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School Counselor Referrals - Family Counseling
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School Counselor Referrals - Family Counseling

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  • 1. SCHOOL COUNSELOR REFERRALS TO FAMILY COUNSELING:Examining the Factors Leading to Success Victoria Foster, Ph. D., LPC, LMFT Director – New Horizons Family Counseling Center Carrie Lynn Bailey, M.Ed., NCC – Doctoral Candidate Emilie Godwin, M.A. – Doctoral Candidate Virginia Counselors Association Annual Convention - Fall 2008
  • 2. New Horizons Family Counseling Center
  • 3. Family/School Collaboration Schools are facing unprecedented levels of unmet mental health needs Children who face emotional or behavioral challenges are less likely to learn while at school Problems such as anxiety, depression, aggression, and disruptive mood disorders affect up to 20% of children in schools (Powers, 2004)
  • 4. Family/School Collaboration These issues disproportionately impact poor and minority children – groups who historically have shown lower school achievement & who are now targeted by NCLB (2002) Well below 50% of children with mental health disorders actually receive any kind of treatment (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999) NCLB (2002) recognizes the importance of children’s mental health as a prerequisite to learning by emphasizing  Safe school environments  Family involvement in promoting student success
  • 5. Family/School Collaboration Family is the central factor in reducing antisocial behaviors and delinquency Training in parenting skills helpful in establishing crucial parental guidance Schools are a perfect arena in which to reach at-risk children and their families This need is especially relevant among economically disadvantaged and vulnerable sections of our community Family involvement in education significantly impacts children’s academic and social outcomes
  • 6. Family/School Collaboration Research indicates that improved family-school collaboration provides a long list of benefits for children, their families, teachers, and schools Families who are involved in collaboration programs with schools regarding child behavior and school performance show enhanced emotional well-being and parenting skills, along with increased grade point averages and improved achievement test scores for students
  • 7. Family/School Collaboration Family counseling intervention and preventive services are powerful tools to help schools meet the needs of today’s students New Horizons Family Counseling Center (NHFCC) focuses on counseling methods that promote healthy families and school achievement  Counseling services are provided to a diverse population free of charge  Focus on enabling students to attend and achieve in school  Work with the family to strengthen student and family competencies  Involves key family members in the therapeutic process  Collaborate with school personnel in extending beyond the family setting
  • 8. Family/School Collaboration Key elements incorporated into counseling approach  Cultural competency  Knowledge of learning disabilities  Effective approaches to intervention with aggressive & assaultive youth  Consultation skills Parent and individual counseling strategies are utilized as supplements to family counseling services when indicated Counseling services are provided within the family’s community – many sites are housed within local schools
  • 9. Family/School Collaboration Families Served:  Family/Household Data:  ~ 80 families seen weekly  Reaching NCLB (2002) critical during a given school year subgroups  30% - Income < $20,000/yr  Locations include  6% - Income < $10,000/yr  Children from minority groups  Williamsburg receive services more often than  James City County they would through community- based mental health services  Newport News  47% - Single mother households  Hampton  23% - Two biological parent  Poquoson households  York  17% - Blended family households  8% - Single father households  Gloucester  5% - Grandparent headed households
  • 10. Family/School CollaborationMost frequently reportedreasons for referral:  Academic problems  School discipline  Family communication  Attention  Concerns over self-esteem Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder  Student aggression  Family death  Depression  Developmental delays  Peer/Social Skills  Substance abuse  Divorce and separation  Suicide threats
  • 11. Family/School Collaboration Previous study on effectiveness of NHFCC services showed that following treatment (sample = 70 families) :  Both parents and teachers reported significant decreases in child behavior problems  Verbal reports from teachers and other involved school personnel indicated that frequent family-school-counselor contacts resulted in enhanced classroom performance, improved grades, a positive view of the family and child, and more collaborative efforts between the school and the family
