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School Services

As an educator or school administrator, are you seeing students struggling to keep up with school assignments and homework?

Are you concerned about children who appear hopeless and depressed about school expectations?

Do your efforts to help a student turn into unpleasant power battles?

Are you concerned about parents reporting children refusing to attend school or having physical complaints just prior to the school day?

Are you finding that behavioral concerns present barriers to learning for a particular student and impact the classroom as a whole?

Are you concerned by growing challenges in the classroom related to socioemotional issues that stand in the way of your students' learning and success?

School can be a challenging and exposing environment for children. Self-control skills, necessary to meet the production and performance demands of the classroom, can be lagging or underdeveloped. In order to cover that fear of exposure and failure, children may engage protective, defensive or withdrawal behaviors as a camouflage to hide those vulnerabilities. Teachers may call these “acting out” behaviors. While self-defeating, they have a survival purpose and need to be decoded. Then we can begin the process of identifying those fragile skills that need to be strengthened in order for the child to be successful and end the need for avoidance. That becomes the investigatory work of the school-based therapist.

A cardinal value of Counseling Associates is to partner and collaborate with schools in the singular goal of improving academic achievement and success for children. For the past 10 years we have worked with schools, in different degrees of integration and consultation, to help children and families recover from experiences of discouragement and defeat. On many occasions we find that the struggles of the child and family can create tense and adversarial relationships between families and schools, as all systems become stressed and defensive in such situations, parallel to the protective stance that the child takes when encountering failure. We are keenly aware that in order to put the child back on track to recovery, the systems of relationships that embrace and support the child must also be healed. Therefore, our effort is to reconcile divisions of mistrust and suspicion between school and family, as everyone has a function and role on the child's “team”. School work is also working with the ecology of relationship systems that need to integrate for optimal results.

The services can range from school-based services, in which we use the school as the venue for counseling children, to a more integrative and consultative role, in which we would also work with educators and train paraprofessionals, attend IEP and planning meetings, do in-class observations, as well as be available for crisis and risk assessments. In all cases, our belief is that being co-located in a school provides us with the unique opportunity to both acquire critically important observational data on children's behaviors, as well as from educators. This proximity also lends itself to being closely integrated with the execution of devised strategies in the classroom.

We can help!

Mental health and behavioral concerns present challenges to the already complex demands of meeting the educational needs of students. We collaborate with school systems to create innovative solutions to addressing these challenges. At Counseling Associates, you will find the experience and expertise to help you address these issues and create pathways to success. We believe in innovative strengths-based solutions that help students, families, teachers, administrators, and schools thrive.

Counseling Associates tailors services to the specific needs and resources of the school. Services can range from school-based services, in which we use the school as the venue for counseling children, to a more integrative and consultative role, in which we would also work with educators and train professionals and paraprofessionals, attend IEP and planning meetings, do in-class observations, as well as be available for crisis and risk assessments.

Services We Provide

  • Individual & Family Counseling to Address School Issues: Our Child, Adolescent & Family Team serves students in our Counseling Associates offices when school-based services are not available, not indicated or not appropriate. Counseling can provide assessment and address barriers to children's success in the classroom.
  • School Consultation: We are pleased to offer consultation services to local and regional school systems to support them in achieving their goals of meeting the educational, behavioral and mental health needs of students. Consultation can be arranged for specific students upon request. We also coordinate customized contractual arrangements with local school systems to provide regular consultation and clinical services.
  • School-Based Services: We coordinate on-site services at the request of local schools to improve access to therapy services for their students. These services not only enhance access but also provide opportunities for more effective coordination, assessment and intervention.
  • Trauma-Informed Schools: As an educator, you are well aware how a child's experience outside of the classroom impacts participation and learning inside of the classroom. Our Specialists provide consultation and trainings to help educators recognize and more effectively respond to trauma effects in their students as well as individual and group therapy services for students to develop skills to succeed academically and socially.

Contact our School Services Director for more information on how we can help your students thrive.

Meet Our Team

Counseling Associates is fortunate to have a team of innovative, skilled and experienced clinicians who specialize in school-based work. Our team members have years of experience serving in school districts across the Lake Sunapee and Dartmouth regions.

Jim Esposito, MA LCMHC NCC
Jim has been doing school consultation for almost 20 years. He currently is the behavior consultant for the Sunapee School District, and has been there for the past 10 years. Over the years Jim has consulted in many schools throughout the state including Colebrook, Jaffrey-Rindge, Newport, and Franklin.

Jim sees the critical value of working with children in the very place that they measure their success, competence and self-esteem, both academically and socially. His approach is to identify the obstacles that impede children's socio-academic functioning with measures that will immediately translate into overall improved performance within the school and classroom. In doing so, more adaptive and effective skills can be installed.

His approach also recognizes the critical importance of bringing together the adult team of parents and educators to determine the role of each in order to ensure school success for the child.

Pete Afflerbach, MA LCMHC
In 2001, Pete began his work in schools in Santa Barbara, CA as a special education teacher working with students involved in the juvenile justice system. Following his graduate studies, he began seeing students in an outpatient setting for substance abuse issues. When he moved to NH in 2009, he returned to school-based work as a clinician for a therapeutic day program in Bradford, NH; and before transitioning into private practice, Pete also spent a year working as a staff counselor at the St. Paul's School in Concord.

He currently works with children and adolescents in all grade levels, also coordinating with parents and teachers, working to create supportive relationships among all the systems that affect the learning process.

Brittany Sipe, LCMHC Candidate