Use specialist staff



Intervention Family

Relational Interventions

Use Specialist Staff

Relational interventions delivered by staff with special training in mental health, social work, counseling, or youth development show stronger effects on self-regulation than those provided by laypersons, classroom teachers, or researchers. In our evidence base, the most successful relational interventions tended to be delivered by master’s level counselors or therapists with degrees in social work, counseling, or psychology, though a few interventions used program specialists with experience serving youth. Delivery staff in the more successful interventions also tended to have prior experience working in public schools as counselors or teachers for the priority population. In instances where delivery staff had less experience or education, such as graduate students in a counseling program or youth workers without a clinical degree, they were supervised by psychologists or school counselors. These types of service delivery staff share a few characteristics that may make them more effective:

Individuals with skills and training in therapy, counseling, and working effectively with youth may be better equipped to help young people reframe and reinterpret social situations and understand and manage their emotional responses to them. Many of the programs in our evidence base used specific therapeutic strategies, such as play therapy and reality therapy, that require special training to implement. Specialized training for youth workers, including those without clinical degrees, can give them a deeper understanding of the cognitive, social, and emotional developmental trajectories among youth, which in turn enables them to develop therapeutic relationships and better understand the particular issues faced by the children and youth in their care. Staff with these qualifications may be employed by the school or school district, or by organizations external to the school. In either case, they may be more effective than other types of delivery personnel because providing counseling or therapy is a core part of their job function. For example, a school psychologist will likely see implementing a counseling intervention as a key part of her role in the school, while a teacher may not.