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.
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.
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.
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.
Devon is an experienced educator and a licensed school counselor. She has worked as a school-based mental health counselor, school counselor, and high school health teacher. Devon is committed to supporting the healthy socio-emotional development and academic progress of every student. She understands the importance of collaboration among educators and counselors, and she welcomes the opportunity to work with families and school personnel to help students succeed.
Devon also offers faculty professional development trainings and parent workshops in the areas of student mental health, student identity development, and multicultural competency. Topics of past trainings for faculty include emotional safety in the classroom, gender and sexuality identity development, exploring white privilege, and multicultural competency in curriculum development. Topics of past workshops for parents include understanding the adolescent brain, supporting teens’ healthy sexual and gender identity development, and encouraging parent-teen dialogue.
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.
Ashley is a licensed clinical mental health counselor that has worked in school, hospital, and outpatient settings. Ashley began her clinical work during her graduate studies in a therapeutic high school as a school based clinician in Salem, MA. Following her work in this school Ashley began working in a Partial Hospitalization Program and Intensive Outpatient program for children, adolescents, and adults with eating disorders. During this time, Ashley assisted in providing psychoeducation on eating disorders and mental health to caregivers, schools, and healthcare providers in the area. Through this work Ashley has developed an understanding of the importance of collaboration among educators, counselors, healthcare providers, and community supports in order to provide each client and family with the best possible care.
Ashley also facilitates DBT groups for pre-teens, teens, caregivers, and adults. During her current work with children, teens, and adults Ashley supports collaboration and facilitates communication among all providers to support each client’s unique goals.
Amy specializes in working with elementary school-aged children in school and office settings. Amy has experience and special interest in trauma-informed counseling. Amy helps schools address the impact trauma has on students’ learning and development. As a nationally Registered Play Therapist, Amy brings enthusiasm, experience and skill to her work in meeting children where they are through their language of play. Amy works with children to more effectively express and process their emotions, thoughts and sensory experience in order to succeed in their school, family, and friendship worlds. Amy tailors her therapies to the client’s unique needs and situation and draws on a range of evidence-based approaches.
Sara has extensive experience in the areas of anxiety, depression, anger, defiance and ADHD. Sara has a specialty in helping children and teens navigate trauma, grief and loss, and life transitions and has specialized training in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Sara’s school-based approach is solution-focused and strengths-based. focuses on helping students address behavioral and emotional struggles that are impacting their ability to succeed in the classroom. She has been in practice for over 10 years, serving children, teens, and families in school and office settings.
MA, LCMHC, LMFT
Elizabeth has over 15 years of experience working with children, adolescents, adults and families in home, school, office and community settings. Elizabeth is both a licensed clinical mental health counselor and a marriage and family therapist. She brings a unique systems perspective to her work that allows her to collaborate with students, families, teachers, and administration to identify and meet their common goals. Elizabeth has a specialty in Trauma-Informed Schools. She works with students, teachers, and administration to address the barriers to learning that may occur when children and teens come to the classroom with a history of trauma and adverse events. Through this work, Elizabeth supports students in establishing school and personal success, helps teachers to feel and be more effective in meeting the challenges they face in the classroom, and assists administration in their charge to meet the educational, behavioral, developmental and mental health needs of their students.