With the growing diversity of professions working in schools, interdisciplinary partnership and collaboration are growing quickly the world over. Apart from traditional teaching and learning concerns, awareness of children and youth mental health issues and socio-emotional wellbeing, grew readily since the 2000s. Rising in tandem with this trend is the number of psychologists, social workers, and counselors joining educators to support children and young persons in schools. Challenges such as misconception of roles, differing perceptions as well as cross-disciplinary misunderstanding threaten to prevent concerned professionals in working collaborative to help children and young persons in need. Fortunately, this aspect of interdisciplinary partnership in schools gains the much-needed attention in research from Asia and the Middle East to Europe and the Americas. Models and frameworks suggesting best practices for interdisciplinary collaboration emerged in school psychology, counseling and social work literature. Also growing in tandem is research in methods of measurement and evaluation of such collaboration as well as studies on pre-service professional training on interdisciplinary collaborative skills in the related disciplines.
Poi Kee Low
School counselors conducting qualitative research is not a novel idea. Indeed, school counselors are required to use data to develop and incorporate counseling programs to meet the needs of all students. However, large caseloads and school counselors’ involvement in non-counseling-oriented tasks leave little time for involvement in research. However, by collaborating with school, family, and community stakeholders, school counselors could incorporate qualitative research into their roles, which would then enable them to be more effective in their jobs. Participatory action research (PAR) is a research paradigm that allows school counselors to collect data to pinpoint the needs of the school, collaborate with key stakeholders to address the identified needs, and then use that data to develop and implement data-based programs. In essence, school counselors, using this qualitative research method, could be better informed on how to best address these issues in their schools. By the nature of their training, school counselors are adept at the qualitative techniques of in-depth interviewing, observing, analyzing the data, and making informed decisions from the data, which is why collective qualitative research could be a natural extension of their job duties.
Brian A. Gerrard and Gertina J. van Schalkwyk
School-based family counseling (SBFC) is an integrative systems approach to helping children succeed academically and personally through mental health interventions that link family and school. SBFC may be practiced by any of the mental health approaches and is best viewed as a supporting approach to traditional mental health disciplines. An important precursor to SBFC was the guidance clinics attached to schools that were developed by the psychiatrist Alfred Adler in Vienna in the 1920s. A core assumption in SBFC is that the two most important institutions in the life of a young child are the family and the school and that an effective way to help children is by mobilizing both family and school resources. SBFC has eight strengths: school and family focus, systems orientation, educational focus, parent partnership, multicultural sensitivity, child advocacy, promotion of school transformation, and interdisciplinary focus. Despite its early origins, SBFC remains a new approach that challenges traditional mental health disciplines that focus on either school or family, but not both. There is moderate evidence-based support (EBS) for the effectiveness of SBFC, but further research is needed on different approaches to SBFC.