University/District Collaboration Play Therapy Clinics

University/District Collaboration Play Therapy Clinics

Ryan P. Holliman (Dallas Counseling and Treatment Center, USA) and Pedro Blanco (Tarleton State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8226-7.ch006
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Many elementary schools must make due with a single school counselor, leaving many children in need of services. The authors of this chapter propose a unique partnership to create sustainable school-based play therapy clinics. The proposed clinics provide free services to children in schools and also allow for the collection of data by university professors hoping to examine and advocate for effectiveness of play therapy. The chapter will discuss how to select appropriate partners, how to build relationships with school professionals, how to establish research and clinics in the schools, training concerns, and ethical issues.
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The American Association of School Counseling Association (ASCA) recommends a ratio of one counselor to every 250 students (2017). However, a recent study of trends in student to counselor ratios indicates that in some states the ratio is as low as 200:1 and as high as 924:1 (ASCA, 2014). It is obvious that with ratios this high, a school counselor can only provide limited counseling to the highest need children. The challenges that elementary schools deal with are legion, and the school counselor is often overwhelmed at the prospect of being the sole individual trained and responsible for the mental health concerns for all students in the school. Our hope is that by developing and operating a school based play therapy clinic in collaboration between a university and a local school district will not only aid in the school counselor stress but also better meet the social emotional needs of the children attending the school.

Building Relationships

For a collaborative clinic to exist, relationships must be forged. This relationship is often one of give and take, in which both the school and the clinic have to have mutual benefits. It is often the case that for this to be a reciprocal value both parties must have a foundation of trust. One of the eternal truths about public education is that time and space will always be sought after commodities.

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