Papers - Others‎ > ‎

(INGRAM + 2003)

I Can See the Tops of Trees:Building Collaborative Relationships with Students, Teachers and Parents

Michael Anthony Ingram

The school counselor has an array of responsibilities within the school environment. One important responsibility is building collaborative relationships with students, teachers and parents. This article examines the school counselor’s role and challenges in building these working alliances. It also presents a counselor empathy model that can be utilized to strengthen empathic bonds in school relationships.

"The school counselor’s role requires that school counselors possess many of the following proficiencies: 
  •  A working knowledge of the differences, as well as similarities, that exist between students, teachers and parents (Davis & Garrett, 1998; Helms & Ibrahim, 1985; Wilgus & Shelley, 1988); 
  • the ability to provide feedback that will be helpful in building better communication patterns between each group and ultimately enhance students’ performance levels (Schmidt, 1996); 
  • and an empathic understanding of the feelings behind the experiences of the aforementioned groups (Kottler & Kottler, 1993; Kottler & Kottler, 2000)."

American School Counselor Association. (2001).
National Standards for Schoo Counseling Programs.
Retrieved November 10, 2001, from

Barber, N. (2001). Marital opportunity, parental investment, and teen birth rates of Blacks and Whites in American states. Cross-Cultural Research: The Journal of Comparative Social Science, 35(3), 263-279.

Blum, L. (1986). Building constructive counselor and teacher relationships. Elementary School Guidance & Counseling, 20(4), 236-239.

Boyd, W. L., & Raffel, L. (1992). Urban education today. Journal of Planning Today, 5(1), 23 - 24.

Bronfenbrenner, U., McClelland, P., Wethington, E., & Moen, P. (1996). The state of Americans: This generation and the next. New York: The Free Press.

Campbell, C. (1993). Strategies for reducing parent resistance to consultation in the schools. Elementary School Guidance & Counseling, 28(2), 83-91.

Clark, A. J. (1995). Rationalization and the role of the school counselor. The School Counselor, 42(4), 283-291.

Colbert, R.D. (1996). The counselor's role in advancing school and family partnerships. School Counselor, 44(2) 100-104.

Cormier, W. H., & Cormier, L. S. (1991). Interviewing strategies for helpers: Fundamental skills and cognitive behavioral interventions (3rd ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co.

Davis, K., & Garrett, M. T. (1998). Bridging the gap between school counselors and teachers: A proactive approach. Professional School Counseling, 1(5), 54-55.

Edwards, D.L., & Foster, M.A. (1995). Uniting the family and school systems: A process of empowering the school counselor. School Counselor, 42(4), 277-282

Garcia, J. G., & Zea, M.C. (1997). (Eds.). Psychological interventions and research with Latino populations. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Garretson, D. J. (1993). Psychological misdiagnosis of African Americans. Journal of Multicultural Counseling & Development ,21(2), 119-126.

Ginter, E.J., Scalise, J. J., & Presse, N. (1990). The elementary school counselor's role: Perceptions of teachers. School Counselor, 38(1), 19-23

Griffin. D. (1994). Educational incentive programs and at-risk students: An integration of research and an initial examination of one incentive program, Project Choice. Dissertation Abstracts International, 55(06), 1461. (UMI No. 9429098).

Griffith, J. (1997). Relation of parental involvement, empowerment and school traits to student academic performance. Journal of Educational Research, 90(1), 33-41.

Helms, B. J. & Ibrahim, F. A. (1985). A comparison of counselor and parent perceptions of the role and function of the secondary school counselor. The School Counselor, 32(4), 266-274.

Ingram, M. (1997). A secondary school incentive program: A program evaluation including comparison of attitudes of students, parents and teachers (monetary incentives). Dissertation Abstracts International, 58, (12A), 4567. (UMI No. 9819502).

Ingram, M. A. (2000a). Shelling beans and other collected poems. Corvallis, OR: Pacific Design Team.

Ingram, M. A. (2000, October 13) Socio-cultural empathic counseling. Retrieved December 5, 2002, from

Ingram, M., & Moule, J. (2001). Considerations for culturally competent work samples. In L. M. Cohen & A. A. Foshay (Eds.), Writing a work sample (pp. 20-22). Cincinnati, OH: Thompson Learning.

