What is a Consultation with a Psychologist ?

What is a Consultation ?

Consultation is a collaborative solution-finding process during which the different skills, knowledge and perspectives of the participants in the process are used to search for solutions. It involves listening, clarifying, solution-finding, challenging, questioning and reflecting.

Psychologists look to facilitate different ways of constructing and deconstructing ‘the problem’ in order to bring about positive change.

Why Consultation ?

It is purposeful, using techniques rooted in psychological theory. It can be applied with individuals, and groups across a range of areas.

It is a helpful process for  initial meetings, as well as for agreeing decisions about the intervention/s.Consultation is also ideal for reflecting on intervention and also reviewing next steps.

Consultation helps participants to clarify the issue, recognises what is already working well and facilitates joint solution-finding. Participants take ownership of the issue and it enables them to develop skills to help manage similar situations in the future, thus enhancing their own competency and resilience.

The evidence base for consultation highlights that it leads to improved outcomes for participants, including adults and children/young people.

When used in schools, it sits well with the SEND Code of Practice by supporting the Assess, Plan, Do, Review process.

As well as applying our psychological understanding to individual children and young people, we also work at a group and/or organisational level.  For example, thinking with school staff about how to effectively manage bullying at an individual, class and whole school level.  We may run groups which involve parents, staff or children.  We may also work at an organisational level to develop working practices, to manage organisational change and to assist in the formulation of policy.

As psychologists we bring our knowledge of psychology to help people analyse and make sense of real world situations experienced by children young people and those who live and work with them.

How does the Consultation process work ?

Consultation can be used to explore issues/concerns related to:

  • Whole group/school policies/approaches
  • Year groups/classes / vulnerable groups
  • Individual children and young people

Consultations take place with those people most concerned, who are motivated and best placed to facilitate change. In schools, this will usually include the adult/s – such as Parents/Carers, Class Teacher/Head of Year and SENCo.

Sometimes, a young person will join in too. All participants will bring their expertise and experience  to the Consultation.

The Psychologist’s role is to facilitate the process and contribute from their psychological knowledge base.

Everyone has the opportunity and responsibility to negotiate next steps.