avigating one’s way through adolescence has never been easy, and never harder than it is today. As concerns grow about the emotional and physical well-being of adolescents, study after study shows the central importance of a relationship with a caring adult to a young person's development. Parents and students seek out independent schools, with their small classes and involved faculty, to offer these relationships.
The Stanley H. King Counseling Institute offers a model of teaching counseling and listening skills to teachers, advisors, administrators, and other school personnel. Our goal is not to train professional counselors, but to help teachers strengthen and deepen their relationships with students. Participants learn to help students with the range of developmental issues, as well as to recognize serious psychological difficulty and seek appropriate help.
For over forty years, teachers from independent schools across the United States and beyond have gathered for intensive, week-long workshops led by experienced mental health and counseling professionals familiar with the independent school world to learn how to listen in a new way.
Students look to teachers all the time for guidance, whether they are aware of it or not. Whether we are aware of it or not in any given moment, we are guiding them by our responses, our actions, and our inactions. Students’ needs are both evident and hidden, and they seek adults who can handle feelings and experiences they sometimes can’t. The Counseling Institute teaches participants how to listen deeply and to respond in ways that promote learning, meaningful relationships, and responsible behavior.
The power of the Counseling Institute is not only in its formal curriculum, but also in the relationships among the participants. Whether we are gathered in the large group, looking more closely at issues in a small group, or listening to each other in pairs, our work is about learning to connect in ways that help students. Along the way, we, too, feel more connected to each other and to our work.