Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Survey of School Psychologists' Application of the Problem-Solving Model to Counseling Services
by Cole, Rebecca, Psy.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2012, 270; 3511677
Abstract (Summary)

Given the current focus on student outcomes, use of the problem-solving model to plan interventions is one method by which school psychologists can hold themselves accountable for implementing counseling interventions that have a positive impact on student behavioral outcomes and mental health. This study surveyed school psychologists about their general counseling practices, as well as their application of the problem-solving model when designing and implementing counseling interventions. A total of 283 Nationally Certified School Psychologists completed an online survey based on current research and best practices for behavioral interventions. Results indicated that counseling is typically provided to general and special education students in group and individual formats. Infrequently, students are recommended for discontinuation, and in most cases because counseling goals have reportedly been met. Most often respondents indicated using many general components of the problem-solving model including defining and establishing the behavior of concern (e.g., behavioral definition, problem validation), as well as those involved in determining what should be done about it (e.g., goal setting, intervention plan development). Less frequently did they report monitoring and determining the effectiveness of counseling interventions (e.g., formative and summative evaluation, decision-making plan), as well as problem-analysis.

These results suggest that school psychologists apply many of the steps of the problem-solving model in accordance with federal special education laws, especially when defining target behaviors and planning interventions. These results, however, also call into question the degree to which these school psychologists engage in progress monitoring and data-based decision making. The quality and frequency of baseline and progress monitoring data collection may not enable accurate comparison of student behavior and demonstration that behavioral improvement has been made. Further research is needed to determine barriers and facilitators to objective data gathering in practice settings. Implications for school psychology training programs include knowledge of practices to focus on in order to help new and current practitioners make a paradigm shift from assessors to researchers and active problem-solvers who consistently and effectively implement all aspects of the problem-solving model and consult with other school professionals to gather and evaluate behavioral data and demonstrate accountability.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kundert, Deborah K.
Commitee: Quinn, Kevin, Williams, Stacy
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: School Psychology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 73/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: School counseling, Educational psychology
Keywords: Accountability, Counseling services, Data-based decision making, School psychologists
Publication Number: 3511677
ISBN: 978-1-267-39757-7
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