Ivey, A.E., Ivey, M.B., & Simek-Morgan, L. (1997). Counseling and psychotherapy: A multicultural perspective (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Keys, S. G., & Lockhart, E.J. (1999). The school counselor's role in facilitating multisystemic change. Professional School Counseling, 3(2), 101-107.

Kottler, J. A., & Kottler, E. (1993). Teacher as counselor. Newbury Park: Corwin Press.

Kottler, J. A., & Kottler, E. (2000). Counseling skills for teachers. Thousand Oaks, CA, US: Corwin Press, Inc.

Kokotovic, A. M., & Tracey, T. J. (1990). Working alliance in the early phase of the counseling. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 37, 16-21.

Lapan, R.T., Gysbers, N.C., & Petroski, G.F. (2001). Helping seventh graders be safe and successful: A statewide study of the impact of comprehensive guidance and counseling programs. Journal of Counseling & Development, 79(3), 320-330.

Lewis, W. (1996). A proposal for initiating family counseling interventions by school counselors. School Counselor, 44(2), 93-99.

Littrell, J. M., & Sunde Peterson, J. (2001). Transforming the school culture: A model based on an exemplary counselor. Professional School Counseling, l 4(5), 310-319.

Marchant, G.J., Paulson, S. E., & Rothlisberg, B.A. (2001). Relations of middle school students' perceptions of family and school contexts with academic achievement. Psychology in the Schools, 38(6), 505-519.

Martin, L. (1991). Improving student attendance with recognition, rewards. NASSP Bulletin, 75, 111-122.

Martin, N.K., & Baldwin, B. (1996). Helping beginning teachers for foster healthy classroom management: Implications for elementary school counselors. Elementary School Guidance & Counseling, 31(2), 106-113.

Martin-Shore, R. (1996). Personalization – Working to curb violence in an American high school. Phi Delta Kappan, 77(5), 362-363.

Murray, B. A. (1995). Validating the role of the school counselor. The School Counselor, 43(1), 5-9.

National Center for Education Statistics. Dropout Rates in the United States: 1995. Retrieved October 21, 2001 from

Nelson, R. (1991). The counselor as reinforcer. The School Counselor, 39(2), 68-76.

Noddings, N. (1991). Stories in dialogue: Caring and interpersonal reasoning. In C. Witherell & N. Noddings (Eds.), Stories lives tell: Narrative and dialogue in education, (pp. 157-170). New York: Teachers College Press.

Nunn, G. D., & Parish, T. (1992). The psychological characteristics of at-risk high school students, Adolescence, 27 (106), 435-440.

Pedersen, P.B., Draguns, J.G., Lonner, W.J, & Trimble, J.E. (1996). Counseling across cultures (4th ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Reed, S., & Saulter, R. C. (1990). Children of poverty. Phi Delta Kappan, 71(1), 1-12.

Reese, S. (2001). Setting the course. Techniques: Connecting education and careers, 76(7), 20-23.

Rogers, C. (1980). A way of being. Boston: Houghton Miflin.

Safer, D. (1986). The stress of secondary school for vulnerable students. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 15(5), 405-417.

Schmidt, J. J. (1996). Counseling in schools: Essentials services and comprehensive programs. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Smith, E. P., Connell, C. M., Wright, G., Sizer, M., Norman, J., Hurley, A., & Walker, S. N. (1997). An ecological model of home, school and community partnerships: Implications for research and practice. Journal of Educational & Psychological Consultation, 8(4), 339-360.

Sue, D.W., & Sue. D. (1990). Counseling the culturally different: Theory and practice (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley.

Torbert, E. M. (1998). Redefining parental involvement in a diverse society: A sociocultural perspective of African-American families and how it affects their children's social and academic success. Dissertation Abstracts International, 59(5-A), 1462. (UMI No. 9833742).

Uba, L. (1994). Asian Americans: Personality patterns, identity, and mental health. New York: Guilford Press.

Vickers, H. S., & Minke, K. M. (1995). Exploring parent and teacher relationships: Joining and communication to others. School Psychology Quarterly, 10(2), 133-150.

Walborn, F.S. (1996). Process variables: Four common elements of counseling and psychotherapy. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.

Wilgus, E., & Shelley, V. (1988). The role of the elementary counselor: Teacher perceptions, expectations and actual functions. School Counselor, 35(4), 259-266.

Yager, G.G., Ochlteree. J.K., & Brekke, D. (1975, April). Cognitive self-modeling approach vs. Carkhuff model for empathy training. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association, Washington, D.C. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No 106726).