My quest to find out about online counselling in schools continued. I queried the online community, school counsellors associations and school counsellors themselves. I was unable to discover any current use of online counselling in schools [feel free to let me know if I’ve missed anything].
Which is not surprising really. Over the past number of years in education financial pressures have mounted. School counsellors have been faced with a time, money and resources squeeze making it more difficult to introduce something like online counselling into the system or, perhaps even to spend the time to find out if it’s viable [making guesses here].
So I turned my attention to ways in which school counsellors are using technology. One school counsellor, Eddie Levisman, noted that despite the pressures of time and lack of resources “the counselor must be very technologically proficient: emails, websites, e-lists, wikis, e-newsletters, webinars and what not – all will be expected in his/her arsenal of skills….We, as counselors, must find ways to enter their (students) world and compete for attention with many other sources. We must, constantly and persistently, fight for our right to be present in their virtual habitat.”
This arsenal, I suspect, is particularly true for those who work with high school students and who provide career guidance and counselling. So much of that world of information is online. Levisman suggests the role of a counsellor in that situation has changed from one of information giving to assisting and teaching students to navigate that information in a technologically literate way. It’s an interesting perspective.
Adam Clark, a school counsellor with Yokohama International School, uses technology in many different ways with his students (check out his blog). One thing that stood out to me is he uses his iPad in session. He uses it for basic assessments, notetaking and, outside the counselling room for classroom observations. It never occurred to me to think about this but he finds the iPad to be less intrusive in size and shape than a laptop. Adam says – “One of the things I was bothered by during discussions with students was having to frequently disrupt the flow of conversation to gather around my computer when the discussion required us to go online to show look at a video or something else relevant to the topic at hand. With an iPad in my office, I can open up Safari and we can pass media back and forth very comfortably and naturally as a digital extension of the conversation…As I prepare for sessions with students, I can save images, poems, and other resources into drop box and have it literally in hand the next instant to share with students – no printing required.”
Cool. I gotta get me one of those. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Dawn Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate of Worldwide Therapy Online Inc. http://www.therapyonline.ca
 Eddie Levisman http://whoisadamclark.com/2011/02/17/21st-century-school-counseling-guest-author/
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA