planned. What
explore the matter further. would you do in a situation like that?
Counselor: Counselor:
What's your situation, Kellen? I'm sensing you're frustrated, wanting to
Kellen: help your friend go on to college but see-
I'm having a lot of trouble with a friend of ing him involved in something that could
mine. He's doing some pretty stupid stuff change his plans ... and yours.
and he's going to be in some deep trouble Kellen:
if he doesn't shape up real soon .... It's just Yeah, it bugs me. It really does. She just
plain stupid. wants to keep him at home. She doesn't
Counselor: care if she gets pregnant and he's not ready
You're worried about your friend. to be a father. He's younger than me and I
know I'm not. I don't understand how he
could be so caught up with her.
Yeah. It's Andrew; you know him. You see,
he's dating this girl and they are getting Counselor:
pretty close, if you know what I mean. He's You just can't imagine yourself in his posi-
a senior, right? He wants to go to college tion ... and the situation irritates you.
and he's got good grades. No problem Kellen:
there. But his girlfriend is talking about get- Yeah, it sure does. Andrew, he's my friend,
ting married, saying he doesn't need to go keeps asking me what I'd do and what he
to college. She's saying he can work for her should do. He's a mess. I just don't know
dad, who has a business in town. Marriage how to help him.
is all she can think about. And, she's afraid if Counselor:
he goes to college, she'll lose him to some You really want to help your friend, Andrew.
other girl. I honestly think he wants to go
to college and we were planning on going Kellen:
together, but he's so involved with Michelle, Uh, uh: I really do.
his girlfriend, he doesn't know how to deal
with it. I know, because he's talked with me,
lots of times.

198 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 6 Individual Counseling as a Counselor Intervention

"What have you tried?" Kellen:

After a counselee has described a prob- Nope. He listens to me ... you know, just like
lem or situation and defined it enough he's hearing me, but then nothing.
to have some type of focus, this second Counselor:
open-ended question inquires about any For instance, what things do you suggest?
action that has been taken. There is no Kellen:
use to make a suggestion or give some Well, for one thing, I told him he'd better
advice if it is something that has already not depend upon her for birth control. She
been attempted. Or, if your idea has wants to get married and getting pregnant
already been tried, you would at least like is a sure way of that.
to know how it is different from what the
counselee did or how the same idea might
So, you've cautioned him about taking re-
be modified to make it a possible alterna-
sponsibility for birth control. What else have
you done?
For example, you can follow-up the
key question with another open-ended
I've told him I think he should break it off
question such as "And, how did that
with Michelle, right now, before it's too late.
work out?" or "Okay, and how did you go
But, he tells me he really loves her.
about doing that?" These kinds of ques-
tions provide the counselor an opportu- Counselor:
nity to discover if what was tried seemed You've advised him to break up with Mi-
reasonable and might be workable with chelle, but that's unacceptable to him.
some changes. He really cares a lot for her. Anything else
you've done in trying to help him?
Surprisingly, this second key question
in the problem-solving model often catch- Kellen:
es people off-guard, especially students I told him to think about his future and to
who expect somebody else to solve their think about what college can do for him.
problems. Asking a young man about But he's starting to think maybe he can do
what he has done to resolve a conflict he without college and that worries me. If he
is having with a teacher can be thought- gives up the idea of college, then it's all
provoking and help him see he has some over.
responsibility in the situation. Too many Counselor:
students prefer to complain instead of You've encouraged him to look to the
take some positive action to make matters future, especially college and what it could
better. mean for him. But it's been discouraging to
Counselor: you when he says he's also thinking he may
Well, Kellen, what have you tried in helping not need to go to college.
Andrew? Kellen:
Kellen: Yeah. He says there is a future in her father's
I don't know. Lots of things. We talk about business. But, ...
it all the time. It always comes up whenever Counselor:
we're alone, like when he spends the night Anything else you've tried?
at my house. But, he never listens to me. Kellen:
Counselor: That's about it. Maybe there is something
So, you've talked with him about it and on else but I don't know what it is. Do you have
several occasions. But those talks haven't any ideas?
been very satisfactory to you.

