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School-Based Therapy 101

It’s no secret that adolescence can come with some growing pains, and sometimes, kids may need extra support for their mental well-being. When looking for a simple way to provide your student with more support, school-based therapy can be an effective solution.

What is school-based therapy?

School-based therapy programs that provide on-site therapists at schools to help children and teens from pre-k through high school cope with behavioral or mental health concerns. School-based therapists provide individual therapy assessments, recommendations, and connections to other resources when necessary. These therapists are not typically employed by the school, but they work for a clinic which partners with the school to secure their services on-site.

School-based therapy can address anything that would be included in a typical outpatient clinical setting such as adjustment, behavioral, or anger issues; trauma; trouble with regulating emotions; poor academic performance; and disruptive behavior. School-based therapy doesn’t solely provide individual therapy, it can also provide group counseling, family counseling, parent and teacher consultations, risk assessments, and collaboration with other community providers and resources.

What are the benefits of school-based therapy?

The greatest benefit of school-based therapy is that the student’s care can be consistently reinforced through a collaborative effort between the school and the provider. With the therapist in the school, they can work closely with parents, school administration, and teachers to ensure that the work they are doing with the student is being continued at home and in the classroom, increasing their chances of successful treatment.

Additionally, services can be provided year-round, even during school breaks. However, parents can pause services during the summer if they choose. When school is not in session, students have several convenient options for receiving care. For example, Centerstone school-based therapists offer in-person sessions, phone calls, telehealth communication, in-clinic and in-home sessions.

Who pays for it?

Typically, school-based therapy sessions are billable hours that can be paid through the student’s medical insurance to the agency that provides the care. Services may also be funded by state or federal grants, or government insurance programs like TennCare. The school itself does not normally handle any billing, nor does it pay the therapists since they are not school staff.

How is it different from what guidance counselor’s do?

Typically, guidance counselors provide students with advice and resources related to their classes and higher education or career aspirations. They also work closely with other staff to help monitor students’ academic success.

While guidance counselors sometimes provide personal advice to students, they don’t necessarily have the time or training to provide mental health care. Guidance counselors are also not committed to the same confidentiality agreements as clinicians, so, school-based therapists are able to address issues that a guidance counselor may not.

How can I get my child involved?

Parents, teachers, or school administrators can refer a student for school-based services. If you are unsure if your child’s school offers these services, ask the school administrators, teachers, or guidance counselors, and they can provide necessary information.If the school does not provide school-based therapy services, most guidance counselors and school administrators have a referral list of resources in the area where the student can receive care.

If you are interested in learning more about Centerstone’s school-based therapy programs, visit us online or call us at 877-HOPE123 (1-877-426-323).

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