There are many ways to engage students whether it is one to one or in groups. It is one of the best way to form a therapeutic alliance. At the beginning of every session I often ask students the following question. How can I be most helpful to you today? At the end of every session I check in with the student to see how the session went. I will often ask something like how are you feeling about what we talked about and did in session today? What is the one thing you will use as a result of our time together? This allows me to gage if I have been helpful and if there is something I said that the student connected with.
Utilize humour, creativity and whatever tools you have in your toolbox Technology can be an asset , so use what works for you. I often have students paint while we chat especially the younger students (I always ask first if they’d like to and many do). Koi paint sets are easy to use and don’t take up too much space.
Make sure your space is inviting and warm. Students enjoy coming to a space that is comforting. Ask them for ideas that will make your space a place where they will love to come to.
Get to know the student. Find their strengths and focus on what will work for them.
Finding ways to engage students is a process and throughout your years as a School Counsellor you will find many more ways to engage them. Ask more experienced counsellors what they do engage the most difficult to engage students.
It’s often more about how the student feels when they are with you. Make them feel valued and important like everything they say matters , which it does. Let them know how amazing they are.
Be present. Don’t answer your phone if it rings unless it is an emergency. There are so many ways to engage students, but most importantly be you . You entered this profession for many reasons and one of the biggest will be because you wanted to help. Be engaging and the helping will happen.