Paul De Sena is a professor of counselor education and was chairperson of the Department of Education for eight years, co-director of the School Psychology program for six years and director of Counselor Education for 37 years. He has served on many professional boards, and he is a consultant to several school districts in the Los Angeles area. In 2013 De Sena was inducted into Stanford’s H.B. McDaniel Hall of Fame, which recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the counseling profession. In May, he was named the recipient of the 2014 Loyola Marymount University Rains Award for Excellence in Service. He was interviewed by LMU Magazine Editor Joseph Wakelee-Lynch.
What skills or abilities can school counselors provide that no other professional in the school setting can offer?
Counselors are the primary human development experts in schools. The important thing counselors are able to give students is nurturing. Students at all levels need someone who listens to their concerns, understands their concerns, accepts them because of their concerns, and guides them to help them resolve their concerns. We need that nurturing in the schools, because connected to bullying, drug use, gang problems and violence is a lack of people that students can go to who will hear and understand them. It’s important to deal with the social and emotional aspects of children if we’re going to make them receptive to the academic work in schools. Middle school and high school students all carry with them a great deal of social and emotional turmoil simply because of the adjustments they have to make. There are tremendous stresses at that age, beginning in middle school.
Read the full LMU Magazine interview.
(Photo by Jon Rou)