In Partnership With Educational Consultants
You’re in crisis. You've done all you can at home. Your child is in danger. She has become unresponsive to your requests to set limits or talk. You know you need help, but the school counselor and your family therapist don’t seem to have any answers. You check the internet and find there are schools and programs for “at-risk” adolescents. The websites talk about caring therapy, creative milieu and residential treatment. You come across references to an Educational Consultant. The title seems unclear. You wonder if these professionals work with children suffering from learning differences or with aspirations to get into an Ivy League school.
Is this the best we can do? In this information age, many parents of at-risk adolescents aren’t aware of the professionals who can guide them through one of the most difficult, painful, and rewarding journeys their family will ever travel. When the public hears about Educational Consultants, few understand the profession and the benefits of hiring a consultant. In my 20+ years of working in Wilderness Therapy, I have come to respect Educational Consultants as partners in helping the families we serve. They provide case management as well as quality assurance.
Identifying a Good-Fit
The first goal of Educational Consultants is to assess their clients’ needs. After out-of-home placement is determined to be the necessary track, they work to match students and parents with programs and staff. Consultants take into account timing, finances, style, and culture for the family and child as well as the clinical fit. Their sophisticated knowledge ensures optimum placement that takes into consideration these detailed nuances. From the initial contact, families have an advocate and ally they can rely on throughout their child’s entire treatment process.
Educational Consulting offers families a parallel process with the therapeutic process. They communicate knowledge gathered from home professionals and family to program staff. In order to match the needs of their clients, consultants place children and families with specific therapists and staff. Quality educational consulting welds the knowledge of the child, the family, and the therapeutic programs into a cohesive whole. After admission to a program, the consultant offers opinions and direction to the treating therapist from a larger, systemic vantage point. If a family is struggling with staff or policies, the consultant can advocate for the family, and support the family in addressing these concerns with the program. Or the consultant may choose to redirect the family and encourage them to trust in the process, and the proven and effective treatment being offered. Consultants are intensely involved during the Wilderness or assessment phase of treatment. When the family moves to an aftercare program, the consultant continues to monitor progress and maintains communication with the family and the program. They follow the process through until the eventual discharge of the child when plans are made for reintegration into the family or independent living. When I started doing Wilderness Therapy two decades ago, I thought Educational Consultants were annoying interlopers. I questioned why they were so invested in long-term treatment. Weren’t they aware of the amazing progress our students were making? It took me about 6 months of watching and monitoring the students who went home before I learned that their recommendations were based on experience and wisdom.
Quality Assurance Advocate
Educational Consultants offer a reference point for families to ensure that programs accurately reflect the services and programming offered. A good consultant is aware of a variety of programs and recommends safe, qualified programs with excellent staff. Educational Consultants have their ear to the ground, never merely relying on marketing brochures, websites, or outdated program information. They personally visit new and existing programs to monitor and keep abreast of current trends. More than a “human search engine,” an Educational Consultant is the glue, the lubricant, the wall, the sounding board, the compass, and the gear that makes the process effective. Evoke Therapy Programs values working with dedicated, skilled, and caring members of the Independent Educational Consulting profession.