Basic Counseling Skills For Teachers - SUNY Geneseo

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Counseling Skills for Faculty,Staff, and AdministratorsDouglas Guiffrida, Ph.D.Marguerite McCarty, MSUniversity of uiffrida/publications.html

Shouldn’t we leave this to thecounselors? Faculty, staff, and administrators are often first to notice or beapproached by students with problems. Most have no training and feel unprepared to handle these issues,which can lead to avoiding them altogether or getting in over one’shead. Purposes: (1) to introduce the basic counseling ideas and skills forresponding to students’ psychological, emotional, and developmentalissues, and (2) to learn to identify students in need of additionalacademic or personal counseling. Obviously we will not create counselors in 90 minutes- but you will bebetter equipped to handle a number of student issues. Effective use of these skills can facilitate better relationships withstudents, colleagues, and even family members.

A few mistaken assumptions Counselors listen to peoples problems andthen give them sound advice. The more questions we ask, the moreinformation we will obtain. Agreement and sympathy are the same asempathy. Positive thinking is the same as rationalthinking- “you need to believe in yourself”

Counseling Helping people solve their own problemsthrough providing encouragement, support,and challenge. Phenomenological- rather than assuming weknow clients’ feeling and thoughts, westrive to understand their subjective world.

Counseling/listening Strategies Listen patiently and empatheticallySpeak briefly- succinct summaries, minimal encouragers, use of silenceBriefly paraphrase and clarifyReflect student feelings and meaningAsk open-ended questionsWhen in doubt, focus on feelingsBe concrete- by asking for examples in vivid detail and rich description offeelings and thoughtsUtilize student metaphorsGently challenge- support but also point out verbal/nonverbal discrepanciesand pay attention to student language- always, musts, shouldsUse self-disclosure appropriatelyWhen in doubt, refer.

Counselor Know thyself Why are you choosing to help this person?With what issues are you uncomfortable?With what emotions are you uncomfortable?How will you handle students feelings toward you(transference). How will you handle your feelings toward them(countertransference). Can you be accepting, flexible, gentle? What amount of progress is acceptable to you?

Role Play

When to Refer for Counseling “Red Flags” – Instructor/Student Relationship Dynamics– Neediness and Dependency– Lack of Boundaries– Excessive disclosure and/or problem-solving aboutpersonal issues and crises– Unreasonable requests Excessive number of meetings Difficulty ending meetings Students showing up often

When to Refer cont. “Red Flags” – Possible icidal thoughts and hopelessnessHomicidal thoughtsExtreme mood shifts, irrational behavior or lack of judgmentSelf-harm – cuttingOdd behavior and speech patternsPoor personal hygieneExtreme changes in sleeping, appetite and weightDecreased concentration, motivation and interestExcessive substance use, internet use, or gamblingFamily issuesSocial isolationLossRelationship issuesConsistent poor academic functioning

How to Set Boundaries Clarify role asinstructor Be mindful of “redflags” Learn how to respondto student’s needinessand unreasonablerequests Be aware of personalreactions and feelingburdened oroverwhelmed Consult as needed withcolleagues and CC staff

How to Refer to Counseling Sensitivity of languageLeave assessment to cliniciansRegular AppointmentEmergency AppointmentConsultation with CC staff

References Guiffrida, D.A., & Marquis, A. (2006). Takingtime to listen. School Business Affairs, 72 (5), 3536. Kottler & Kottler. (2006). Counseling skills forteachers, 2nd edition. Corwin Press. Meier, S.T., & Davis, S.R. (2001). The elementsof counseling. Toronto, Ontario: Wadsworth. Roger, C.R. (1961). On Becoming a Person. NY:Houghton Mifflin Press

Purposes: (1) to introduce the basic counseling ideas and skills for responding to students’ psychological, emotional, and developmental issues, and (2) to learn to identify students in need of additional academic or personal counseling. Obviously we will not create counselors in 90 minutes- but you will be better equipped to handle a number of student issues. Effective use of th

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