Experience of school-based consultation for students with emotional and behavioral needs: perspectives of multiple stakeholders
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The population of students with emotional and behavioral needs represent a significant proportion of the population of students in today's public schools. To help meet their needs, consultants from outside mental health agencies are often contracted to support school personnel who work with these students. There is little research, however, on this practice, its implementation, or its effectiveness. The purpose of this study was to describe the experience of consultation among teachers, counselors, and administrators. Data were collect through open-ended interviews. An analysis of these interviews reveal that members of a school community generally view the practice as a positive experience and a worthwhile investment. Differences between administrators and direct service providers (i.e., teachers, counselors) were identified. Administrators focused on operational or logistical elements of consultation and teachers and counselors spoke more to relational elements, such as personal characteristics of the consultant and the ability to develop a working relationship with the consultant. Further, school personnel with clinical training seemed to welcome the consultation as an opportunity for constructive feedback, but perhaps more importantly, the clinical supervision they would not otherwise receive.
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