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Synopsis

Ready, Set, Counsel: A Practical Guide to Being a School Counselor in the Real World, bridges the gap between theory and practice to get the reader up to speed in doing the daily job of a school counselor, including the myriad tasks that are seldom mentioned in the school counseling degree program but that comprise much of a counselor’s day. The book was written to provide practical tips in such things as organization, dealing with practices and procedures, handling difficult situations and establishing relationships with all stakeholders as well as numerous “tricks of the trade” that save time, improve visibility, build a positive reputation and increase effectiveness.

The demands on the school counseling profession and the realities of school counselor training conspire to make it difficult for new, less-experienced or struggling counselors to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Most public school systems require counselors to have taken a supervised practicum and a supervised internship course. While these courses expose the candidates to the challenges of counseling real people, they do little to prepare candidates for the real-world requirements of the job. At the same time, growing caseloads have made it harder than ever for new or struggling counselors to get time with a more experienced counselor who can “show them the ropes” and act as a coach and mentor. Ready, Set, Counsel was written to fill this void.

Unlike most of the books available on the subject of school counseling, Ready, Set, Counsel: A Practical Guide to Being a School Counselor in the Real World does not address itself to theory, curricula, or programs; nor is it limited to any grade level or subgroup of the student population. Rather, it is designed to help both new and experienced counselors at all levels become more effective by applying the book’s practical ideas on virtually every aspect of the school counselor’s job. It includes such topics as providing an office atmosphere that facilitates counseling, being organized, navigating district and school policies and procedures, and effectively dealing with the myriad everyday aspects of managing the job. The book also offers solid, practical suggestions on communication, conducting the counseling session, adopting effective behaviors, and avoiding those that impede the therapeutic relationship.

Ready, Set, Counsel was inspired by sessions that were held during class meetings with the interns that were under the author’s supervision. These sessions, at first impromptu but soon an extremely popular fixture in every class, focused exclusively on the aspects of the counseling job not taught in the guidance and counseling masters program. As a result, the book takes a very practical, “nuts and bolts” approach that emphasizes counselor actions, behaviors and activities rather than theory or counseling curricula. True to its person-to-person origins, the tone of the book is informal and personal. Speaking directly to the reader and using the author’s personal experiences as examples, Ready, Set, Counsel delivers pragmatic ways for a new or struggling counselor to take control of the job and for experienced counselors to become more effective. To quote one of the author’s former students, “I have found that what makes a good counselor is the ability to deal with the everyday challenges in a practical way, and this is exactly what Ready, Set, Counsel is all about.”

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