Training Confident School-Based Consultants: The Role of Course Content, Process, and Supervision

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Abstract

Consultation competency is a critical component of health services psychology training, as consultation permeates all aspects of service delivery. Despite the increasing importance of consultation as a form of service delivery, school-based preservice-level consultation training has historically lacked rigor. Many components of training may contribute to psychology graduates’ confidence to consult in schools. The purpose of this study was to investigate the contribution of specific consultation training components (i.e., coursework, competencies included in training, field experiences, supervision, and models) to the development of confidence to consult in early career school psychology practice. Data were collected as part of a larger study on early career school psychologists’ consultation training and practices (n = 262). Bivariate correlations, repeated-measures analysis of variance, and a multiple regression model were estimated to fulfill the purpose of the study. Results indicated (a) exposure to given consultation models were positively correlated with confidence consulting with different types of consultees, (b) respondents had varying levels of confidence consulting with different types of consultees, and (c) quantity of coursework, supervision strategies, and exposure to formal consultation models emerged as significant predictors of confidence to consult at graduation. Recommendations for consultation training include (a) coverage of systems-level consultation and team-based consultative problem solving, increasingly common contexts for consultation in contemporary schools; (b) implementation of applied experiences and supervision in tandem for the development of consulting confidence; and (c) inclusion of formal models of consultation in consultation training. Limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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