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Monday Ideas for School Counselors

Weekly articles for school counselors with ideas on how to resolve typical school situations with students, teachers and parents using the solution focused approach.

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Blur Your Eyes! Expert in Front of You

January 15, 20242 min read

When students, teachers and parents come to our school counseling office, they are often steeped in problem thought and only see a world that is gloomy and hopeless, without direction.

We listen, respectfully, as they share their situation.

But, after the problem is spoken, many times we can get stuck, thinking that it is we who must come up with solutions, strategies, plans that the school client can try out. This is commendable to think that we can construct individual plans for many, many school clients each day.

It is also exhausting.

But it also suggests that our school client can’t do it on their own. In the words of a dear colleague, Chris Iveson (BRIEF Therapy Practice, London): “When we do for others what they can do for themselves, we rob them of competence.”

Last week on SF Connection, I said something spontaneously that one of the attendees repeated toward the end of the webinar. (That made me quite happy, by the way!)

I was talking about the importance of “blurring our eyes” when a school client comes to talk about a problem, so we could see instead, an expert in front of us. It’s tough to look beyond problems at people, especially when the school client is rather descriptive of the problem’s impact on them. Our hearts go out to the crying student, the upset parent or the distressed teacher. We want to help so badly. But, here’s the thing. We can help too much, too, so much that our school clients don’t get the credit. We do.

A professor once told me, no autopsy ever revealed a problem deep inside a person. It’s hard to withhold our words when we want to say, “well, doing your homework might bring up your grade.”

Instead, I want them to walk out of my office thinking that they just figured out what they need to do and to tell me how they can start doing it on a very small scale. I want desperately for them to think that things aren’t as bad as they seem so they can leave a better version of themselves and get through the day. I want them to wonder to themselves how they managed to not be in trouble at recess for two weeks. I want them to smile at me when I ask how they are passing three classes out of five. I want them to experience themselves as experts in the making, ready to show the world who they really are.

So, on this Monday, let’s do an experiment: Take a sticky note and paste it to your wall, or your computer that says:

Sticky note with motivating text

That’s right, just for today. And, if, by chance, you find that doing this today is helpful… try it again, tomorrow 😃.

Solution-Focused, School CounselingEmpowermentRespectStudent Expertise
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Dr Linda Metcalf

Linda Metcalf is the best-selling author of Counseling Toward Solutions and 10 other books. Linda is a former middle school teacher, all-level certified school counselor, licensed professional counselor supervisor, and licensed marriage and family therapist in the State of Texas. She is a Professor at Texas Wesleyan University.

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