Can A School Psychologist Help Me?
Updated January 03, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Dawn Brown
The name is quite self-explanatory. It's a psychologist who works in a school or a university. They provide guidance and help for students who have problems. Not just problems in school performance, but socialization, emotional, and personal issues too. They work with teachers, students, and parents to make the child as happy and healthy as possible.
You'd be quite surprised at how new the concept of a school psychologist is. NASP, the National Association of School Psychology, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018. Despite its new presence, it's growing as more students need someone who can help them.
There are ten services that school psychologists provide. We shall discuss them below.
Data-Based Decision Making
This involves collecting data from different sources to make a decision when it comes to programming, students, and other plans. This can involve studies, surveys, observance, and any other way used to collect information. This is a serious profession, as it can affect the school. Also, data is always changing, so when a decision is made, it's common for that decision to be revisited should new data contradict it.
Consultation And Collaboration
A psychologist is going to talk to many students. Some of those students may need to be talked to one time. This is a consultation. Some of the more troubled students may need repeated sessions. This is a collaboration. Sometimes, a student may come in for what they think is a one-time consultation, and it turns into collaboration.
Interventions And Instructional Support For Academic Skills
Sometimes, a student is not doing well when it comes to their grades. The student may be bright, but maybe going through a rough patch, or doesn't understand the work provided. A psychologist can figure out why the student is suffering and help them improve their grades. They then can monitor their progress, and once they have improved, it's a success.
Interventions Of Social And Life Skills
A student may not be social. Perhaps they are a new student, or they are going through something else. Sometimes, they need to learn some valuable life skills. A counselor can help the student learn how to socialize and improve their overall quality of life.
Examples of life skills:
- Being empathetic towards others
- Teaching how to express one's feelings
- Teaching the student how to have a higher self-esteem
- When to know someone is bullying you
- How to cope with a tragedy
- How to get along with others
- How to handle peer pressure
- Sexuality and how to deal with it
- Staying healthy
- How to be safe on the Internet
School-Wide Learning Practices
Sometimes, a psychologist may work with the entire school to make the learning environment as effective as possible. They may try to change the techniques used by certain teachers to make them more effective, add some new programs in the school, and do whatever else it takes to create the best learning environment.
Preventive And Response Services
The last thing a school wants is a tragedy. Be it an assault, a fight, a shooting, or anything else that can result in others being hurt. A psychologist can try to prevent situations like this from happening by spreading awareness and helping troubled students. When a tragedy strikes, a school psychologist needs to be there to provide support and counseling towards all those who were affected.
Family-School Collaboration Services
School psychologists will work with the relationship between the family and school to achieve the most success possible. There may be unresolved issues as a home that may contribute to the student's performance, and the school can recommend the family make changes to improve the student's grades. Sometimes, both parties will work together. Other times, the psychologist can be the mediator between school and family when opinions clash.
Diversity In Development And Learning
One of the flaws of many public schools is it is one size fits all approach to learning. Some schools act like one style of learning will benefit the entire school, when in reality, students learn in different ways. This can depend on how their brain is wired, what their background is, and many other factors. A psychologist studies the many ways people learn and gives suggestions based on that.
Research And Program Evaluation
When a new learning program is introduced, it must be studied and researched. If a program turns out to show no improvement in the students' performance, it must be tweaked or scrapped altogether. If there is an improvement, then the program should carry on and perhaps be tweaked so that the progress can be even more. A psychologist researches all these programs and then sees whether or not they work, or if they need improvement.
Legal, Ethical And Professional Practice
A psychologist will give out advice on what is legal and ethical in a school, and help to keep each practice as professional as possible. If there is an ethical problem in the school, the psychologist will work to respond and collaborate with others to fix it.
How School Psychologists Help A Student Over the Years
As a student grows, a school psychologist needs to grow with the student. Here are some examples of how a psychologist's services grow.
A child has a unique mind, and a psychologist who works at an elementary school needs to learn how to communicate with a child. At this age, the importance of teaching right from wrong is emphasized, and this is where a psychologist observes a child's mental health and their learning abilities. How a child is treated during this stage is strongly important to development, and a psychologist needs to realize this and make sure the child is developing well.
Middle school is when the child is beginning to grow into adolescence. Many changes are going through the child's body, and personalities can change too. A psychologist at this stage needs to monitor the student's growth and teach them about the changes in their body. This is also a stage where learning needs may change.
Changes continue to happen in the adolescent's body. High school is the period where the student becomes more sexually active and will get into a relationship. There's a chance the student may become more delinquent or rebel. A counselor needs to monitor any changes in the student and then act accordingly should they occur.
High school is also the time when the student starts thinking about their career. A psychologist can offer career advice and make a realistic plan for the student to achieve their goals. Also, if the students want to go to a university, a plan shall be made there too.
The student is now a young adult, and the psychologist is still there to offer advice. Some students reconsider their major or still haven't decided yet. A counselor can help them decide on a career. A psychologist at a university can help the student deal with any stress that comes with college, and help them create a plan to find a career, pay off their debts, and succeed in the world.
Most private schools offer some form of counseling as well. If the private school is religion-based, they may hire counselors who have studied the faith. For example, a Christian school may hire a Christian counselor to help. A Christian counselor can teach the student from a Biblical perspective about how the world works and what they can do to strengthen their faith in God. Most of the time, their services are similar and help the child prepare for the real world.
Requirements To Be A Psychologist In School
Like a normal psychologist, a school psychologist requires quite a few certifications. In most cases, a school psychologist will need a master's and will require licensing. It's a tough process, but many school psychologists are glad to do it. Not just for the money, but because it's a rewarding career. School psychologists like to make relationships with the students and watch them grow. School, especially early schooling, can shape how the child grows in the future, and a psychologist needs to put them on the right track if the student is to succeed and lead a healthy and productive life.
If you need help from a psychologist, and you're not in school, it's never too late to change your life. You can find a therapist who is right for you and make the changes you deserve. From treating your mental illnesses to improving your overall well-being, a psychologist can change your life in many ways.
Even if you don't have any mental problems, therapy can help strengthen your relationships and accomplish your goals. You'll be surprised at what they can do for you.