School Counseling
Jennifer Carpenter Phone Icon 423.357.7221 Email Icon Email

Mount Carmel Elementary School Counseling



I hope to use this page to provide helpful information about school counseling, the counseling program here at MCES, as well as resources available at the school and in the community. Take a look around at some of the things we're doing!


What is a school counselor, and why do we need one?

When many people hear "school counselor," they typically think of one of two things. 1. Their guidance counselor from high school who helped make student schedules and talked to them about what classes to take. 2. A therapist who deals with students who have mental health issues. Either one of these thoughts usually leads to questions like "Why does an elementary school need a counselor?" and "Why does my student go to "guidance" during related arts?"

The role of a School Counselor is much more than it used to be. In fact, in many elementary school settings we don't do scheduling because students typically stay in their homeroom. Also, while it is my job to work with those students who have mental health concerns, counseling is often very different from therapy. Therapy is usually much more long-term and intensive. If your student needs therapy or long-term counseling, I would be happy to speak to you about resources in the community and surrounding areas so your student can get the help he/she needs.

Counseling as a whole is much more focused on just helping people work through common issues such as grief, depression, anger, or just any time you feel like things just aren't right in your life. Sometimes we just need someone to talk to about things that are going on, and counselors are the perfect people to help. Even kids need someone that they know they can talk to openly. Yes, I want students to be open and honest with their families about their lives, but it helps to have another trusted adult to talk to. 

Part of my job is to help students become independent and self-regulating, and I do that through a comprehensive counseling curriculum. This includes whole classroom guidance, small groups, and individual counseling as well as whole school initiatives.

Each classroom comes to my room every other week during their related arts time, and we discuss things like responsibility, respect, friendship/bullying, study skills, college and career, and many more topics. I use the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) model that includes Academic, Social/Personal, and College/Career focuses as well as the Tennessee Counseling Standards to create my classroom and small group curriculum.

I have also started conducting some small groups. These are usually 4-8 students who have a common goal. For example, I have started small group on leadership for current 4th graders and will conduct another group for rising 4th graders towards the end of the year to discuss and work on developing leadership skills. Small groups can also include students who have similar concerns such as dealing with grief/loss, anger, worry, study skills, or coping with a divorce/separation/adjusting to blended family.

I also see some student individually for MANY reasons. Often times individual sessions are incorporated into our discipline plan in an effort to help students change behavior that is causing issues. Sometimes teachers will notice that a student has been acting differently and will ask me to speak to the student. Other times students will request that I speak to them privately about some issue. It could be a friendship issue or something larger. As a School Counselor with many different duties within the school, it is not within my scope of practice to conduct long-term therapy with individuals. It is preferred to use techniques such as brief solution-focused to help students come up with a plan of action for a situation they are facing.  I also prefer Rogerian theory and Play Therapy especially when working with children. These theories are based on the idea that children are capable of self-regulation when provided with support from a trusted adult. I see myself as only a supplement to the support they are receiving at home and at school from other people in their lives.

If you have a concern about your student or about your student visiting the school counselor, please feel free to contact me.




Make a Referral

If you would like to make a referral for counseling, please choose the appropriate link below.

Student Self Referral- if you are a students and would like to see the school counselor

Parent Referral- if you would like your child to see the school counselor

Teacher Referral-if you have a student you feel would benefit from seeing the school counselor