  • 12. VideoNHFCC
  • 13. Current Research Study Purpose  Family therapy as practiced within community clinics and private settings differs significantly in terms of structure and outcome as opposed to research therapy (Weisz, Weiss, & Donnenburg, 1992)  Essential that family therapists be able to demonstrate which family interventions with which populations, in which contexts are effective (Pike-Urlacher, Mackinnon, & Piercy, 1996)  Use of standardized assessment and diagnostic tools that are oriented to the theories and paradigms used in practice is necessary to further the efficacy of clinical interventions and outcome research  Many authors have recommended the use of a family therapy assessment that provides a bridge across multiple treatment modalities (Sprenkle & Bishoff, 1995)
  • 14. Current Research Study Purpose (continued…)  The DSM-IV Global Assessment of Relational Functioning (GARF) is a newly designed practical tool with significant validity and reliability that addresses the above-cited needs.  The GARF provides assessment data for guiding clinical work and outcome data for verifying treatment success (Yingling, Miller, McDonald, & Galewater, 1998)  The GARF describes the relational unit of the family along three dimensions:  Interactional processes and problem solving  Organizational structure  Emotional climate
  • 15. Current Research Study Purpose (continued…)  The GARF clinical rating scale system parallels the DSM-IV’s Global Assessment Functioning (GAF) rating for individuals  The three variables indicated are identified with structural, strategic, and family-of-origin models of family therapy, and also identify the need for behavior skills training.  Thus, the instrument provides clear direction for treatment orientation and intervention according to theoretical constructs
  • 16. Current Research Study Purpose (continued…)  The current study examines outcome data regarding the effectiveness of the NHFCC service delivery model for school-based counseling referrals  Further investigates the effects of the use of the GARF as an assessment and diagnostic tool for multisystemic family counseling  Ultimately GARF data will be correlated with data from teacher and parent report forms regarding child behavior  An additional benefit of the study included incorporation of the GARF into supervision, thus enhancing students’ competency in assessment and by allowing the students to compare his or her assessment of the family with the assessment by the supervisor and the clinical team
  • 17. Current Research Study Method  Participants were families who had been referred to NHFCC through six regional school systems from 2002 – 2007  Families were pre- and post-tested using the DSM-IV Global Assessment of Relational Functioning (GARF)  Descriptive data collected include:  Referral source  Planned versus unplanned termination  Court involvement  Past family counseling experience  Age of the identified client  Academic performance of the identified client
  • 18. Current Research Study Findings & Implications  Independent Variable #1 – Planned vs. Unplanned Termination  Court involvement > Planned termination (divorce court esp.) • Possible explanation – greater motivation • Implications – less hesitance to involve court, collaboration with legal process  Past Family Counseling experience > Planned termination • Possible explanation – greater confidence in the process • Implications – Don’t give up on those who quit; utilize past experience  School Counselor Referral > Planned termination • Possible explanation – closer involvement, better collaboration with family counselor, better able to match problems with need • Implications – Necessity of family-school collaboration
  • 19. Current Research Study Findings & Implications  Independent Variable #2 – GARF Global Score  Greater Identified Client Age > GARF Score • Possible explanation – Greater cognitive ability • Implications – Greater need for developmental matching consideration in intervention  Greater Academic Performance > GARF Global Score • Possible explanation – Greater ability to focus, more presence in family counseling • Implications – Greater need for developmental matching consideration in intervention  School Counselor Referral < GARF Global score (vs. other referral sources) • Possible explanation – Greater involvement with other referral sources (i.e. clinical/administrative sources) suggests greater/longer intervention • Implications – Need to promote earlier family counseling referral from school counselors
  • 20.  Questions? New Horizons Family Counseling Center:  http://web.wm.edu/education/newhorizons/index.htm  Dr. Victoria Foster: vafost@wm.edu  Carrie Lynn Bailey: clbail@wm.edu  Emilie Godwin: eegodw@wm.edu