NOELIA FELIZ, TOURO CANDIDATE FOR BILINGUAL PUPIL PERSONNEL SERVICES ON COUNSELING

BILINGUAL PUPIL PERSONNEL SERVICES at Touro College, Graduate School of Education is for school counselors, social workers, and psychologists, who want to work with bilingual students.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

Each certificate includes coursework and a practicum which emphasizes the importance of understanding cultural context for child development and learning, and for effective assessment and delivery of services. Depending on your certification focus, you might examine various theories and classroom approaches, review case studies and explore how home life and community impact youth education, or learn about dynamic assessment, how to work with various disabilities, and effectivestrategies for teaching native language literacy. In all our courses our goal is always to increase your multicultural and linguistic fluency so you can provide the best possible service and education to all students.

Touro Candidate Noelia Feliz is a second-generation immigrant of Hispanic descent. As a school psychologist for Yonkers Public Schools, she proudly serves underprivileged communities and families by aiding them in receiving and obtaining the best service possible. Noelia is currently working towards her bilingual extension at Touro College because she wants to be able to work with a broader population and serve as an advocate and voice for families who are often underserved.

Counseling Case – a Practicum Assignment for PSGN 698 Field Experiences in Bilingual Pupil Personnel Services

Referral Question:

  • Pupil Support Team (PST) received a referral for a bilingual student (English & Spanish) with declining grades, appearing very lethargic in class, and was disengaging from social activity. It was later noted, by teacher, that the student’s parent had made contact with the teacher at the instructor’s residence to discuss concerns of aggressive and reclusive behavior.

Background and Context:

Student is a 14-year-old, Hispanic male born in The Bronx, NY and moved to Yonkers at 8 years old. He currently resides with his mother, father, and younger sister. Student and his family moved to a new home in Yonkers this year which the student describes as being “too big” and feels “bigger homes separate families”. Student expresses that he speaks in Spanish with both his parents and family members from El Salvador but feels more comfortable expressing himself in English. Historically, Student has maintained adequate grades in academics. Presently, Student’s science and math grades have declined. Student suddenly stopped attending basketball practice and later on quit the team. Student notes that he only has one good friend, but because of Student’s recent behavior, he feels the relationship is irreparable.  Student reported that, within the past 6 months, there has been a lot of confrontation with his mother. Student shared that he becomes angry when he is given a task by his mother, but then she doesn’t hold up the agreement that was purposed. Additionally, Student reports being romantically involved with a female from another state who he was able to meet over the past summer as agreed upon by both parties’ mothers.

Description of Problem:

Overall, Student shared that he would like to control his aggression, make better choices, improve upon his grades, have a better relationship with parents/peers, and better self-esteem. Student and counselor have set a goal for himself. He shares that he wants to get help because someday he wishes to have a family of his own and make better choices. He shared with this counselor that he really appreciated having someone to talk to because he never had an opportunity like this before.

  • Student mentions that he is always tired in school because he stays up until 3-4 a.m. talking to his significant other. His reason for doing so is, “because if I don’t talk to her, she will get mad and she said she would kill herself…I’m scared she might do it.” He also shares that he loves her but doesn’t feel happy because she treats him very wrong. Furthermore, Student states he can’t leave her because if he does, he will have no one then.
  • Student mentions that mom just wants to make him mad and argue with him. He shares that he feels mom is trying to be a mother now, but she didn’t care in the past. “She doesn’t know how to raise a child.” “Why does she care now?”
  • Student has avoided coming to school because of incomplete work. He doesn’t want to seem dumb. He adds, “if I don’t come in, I can have more time to do the work and won’t penalized for being sick”
  • Teacher says he has potential, but his behavior is affecting his work.
  • Student mentioned having one friend who he thought was a good friend until he noticed he was trying to get him to use drugs. Student admits to smoking marijuana but has stopped since his ex-friend tried to force him to try other kinds of drugs. When student refused, the perpetrator stole $200 dollars and has not been seen since. Student has ceased and refrained from using any and all drug paraphernalia since that occurrence. Student mentioned that he never wants to make a bad decision like that again.
  • Student shares that he is nervous and has no clue how to engage in social activities or maintain a healthy relationship. He feels that people can stab you in the back, but admits it is his negative thinking. He states he wants to interact with people but does not know how to.

Goal: Student will develop enhanced skills designed to help his aggression, develop social skills, and how to better communicate with his family.

