As a school counselor, psychologist, or social worker, having the right items in your office can make all the difference. From books to decor, certain school counseling office must-haves will help create an inviting and practical spot for you and your students. In this article, we'll cover some of the essential items to have.
School Counseling Office Decor
The visuals in your office set a tone. You want to create a warm, comforting, and functional place. Suppose you can change the lighting and add some more comfy seating. Great. If not, don't worry. Students aren't expecting a spa. Instead, focus on functional decor that will help you work with students and give them tools.
The biggest rule to follow is to keep things organized and neat. Make sure the space is not overwhelming or cluttered.
Seeing different feelings can help students identify how they feel. This set of feelings posters includes information about body language and expressions so students can also understand how they might appear to someone else. If you don't have the wall space, print four to a page and make a set of cards.
A great visual to add for counseling sessions is a life-size feelings thermometer. This tool can help students scale their emotions and brainstorm strategies. You can also use this printout.
The feelings posters go hand in hand with check-in tools. Check-ins can be feeling-based or more general, like how a student's week was. A rose-thorn-bud exercise is perfect for this.
If you have the space, create a calm corner. Combine your feelings posters, your check-in tools, and some strategy visuals; voila, you have a calm corner. Check out this post to create a calm corner in your office.
Add a where are you sign to your door so teachers and students can find you or leave a note. It is just a simple poster with the likely places you are and when you'll be back.
You can also add a request to see the counselor mailbox on your door. I know some people also have a digital version of this too.
At the door, you can have a visual for greetings. Students can choose to high five, fist bump, elbow bump, wave, or something else. Allowing students to choose is a great way to build their comfort level. The greeting also establishes rapport and communicates that social interactions are important.
Do yourself a favor and create templates for things you repeatedly do.
- Have a form you put in every student folder. For example, it might have contact information, teachers, dates seen, etc.
- Print and cut out passes and notes. Things like student pass for sessions or blank notes to teachers. For example, sending a message to a teacher about a low-priority visit with a student is helpful.
- A checklist for students who have been referred with all the tasks you go through. Maybe you reach out to parents, meet with teachers, do an observation, or hold a first meeting.
Reusable Printables for Counseling
Every session does not need to be a brand-new activity. Find the tools you can use again and again. Make copies and have them accessible.
- What activities do you do for your first session? Your last sessions?
- Are there visuals you use to help a student problem solve?
- How do you help students set goals?
- Are you more CBT-based - keep a set of CBT worksheets on hand to help a student work through specific problems or concepts.
School Counseling Games
Games in your school counseling office can be a great way to engage students, build relationships, and practice healthy coping strategies. They come in many forms, such as traditional board games, therapeutic activities designed specifically for counseling sessions, and movement-based games. Each type of game has its benefits and can help make the counseling session more fun for you and your student.
Read this post on Using Games in Counseling.
My Top 3
Traditional Games: Jenga, Candy Land, Don't Break the Ice
Movement Games: Simon Says, Freeze Dance, Mirror
Therapeautic Games: I'm in Charge of Me, Don't Take the Bait, Craft Your Own
School Counseling Art Supplies
Art supplies are a must-have in any school counseling office. Art-based activities provide an easy way for students to engage, talk, and explore challenging topics. These activities by themselves can also be a healthy, calming strategy for many students. So, first, stock the basics: paper, crayons, pencils, pipe cleaners and beads. Then, think about repeatable craft activities you can do and have those materials on hand.
School Counseling Art Supply List
grab your pipe cleaners, poms, beads, and craft paper!
Deep breathing is one of the best calming strategies you can teach your students. It's practical, and they always have it with them. However, while it is simple, students often
Social Emotional Themed Books
You likely are developing quite the collection of social-emotional-themed books in your office. Some people like to organize them by topic, but I find that most books cover more than one theme.
Instead, organize them by author or title. Then create an excel sheet where you note the different themes for each. Make things simple by marking your "go-to" books with stars on the spine. In addition, having copies of activities for these books will always provide something ready to go.
Lastly, create a lending library for teachers. You can have a list of books with possible activities. Teachers can grab the book they need along with a lesson. This is perfect for sending out a counselor newsletter.
As a school counselor, psychologist, or social worker, having the right items in your office can make all the difference. From books to decor, certain school counseling office must-haves will
School Counseling Office Must Haves
By having the right school counseling supplies in your office, you can create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere for students. Having the basics like games, art supplies, social-emotional books and activities will help make sure each session is successful. Not only that, but it also enables you to easily transition from one task to the next without scrambling to find what you need. Investing in the right school counseling supplies pays off by creating a positive environment for both you and your students!