What is psycho-educational counseling?

Psychopedagogical counseling is defined as an intervention of an external and independent agent within the advisory body (the school and its professional components) in which a collaborative relationship is established between the two parties in order to deal with both to possible problems that may arise in the exercise of professional teaching practice, as well as in the overall prevention of their future occurrence.

Thus, in psycho-educational counseling, there are two main objectives: clinical intervention, or “direct intervention” in real and current dysfunctional situations, and “professional training”, more linked to the preventive aspect.

Main functions of psycho-educational counseling

Cox, French and Loucks-Horsley (1987) compiled a list of functions attributable to the advisory group, which were differentiated according to three different phases of development of the counseling intervention: initiation, development and institutionalization.

1. Initiation phase

Regarding the initiation phase, the counselor should assess the needs, capacities and resources presented by both the school and the client with whom he collaborates and all the end users of the action. Outraged, you will have to make an evaluation of the type of internships that apply to the center, As well as the elaboration of the list of objectives and goals to be achieved with the intervention.

Likewise, it will have to work on the development of its proposal to improve the current practice of the center by providing training in new work strategies; organize and assign different functions to the teaching group; act in the optimization of both material and non-material resources; and finally, facilitate the establishment of a positive and committed collaborative relationship between the different parties involved in the intervention process.

2. Development phase

In the development phase, the advisor should focus on providing training in solving specific problems. existing in the pedagogical practice of the center in question, as well as to follow up on the proposals for the proposed changes and to carry out an evaluation of this process.

3. Institutionalization phase

In the final phase of institutionalization, the objective is to integrate all the actions carried out into the list of guidelines and programs of the school concerned. too much an evaluation and monitoring of the implemented program is carried out and teacher training continues (Especially in case of new additions to the staff) and the endowment of resources to make possible its continuity once the advisory group has completed its work in the educational center.

Characteristics of the psycho-educational counseling service

Among the characteristics that define the psychoeducational counseling service, it first emerges that it is an indirect intervention, since the figure of the counselor works in collaboration with the professionals of the center (the client) so that the orientations provided are ultimately reversed into students (end users). for that, Could be defined as a “triadic relationship”, in which a commitment is established between the advisory group and the client.

On the other hand, as mentioned above, it is a cooperative, consensual and non-hierarchical relationship, in which both parties agree to work together on an equal footing. Finally, by being composed of an independent body, the advisory group does not exercise any position of authority or control over its client, and it is therefore understood that their relationship is not binding.

Possible criticisms of the role of the psychoeducational counselor

As suggested by Hernández (1992), some of the criticisms concerning the role and intervention of the counselor in the school refer to the feeling reflected by the team of teaching professionals of a decrease in their own autonomy in school. carrying out their daily work.

In addition, linked to this feeling of lack of freedom of action, teachers can develop the idea that their work is limited to carrying out bureaucratic procedures, Being limited its creative capacity to realize possible innovative proposals. On the other hand, understanding the consultative group as a mediating agent between the administration and the education system can diminish the connotation of independence of the consultative figure.

Psycho-pedagogical advice at school

In Rodríguez Romero’s proposal (1992, 1996a) on the general functions of the figure of the pedagogical council in the field of education, we distinguish: training, guidance, innovation, supervision and organization .

With the exception of the supervisory function, the other four were accepted and approved without any theoretical-practical questioning. As for the monitoring function, yes there is some divergence in that the intrinsic nature of the advisory function itself it is understood that the relationship established between the consultative body and the advised body is a cooperative relationship, defined by a link between equal parties. Thus, the notion of control comes into conflict with this type of operation, the latter term being associated with a connotation of asymmetry or hierarchy, it being understood that the control body is at a higher level, while the control would be at a lower level. .

Psychopedagogical advisory teams (EAP)

As stated above, two are the main functions of psychoeducational counseling teams in the field of education:

The first is linked to an objective of solving real problems, already existing in the functioning of the daily practice of teaching. This “curative” function focuses on the problematic situation itself and aims to provide a solution at a more expedient level.

The second, refers to a more preventive objective or “training” and aims to advise the team of teachers in order to provide strategies and resources to promote the proper functioning of their professional practice and avoid future problems. Thus, the counseling does not focus on the problematic situation, but on intervening with the teaching staff to give them certain skills and competences to be practiced in their teaching work in general.

This second option is the central function of the PAE teams, even if they can also be dedicated in a complementary way to the first.

An important consideration with regard to the peculiarities of the PAE teams refers to their characterization as a highly professional and competent group in the field of educational counseling. This, associates with this figure a strong connotation of collegiality in its field of professional performance. Coming from the traditional generation of certain types of criticism related to establishing a clear and specific definition of what exactly a psycho-pedagogical counseling team is and its specific functions (role conflicts), an internal movement of assertiveness in order to combat these criticisms from other external groups.

Bibliographical references:

  • Álvarez González M., Bisquerra Alzina, R. (2012): Educational guidance. Wolters Kluwer. Madrid
  • Bisquerra, R. (1996). Origins and development of psycho-pedagogical orientation. Madrid: Narcée
  • Hervás Avilés, RM (2006). Psychopedagogical guidance and intervention and change process. Grenada: University Publishing Group.

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