Data Collection:

  • Weekly check-in: 2-3 times per week
  • Risk assessment
  • Student/Parent Interview Questions
  • Teacher feedback/Consultation
  • Self-Disclosure affect
  • Academic observations
  • Power School records

Appendix on Information Technology:

  • Microsoft Office Word 2007
  • Microsoft Office Excel 2007
  • Power School
  • Yonkers Public Schools- Internal website forms:
    • Power School – Internet-based student information system
    • Guidelines and procedures for Students in Crisis

Counseling Plan:

  • The type of therapy chosen was a Cognitive Behavioral Approach. Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is a form that might have served well, but I chose to take a CBT approach. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach. Its goal is to solve problems regarding behaviors, cognitions, and dysfunctional emotions through a goal-oriented, methodical procedure. There is empirical evidence that CBT is effective for the treatment of a variety of problems, including mood, anxiety, personality, eating, substance abuse, and psychotic disorders. This is effective especially since time is very important in a school system (Butler, Chapman, & Forman, 2006). CBT can be used in individual therapy as well as group settings, and the techniques are often adapted for self-help applications. It focuses on the “here and now”, and on alleviating symptoms. This can allow evaluation of efficacy and effectiveness, especially for the present trend of evidence-based treatment (Butler, Chapman, & Forman, 2006).
  • CBT is an efficient means of treating mental health conditions with Hispanics, much like this particular student. Studies do propose that usual CBT with no cultural adaptations can harvest some positive outcomes for Hispanics (Benuto & O’Donohue, 2015). Researchers studied the effectiveness of a “culturally modified” treatment with Hispanics either with an alternative treatment or a control group to regulate if the culturally delicate treatment had greater effects. Cultural variations of CBT do not show probable homogeneity concerning cultural tailoring, signifying that the construct of Hispanic culture is inadequately understood. (Benuto & O’Donohue, 2015). There are various methods we can use to improve the cultural sensitivity of common factors of CBT for anxiety. Although a lot of the advocates are particular to CBT, there are others that are correlated to the process elements pertinent to a slew of therapeutic methods. Particularly, clinicians can start to come up with ways to develop a general therapeutic stance that incorporates the understanding and appreciation of the difficulties of clients’ experiences (Graham, Sorenson, & Hayes-Skelton, 2015).
  • Student has agreed to attempt to engage in pro-social activities. Student was to come up with hypothetical situations and would role-play with counselor on how to effectively engage and maintain appropriate conversation. Skills to focus on: eye contact, context of conversation, initiation of conversation, and effective ways of ending conversation (Corey, 2009). Student was encouraged to take chances and even if an attempted failed, it would server to be a learning experience instead of a defeat. Student agreed to join Anime club and participate in the eco-club in order to try and make connections with peers. Student expressed that he really doesn’t feel like he knows anyone well enough in school except for one friend.
  • Student was to give weekly reports of relations within the home environment, significant other, self-worth, and counseling. Student would rate how he feels on a scale (1 very bad – 10 very good) relationships are developing. Student was to develop plans on how to engage in conversations with parents as he felt it was almost imposable to do so. Student would develop what he would think to be an appropriate and effective way of sharing information with parents in order to regain a good level of rapport with parents.
  • A safety plan was constructed with student that addressed relaxation techniques, contacting of individuals when in crisis, appropriate plans of action to take when feeling hopeless, locations to go to in and out of school etc. A copy was made for parents, student, and one to remain in school. Student is to carry this with him at all times in his wallet and refer to it in times of distress.
  • Due to Student’s self-injury behavior (superficial cutting) and information regarding his romantic relationship with an older individual, a call to emergency psychiatric services was made. After the clinician evaluated Student, she agreed that he was safe to return home. An additional Safety plan was drafted and signed by parents and Student. Student and family were provided with home support counseling by the clinician once a week for 12 weeks. The clinician will follow up with this counselor on progress and meet in 6 weeks for up-to-date information and check-in on Student’s progress in school.
  • At-risk counseling took place in the school for 6 weeks once a week for 30 mins a day.

Evaluation of Counseling based on weekly rating scales:

Noelia Feliz

Initial/Intake session

Counselor got to know who the student was even more. Introduced him to what to expect from counseling. Introduced CBT, expectations, and goal setting. Explained confidentially and breaking that in severe or extreme circumstances of hurting self or others.

1/06/2020

Student was very guarded. He was very worried others would find out. He mentioned that he would like to keep secrets because he does not want others judging him. Student and counselor worked on continuing to goal setting, and techniques he could use to learn to express his emotions in a more positive way (journaling) (Corey, 2009).

1/13/2020

A call to his mother was made to gain more background information. Student mentions he lost 40 lbs over the year from what he believed to be a combination of depression and exercise. He mentions his concerns about his current relationship and social interactions. He shears that he thinks she is bi-polar and needs help. He does not want to leave her because he loves her. Counselor tried to help student understand the thoughts and emotions behind the problem. Counselor and student created a plan on how he could respond differently to his situation with his peers. What are methods he could use to reframe now the way he is currently approaching peers.

1/20/2020

Students showed superficial cuts and begs counselor not to tell anyone. After explanation and review of safety, a call is made to Mother and Emergency. A clinician from St. Joseph’s conducted a risk assessment and evaluation. Mother is called to be a part of the planning process. Safety plan was drafted with student and mother. Outsides services were provided; Student with parent agreed to the intervention plan and techniques.

1/27/2020

Student’s scars healing well after medical treatment. Student reports things improving all around except for romantic relationship. Academically, grades have improved, and homework is being completed. Student mentions that he still doesn’t feel he is good looking enough or can maintain friendships.

