Consulting with the Consultants
By Robert Schroeder
For educators, every child is unique. For school psychologists, that often means finding a unique solution to individualized problems.
National Louis University's Daniel Newman, Ph.D., assistant professor in the National College of Education, is taking part in an initiative to build an online home for school psychologists focused on consultee-centered consultation. The interest group, part of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), seeks to become a nexus for discussion, sharing resources, increased scholarship and online professional development.
"School consultation has been around for a long time…but with social media being increasingly important, the opportunity for people nationally and internationally to connect around this area is a new way of going about it," Newman said.
Consultee-centered consultation is a concept developed by Gerald Caplan focused on empowering the professionals who are working in mental health fields with the skills necessary to help more students than simply a student-by-student basis. The model applies an indirect service approach to work with teachers and other school staff to help others.
Newman is co-chairing the interest group with Colette Ingraham, Ph.D., professor in the College of Education at San Diego State University, a national leader in consultee-centered consulting. Over the past year, the interest group has worked to determine the capabilities and opportunities of the online presence. At the NASP 2012 Annual Convention Feb. 21-24 in Philadelphia, Newman and Ingraham aim to promote out the interest group's web home with hopes of stimulating growth in group membership.
In its nascent year, the interest group has focused on sharing syllabi for consultation courses at the university level, posting model videos of consultee-centered consultation in action, videos displaying the contract state of consultation, training activities, and videos clips from professionals in the field. The focus is all about empowerment and the exponential expansion of reach for each professional.
"One of our big roles as educational psychologists is consultation working with teachers to work with kids," Newman said. "Consultee-centered consultation really emphasizes not only helping kids but helping staff or others to help them."
As the interest group enters its second year, Newman and Ingraham are hoping to build the group's role as an online forum where professionals can pose a question, discuss varied constraints faced in the field, and seek the support of other professionals. Newman hopes to recruit more students into the group to enhance the prominence of consultation as a role for school psychologists. Newman says the collaborative education focus of the interest group fits solidly with the mission of consultants.
"For consultee-centered consultants, thinking about the importance of supporting teachers or other consultees, their work in schools is really to build capacity for teaching others," Newman said. "It's a collaborative model in order to build skills that ultimately will help kids achieve outcomes."