Psychologists working in schools provide a comprehensive range of psychological services to the school community that include ssessment, diagnosis, intervention, consultation and prevention. Psychologists have strong clinical skills and a broad knowledge base in child and adolescent development, cognitive processes, psychopathology, school and community systems, learning, and behaviour disorders.
The Role of Psychologists in Schools
The roles and services of psychologists in school communities have expanded over the last half-century to include:
Direct and indirect student-focused interventions
The psychologist may assist in providing services that promote the development of a positive school environment that benefits all
Developing and implementing prevention and early intervention programs such as crisis response and violence prevention
Collaborating with administrators and teachers to support the inclusion of students with special needs
Developing and implementing parenting programs
Consultation and inservicing with teachers concerning child and adolescent development, behaviour management, and learning styles.
Areas Psychologists may assess:
Development, Intellectual Functioning, Learning Style, Emotional Functioning, Neuropsychological Functioning, Behaviour, Personality, Social Functioning. Referral concerns may include: Learning Difficulty, Developmental Problems, Attentional Deficits, Depression, Suicide Risk, Stress and Anxiety, Interpersonal difficulty, Violence and Aggression, Low Self-Esteem, Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders, Trauma, and Effects of Abuse.
Psychologists may be involved in the development and implementation of programs which aim to reduce the prevalence of problems. These include: Suicide Prevention, Bullying, Crisis Response, and Risk and Threat Assessment.
A variety of therapeutic approaches and activities may be utilized such as: Anger Management, Art Therapy, Behaviour Therapy and Management, Cognitive Therapy, Conflict Management, Individual, Family and Group Therapy, Play Therapy, Psychotherapy, Stress Management, and Social Skills Training.
Consultation and Training
Psychologists consult with educators, parents and other professionals, and may provide presentations and workshops for schools, parents, students and community groups.
Understand how schools work and how children learn
Provide easily accessible, cost-effective mental health services to children
Promote positive mental health and a safe and effective learning environment.
The following example situations show you how school psychologists typically approach a problem so you will know what to expect:
A Challenged Reader
Tom’s parents were concerned about his reading. They worried that he might fall behind and lose confidence. At school, the teacher noticed that Tom understood the work when it was presented orally but relied on classmates to help him do written work. The school psychologist completed an assessment and worked together with Tom’s parents and teachers to develop a plan to improve his reading and
writing. The plan worked and Tom’s reading and confidence improved. By dealing with learning problems early on, school psychologists can prevent further difficulties.
A Potential Dropout
David was a high school student who frequently skipped classes. He was disruptive in class and had been suspended several times for fighting. After building a relationship with David, the school psychologist helped him learn simple anger control techniques. David’s parents, the school team, and the school psychologist developed a plan to provide open communication. Changes in school and home environments can improve the quality of life for children and family members. School psychologists can be trusted to deal in confidence with sensitive personal and family matters.
Download Psychology services brochure: Psychology.pdf