Help! My Child’s School Counselor Referred Us to a Therapist

School counselors are an invaluable resource to parents, students, and teachers. Counselors provide guidance to help students navigate the often turbulent waters of social and behavioral skill development, as well as stepping in when learning disorders are suspected to assist with assessment and guidance to achieve academic success. Arguably, school counselors play one of the most crucial roles in the overall success of a student.

Yet, when students are referred to see a school counselor, questions and concerns become elevated- and no more so than when a school counselor makes a referral to a counselor outside of the school for followup. Rather than viewing this as a concern, parents and students should view this as an opportunity to increase the individual attention the child needs and deserves. By receiving counseling outside of the school setting, the child is less likely to feel “put on the spot” or confrontational, will be less concerned with how they’re perceived by their peers or if information they divulge will be used against them, and more prone to long-term success in even the most complicated cases.

When parents and students have questions as to why a referral is made to an outside counselor, it’s helpful to remind them of some of the key points below.

Why do school counselors refer to outside counseling groups and psychologists?:

  • To provide the student with the opportunity for more one on one help, support, and intervention. By receiving the full attention and support of a dedicated counselor, the child is more likely to be receptive to change and feel that they’re valued and supported.
  • Increase the specificity of interventions and support and tailor them to the student. Because outside counselors are able to work one-on-one with a child, they can get to know the specifics of issues and customize their approach to achieving results.
  • Increases privacy for the student; at Great Lakes Psychology Group, the levels we have gone to ensure privacy and discretion are second to none.
  • Removes the student from the situation or circumstance to discuss solutions to it. This is especially helpful in cases where children are being bullied or under peer pressure.
  • Reduces anxiety and pressure on the student; when being sent to a school counselor it’s often viewed as confrontational or “getting in trouble”.
  • To increase the involvement of parents and family in our therapeutic effort
  • It makes the student feel secure by providing a discreet routine and outlet to discuss their issues.

When do counselors choose to make a referral to an outside counseling group/psychologist?:

  • When students are over-emotional and cannot calm down in an appropriate and brief amount of time
  • When more extensive evaluation, testing, and medication is needed
  • When a student’s needs are greater than those the counselor can provide in the school setting
  • When a student requires more support and attention to address or solve a problem, issues, etc
  • When students need more specific and individualized help, solutions, and plans to address issues
  • When a student needs more privacy than a counselor can provide in the school

How do school counselor referrals work?:

  • A school counselor will review the needs of the student and the issues identified and determine if outside help is needed.
  • A school counselor will provide the name of the counseling group best able to help the student.
  • Once meetings have been set up with the outside counseling group, all pertinent information will be communicated privately back to the school, requiring no additional effort on the part of the parent.

Great Lakes Psychology Group takes great pride in being the preferred choice of school counselors in the local communities in which it serves. With multiple offices, a large staff of caring therapists, same-day scheduling, and evening/weekend availability, GLPG can accommodate virtually any schedule. Parents and school counselors alike can schedule an appointment here.

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