Consultation Practices of School Psychologists in New Brunswick

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Craig, Lisa
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Consultation and collaboration have been identified in the literature as essential parts of school psychology service delivery (Gutkin & Curtis, 1999; Sladeczek, Kratochwill, Steinbach, Kumke, Hagermoser, 2003; Walther-Thomas, Korinek, McLaughlin, 1999; Zins & Erchul, 2002). The purpose of this study was to examine the consultation practices of school psychologists who work in rural and urban regions of New Brunswick. Thirty-three school psychologists and residents in psychology were invited to participate. The response rate was 42.4% (n=14). Most respondents were experienced psychologists and the majority worked in both rural and urban settings. The psychologists engaged in consultation as consultants and consultees regularly, with the majority (10/14) consulting at least two to three times per week. Consultation took place at the school-level most often: 12 respondents acted as consultants with teachers and school administrators at least two to three times per week, while 13 sought advice from teachers and administrators at least once per month. By contrast, respondents consulted with professionals outside the school system less than once per month. The focus of the consultation was most often on academic, behavioural, and socio-emotional issues: 10 participants consulted about these issues at least two to three times per week, and all but one reported being confident or very confident when consulting in these areas. As consultees, 14 participants consulted about socio-emotional issues at least once per month and 13 consulted regarding academic and behavioural concerns at least once per month. Eleven school psychologists were at least somewhat satisfied with their current level of consultation, and eight felt as though they had the right amount of time to spend on consultation. Participants also identified barriers to school consultation, including heavy caseloads, servicing too many schools, and others' lack of awareness of psychologists' expertise. Factors that they perceived facilitated effective consultation were: being part of a school-based team, established meeting times for consultation, time allotted in daily schedules for consultation, support and commitment from teachers and administrators, additional psychologist resources, recognition of all participants' skills and knowledge as valuable, the development of relationships with team members, and a reduced emphasis on completing psychoeducational assessments.
School psychologists , School psychology , New Brunswick