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Confident Counselors

Small Group Counseling: Organize and Run Successful Groups

16 Tips for Organizing and Running Small Group Counseling

Small group counseling can be a useful and effective intervention in a school counselor’s repertoire. But, woah can they be challenging to organize and run at first. With over 100 years of practice between all of us, we figured some of our tested tips would be mighty handy as you are beginning or considering your groups. Please contribute some of your tips in the comments below so we all walk more confidently into that room of five defiant third grade boys needing some support with impulse control.

Organizing: Permission Slips, Schedules, Session Plans. Ugh.

Don’t be tempted to make large group sizes in order to allow more students in a group. Think about your space, the personalities and behaviors of the students in the group and the activities planned. – Counselor Up

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Group Counseling, Monthly CCC Tips

Back to School Resources for School Counselors

Back to School Resources for School Counselors by School Counselors

Back to School season is here and our to-do list has gotten absurdly long. We may personally pay for three post-it employees salaries. True story.

To make life a bit easier, we went through and collected the best products for back to school and pinned the best selling counseling products from tons of stores.

For some freebie love, check out the Counselors on TPT ebook (freebie link on every page), and this board, and every Confident Counselors Store.

It’s time to kick some back to school tush. Be Confident.

What is your favorite back to school resource?

Leave a comment and follow us on instagram or pinterest.

Back to School Resources for School Counselors from School Counselors


10 Back to School Tips for School Counselors

Back to School Tips for School Counselors

Once we have forgotten how great sleeping in feels, we definitely believe this is the best time of year. The slate is wiped clean. We get to start another year, more experienced and more confident.

So hold your head high, bring those shoulders back, and bookmark these 10 tips with comments from your favorite Confident Counselors.

Start with the Foundation

Meet with your administration and counselors to fill out and sign ASCA’s Annual Agreement — Stephanie, Bilingual Learner

Conduct a Needs Assessment. Your entire program should be built off of the needs of your students, teachers, and parent— Heather, The Helpful Counselor

Set Goals, S.M.A.R.T. Ones

Make a plan for the year and write it down— Rebecca, Counselor Up

Get in the habit of keeping to a schedule. Time can slip away, so be sure to budget your time wisely! Prioritize! — Counselor Traci R. Brown

Everything Has Its Place

Print, laminate, and organize all materials you think you will need during the first semester. When things get hectic, you’ll feel prepared knowing those materials are ready to go! — Keri, Counselor Keri 

As much as I hate spending a summer day (or two) at school prepping, I always feel better starting the year with all of my new supplies & office in order. Permission slips and bulletin boards for new students groups are done before the kids start. Being organized allows me to be available for student issues those first few days — Gretchen, Speckled Moose Counseling

Create caseload list and “frequent fliers”. Organize it by grade/class and issue (e.g., emotional regulation, anxiety, study skills, social skills). This is your jumping off point for creating your first round of counseling groups — Laurie Mendoza,  School Counseling Files

I have craft activities that go along with lessons, but it is a ton of prep work. I have found kids LOVE to help, especially 6th grade girls! Kids sign up to be on the The Helper Squad. They are eager to help and it makes them feel good doing a service for others. Some of my favorite times are being with these kids helping me prepare something fun to add to my lesson — Jodi, The School Counselor Is In


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Monthly CCC Tips

August Blog Run Down

August Words of Wisdom for Back to School from our Favorite School Counseling Bloggers

CCC Blog-Back to School Images.004How School Counselors Get Ready for Back to School

5 Things to Do in Your First Weeks as a New CounselorRebecca, Counselor Up: 5 Things to Do in Your First Week as a New School Counselor

Heather, The Helpful Counselor: 20 Things School Counselors Should Do Before School Starts

Carol Miller, The Middle School Counselor: 10 Things to Do for Back to School

StephanieBilingual Learner: Back to School for ESL Teachers and Counselors

Counselor Traci R. Brown: Back to School Series: Must Have Items

Entirely Elementary School Counseling: Beginning School Counselor-What Your Need to Know

Don’t forget Confident Counselors Top Ten Tips for Back to School

Meet the School Counselor Lessons

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Ultimate School Counselor Supply List

Ultimate Back to School Supply List for School Counselors

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. 

Ultimate List of School Counselor Supplies. Definitely bookmark this one.

Toys & Games

Classical children’s games can be adapted easily for counseling. There are a ton of blog posts and TPT Products for just this purpose. For some beginning ideas, check out Carol Miller, The Middle School Counselor’s post about using games in school counseling, and Marissa over at Elementary School Counseling’s ideas about creating your own. It can be as simple as giving a strategy when you get an orange card in Candy Land™, use positive self-talk when you go down a chute in Chutes and Ladders™ or get skipped in Uno™.

  • Typical games like Operation™, Jenga™, or Pickup Sticks can be used to work on impulse control. Jenga is the ultimate chameleon counseling game. Perfect for an intro small group activity where students say something about themselves each time they pull out a block. Check out these great products on TPT to bring your Jenga game up a notch.

For Younger Students

It is important to consider that younger students need games with little or no reading and simple directions. Definitely pick up Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. For groups, also consider Zingo™, Don’t Break the Ice™ or Honey Bee Tree™. Younger groups love playing these games cooperatively and they are fast paced enough to keep them engaged.

Perfect for Small Groups

Also pick up some Legos™, Play Doh™ with tools, finger puppets, and a deck of cards, and check out resources created by Confident Counselors


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This is made for you.

You know that so often in our schools, we are all alone in our jobs without a collaborative professional community. PD sessions are often not designed for us, the weekly email from the principal is meant for the teachers, and we are spending hours trying to figure out how to do our jobs better.

Once upon a time, there were some school counselors, school psychologists, social workers, and other awesome school superheroes spending a lot of time by themselves making resources, giving advice to colleagues, consulting with school staff, and scouring the internet for the latest and greatest things to help our schools and students. Through the magic of the internet, we found ourselves reaching past our schools, and sharing this knowledge in our own online stores, on Facebook groups, and in Twitter chats. Soon we were answering questions, asking questions, and sharing with people all over the globe. One of us has even published a book (two books, actually)! We will get to our individual accolades as we get to know each other. Bragging isn’t something school counselors do.

So hit subscribe. Be Confident.