Friday, March 01, 2024

Bad Therapy Hijacked Our Nation’s Schools

Abigail Shrier writes:
Most American kids today are not in therapy. But the vast majority are in school, where therapists and non-therapists diagnose kids liberally, and offer in-school counseling and mental health and wellness instruction. By 2022, 96 percent of public schools offered mental health services to students. Many of these interventions constitute what I call “bad therapy”: they target the healthy, inadvertently exacerbating kids’ worry, sadness, and feelings of incapacity. ...

Forget the Pledge of Allegiance. Today’s teachers are more likely to inaugurate the school day with an “emotions check-in.”

School counselor Natalie Sedano advised our assembled conference room of teachers to ask kids: “How are you feeling today? Are you daisy-bright, happy and friendly? Or am I a ladybug? Will I fly away if we get too close?”

This prompted great excitement in the audience, and teachers jumped up to share their own “emotions check-ins.” One teacher said every day, she asks her kids if they feel it’s a “bones” or “no bones” kind of a day, borrowing the verbiage from a viral TikTok video in which a pug owner shares the mood of his 13-year-old pug, Noodle. If Noodle sits upright, it’s a bones day! If he collapses, it’s a no-bones day.

“That is so fun!” Sedano enthused. “Love it! Thank you!” ...

“To avoid an ethical breach known as a dual relationship, I can’t treat or receive treatment from any person in my orbit—not a parent of a kid in my son’s class, not the sister of coworkers, not a friend’s mom, not my neighbor.” This ethical guardrail exists to protect a patient from exploitation. ...

Except that school counselors, school psychologists, and social workers enjoy a dual relationship with every kid who comes to see them. They know all of a kid’s best friends; they may even treat a few of them with therapy. They know a kid’s parents and their friends’ parents. They know the boy a girl has a crush on, what romantically transpired between them, and how the relationship ended. They know a kid’s teammates and coaches and the teacher who’s giving him a hard time. And they report, not to a kid’s parents, but to the school administration. It’s a wonder we allow these in-school relationships at all.

Update: Reason magazine reports:
Public schools have a mental health crisis and only thousands of new support staff can save them. That's the narrative being pushed nationwide at a time when enrollment has crashed by nearly 1.3 million students and $190 billion in federal K-12 COVID-19 relief aid is set to expire later this year.

"It would take 77,000 more school counselors, 63,000 more school psychologists and probably tens of thousands of school social workers to reach levels recommended by professional groups before the pandemic hit," reports The Washington Post.

Now legislators in states such as Minnesota, New York, and Virginia are introducing bills aimed at getting schools closer to meeting the 250-to-1 student-to-counselor ratio recommended by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). ...

The real problem isn't that there aren't enough school counselors, but that many states already have laws on the books advancing ASCA's flawed recommendation.

Yes, too many counselors, not too few.

1 comment:

CFT said...

In Utah my elementary school guidance counselors struck down all my excuses and stressed pushing myself to buckle down and do the homework (I hated math at the time), I needed to learn how to overcome challenges, not avoid them.

In California my High School guidance counselor actually gave me lots of excuses of why I didn't need to take higher math classes (I was taking physics), that it would be better for my precious GPA if I took Mickey Mouse math classes to get into a 'good' college.

When my family moved back to California my parents were quite surprised to see what had become of the once golden state's educational system in a little over a decade.

Expectations set the bar. Remove them and everything falls into incompetence.