2/3/2020

Student talked about his Girlfriend. Student mentions he broke up with her over the weekend. He says that she is “controlling and I’m sick of it!” “She doesn’t do anything for me and all she does is make me feel bad about myself to the point I don’t want to even be who I am” She has called him numerous times and threatened to take her life if he did not say he loves her. Overall, he says “I just want this ‘B.S.’ to stop…I wish she would be a better person, because I do love her”. Counselor and Student went over interfering thoughts and reasonable responses he could use to take its place. For example, “My friends will judge me so I will stay home”, to “If I stay home I have no chance of interacting at the basketball game if I go, who knows what happens?”

2/10/2020

Mother called this counselor inquiring if Student had come to school because he had walked out of the house after an argument at home. Student had left saying he would go to school but decided to walk around instead for a few hours. Mother stated that she noticed a change in Student because he did not yell or punch a wall but instead has been using breathing techniques to calm down. Despite progress, student still left the house and gave no indication as to where he was truly going. Student’s father had taken his cell phone that morning and scanned all his text, which appeared to set Student off. Once Student returned to school the next day he told counselor and explained what he did and why. Student and counselor were able to identify his negative thinking towards the situation and reshape it. Despite being in trouble he was still able to rate how he was doing and relations with others.

2/17/2020

Student told story of leaving home. Student also mentioned that he did not want to come to school because he wasn’t finished with a project for physics. Lastly, student mentions that he would like to try to keep a relationship since the individual has agreed to change and has done so thus far. Student said he will further use skills learned to apply in daily life.

Description and Critique of Counseling Process Issues:

Overall, I feel the trajectory of the time spent with Student is of a positive one. From the first-time meeting to the present I have noticed a difference. He has more color to his face than when we first met. His demeanor in class has improved and his appearance is better. I have noticed him trying to engage in more social conversations than he used to. There is more of a balance in conversation than there used to be. At first, I was the one to talk more, but now Student can describe feelings and emotions in more detail. Additionally, I’m very excited to see that he now starts to think more positively as well as advocating for himself.

Unfortunately, he is attempting to maintain a relationship with an individual that is not healthy for him. Hopefully, he will continue to make better future decisions. I share that from time to time I will share overall progress with his parents as they are concerned and he is fully understanding of this. I do not feel as if any rapport is lost. I make him aware of all that I do and explain to him why I feel that it is important to do so. For example, he begged me not to tell anyone about his cuts, but I explained to him what a mandated reporter is and why I would have to take appropriate actions to ensure he was safe. I explained what would happen and possible outcomes. Additionally, I asked for his feedback on how he felt about the process and if he had a different perspective on why and what I was about to do. This mutuality was important to our time spent together. He expressed on a few occasions how thankful he was just having someone hear him out without judging him.

References

Benuto, L. T., & O’Donohue, W. (2015). Is Culturally Sensitive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy an Empirically Supported Treatment?: The Case for Hispanics. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy15(3), 405–421.

Butler AC, Chapman JE, Forman EM, Beck AT (January 2006). “The empirical status of cognitive-behavioral therapy: a review of meta-analyses”. Clin Psychol Rev 26 (1): 17–31.

Corey, G. (2009). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy, Eighth Edition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education.

Graham, J. R., Sorenson, S., & Hayes-Skelton, S. H. (2013). Enhancing the Cultural Sensitivity of Cognitive Behavioral Interventions for Anxiety in Diverse Populations. Behav Ther (N Y N Y), 35(5), 101–108.

 

Author: drcowinj

Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs only to the people who prepare for it today,” determined Malcolm X at the O.A.A.U.’s [Organization of Afro-American Unity] founding forum at the Audubon Ballroom. (June 28, 1964). (X, n.d.) Dr. Jasmin Bey Cowin a Fulbright Scholar completed the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP™) at Columbia University, Teachers College. Dr. Cowin served as the President of the Rotary Club of New York and Assistant Governor for New York State; long-term Chair of the Rotary United Nations International Breakfast meetings; and works as an Assistant Professor at Touro College, Graduate School of Education. Dr. Cowin has over twenty-five years of experience as an educator, tech innovator, entrepreneur, and institutional leader with a focus on equity and access to digital literacy and education in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. Her extensive background in education, administration, not-for-profit leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, and technology innovation provide her with unique skills and vertical networks locally and globally. Dr. Cowin participates fully in the larger world of TESOL academic discipline as elected Vice President and Chair-Elect for the New York State, NYS TESOL organization, for the 2021 conference. Ongoing research, expressed in scholarly contributions to the advancement of knowledge is demonstrated through publications, presentations, and participation in academic conferences, blogging, and other scholarly activities, including public performances and exhibitions at conferences and workshops. Of particular interest to her are The Blockchain of Things and its implications for Higher Education; Current Global Trends in TESOL; Developing Materials and Resources in Teaching English; E-learning; Micro and Macro-Methodologies in TESOL; E-Resources Discovery and Analysis; and Language Acquisition and the Oculus Rift in VR.

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