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Counselor: ties can just as easily receive no response

Well, let's see, you've .... (Counselor sum- or perhaps a simple acknowledgement,
marizes Kellen's attempts at helping Andrew "Okay, and what else could you do?"
before asking the next key question.) After a counselee has offered as many
ideas as possible, you might suggest other
"What else could you do?" alternatives, if you think of any. These are
This third key question encourages usually not offered as advice; they are sim-
people to think more about their situa- ply other possibilities for consideration.
tions in terms of some other courses of They might even be a result of brainstorm-
action-some new possibilities. It focuses ing, without weighing their value.
attention on other alternatives or even Counselor:
previously tried actions that might be at- Anything else you could do, Kellen?
tempted again.
As counselees think about their situ- I suppose I could get him to talk with
ations, some ideas might come to mind someone besides me ... maybe you ... or
they have not thought of before, especial- some other counselor. And, then, maybe it
ly as you guide them through a systematic would help if we took off and went to see
process of talking about the problem. The the college campus, so he could see what he
process helps organize their thinking and would be missing. That's a real possibility.
places events in perspective.
Notice again, this question also places Anything else you could do?
responsibility on the counselees, encour-
aging them to search their minds for more
I'm not sure. Maybe ... I could talk with Mi-
ideas. As they explore ideas with you
chelle but... nah, that's not too good of an
and you continue to use high facilitative
idea because she thinks I'm trying to break
responses, they gain additional insight.
them up anyway... and I guess I am. I'd
They feel supported. Moreover, the pro-
probably make things worse.
cess also is setting the stage for timely
advice or suggestions. Counselor:
So, you could talk with Michelle but that
As each possible action is considered,
doesn't appeal to you right now. You don't
you might ask related open-ended ques-
think you could be very objective. All right,
tions such as, "And, how do you think that
what else could you do?
might work?" or "What might result from
your doing that?" This kind of follow-up Kellen:
question is aimed at helping the person to Well, let's see. It is hard to see her point and
think of what it takes to complete such ac- to keep from thinking he's so foolish. But,
tion and what the consequences might be. that's just the way it is.
Consideration of the consequences Counselor:
for every possible action can be a wearing You sound so convinced Andrew is making a
procedure on both counselee and counsel- serious mistake with Michelle and that con-
or. It is laborious and fatiguing to review tinues to annoy you. Although it's Andrew
each alternative and the consequences. who has to make the decision about his life,
You may decide not to comment on some you still want to do something.
alternatives, assuming as you work on Kellen:
others a counselee will learn the process Yeah, it's really Andrew's problem ... but...
of thinking about actions. Some seem- but ... well, let's see .... Maybe they could go
ingly illogical or inappropriate possibili- together to talk with someone ... you know,

200 Robert D. Myrick, Ph.D.

Chapter 6 Individual Counseling as a Counselor Intervention

to make some decisions about their future. Most counselors want to do some-
I know neither of their parents want to see thing that will start counselees moving
them get married now. in a desired direction. It is possible a next
Counselor: step is to wait a period of time before do-
So then, another possibility is to talk with ing anything. After that, another decision
them about seeing a counselor or someone can be made about what to do next. A
to help them explore their situation and decision to wait, however, is preferably
what they want to happen in the next year part of a planned course of action.
or so. How would you go about doing that? Counselor:
Kellen and the counselor continued What then, Kellen, is your next step?
to think about things Kellen could do to Kellen:
help his friend. Although not reported I suppose the next thing that needs to be
here, the counselor also asked what might done is talk with Andrew and Michelle ... to
happen if Kellen acted on some of his get them to talk with someone else who
ideas. could talk some sense into them.
There are many things that can be Counselor:
done with a list of alternatives, besides You want them to talk about their situation
look at the consequences. They might be with someone who can help them think
reviewed in terms of one's values, skills, things through. How would you go about
energy, commitment, or time. They might that?
be rank-ordered in terms of feasibility. Kellen:
Role-playing might be tried with some, as I don't know, just tell them what I think
a counselee attempts to see how an idea I guess. It won't be easy, knowing how
might be implemented. Some alternatives Michelle thinks but I guess I'd say, "Hey,
might be examined in terms of their com- you guys got a problem and you should talk
ponents, segments, steps, or procedures. with .... "
"What is your next step?" All right, so although it's going to be dif-
Finally, after some thinking about ficult and you're a little skeptical about how
different courses of action that might be it might turn out, you want to encourage
taken and possibly their consequences, them to see someone, perhaps me. Well,
it is time to help the person take some let's see, Kellen, what would happen if you
action. It is not enough to simply think told them first of your feelings and then sug-
about a problem, to analyze it, and obtain gested they talk with me.
some insights. In fact, many people are
willing to talk about a problem, and in
What do you mean?
the process lessen their concern and anxi-
ety. Some hope it will go away by itself. Counselor:
Others leave a counselor's office and may Perhaps you might say something like, "I
still be undecided as to what they want to know you two care a lot for each other. But,
have happen, where to begin, or what to I care about you, too. I've been thinking you