Dr. Lydia Brill-School Psychologist

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Frequently Asked Questions: This page contains answers to common questions of students and parents.
  1. What Is A School Psychologist?
  2. What Do School Psychologists Do?
  3. Where Do School Psychologists Work?

What Is A School Psychologist?

School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially,
and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents, and other
professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments
for all students that strengthen connections between home and school.

School psychologists are highly trained in both psychology and education.
They must complete a minimum of a post-Master�s degree program that includes
a year-long internship and emphasizes preparation in mental health, child
development, school organization, learning styles and processes, behavior,
motivation, and effective teaching.

School psychologists must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which
they work. They also may be nationally certified by the National School
Psychology Certification Board (NSPCB).
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What Do School Psychologists Do?

School psychologists work to find the best solution for each student and
situation and use different strategies to address student needs and to
improve school and district-wide support systems.

School psychologists work with students individually and in groups. They also
develop programs to train teachers and parents regarding effective teaching
and learning strategies, effective techniques to manage behavior at home and
in the classroom, working with students with disabilities or with special
talents, abuse of drugs and other substances, and preventing and managing

In addition, most school psychologists provide the following services.


Collaborate with teachers, parents, and administrators to find effective
solutions to learning and behavior problems.
Help others understand child development and how it affects learning and

Strengthen working relationships between teachers, parents, and service
providers in the community.


*Evaluate eligibility for special services.
*Assess academic skills and aptitude for learning.
*Determine social-emotional development and mental health status.
*Evaluate learning environments.


*Provide psychological counseling to help resolve interpersonal or family
problems that interfere with school performance.

*Work directly with children and their families to help resolve problems in
adjustment and learning.

*Provide training in social skills and anger management.

*Help families and schools manage crises, such as death, illness, or
community trauma.


*Design programs for children at risk of failing at school.

*Promote tolerance, understanding, and appreciation of diversity within the
school community.

*Develop programs to make schools safer and more effective learning

*Collaborate with school staff and community agencies to provide services
directed at improving psychological and physical health.

*Develop partnerships with parents and teachers to promote healthy school

Research and Planning

*Evaluate the effectiveness of academic and behavior management programs.
*Identify and implement programs and strategies to improve schools.
*Use evidence-based research to develop and/or recommend effective

Growing Up Is Not Easy
All children and adolescents face problems from time to time. They may:

*Feel afraid to go to school
*Have difficulty organizing their time efficiently
*Lack effective study skills
*Fall behind in their school work
*Lack self-discipline
*Worry about family matters such as divorce and death
*Feel depressed or anxious
*Experiment with drugs and alcohol
*Think about suicide
*Worry about their sexuality
*Face difficult situations, such as applying to college, getting a job, or
quitting school
*Question their aptitudes and abilities

School psychologists help children, parents, teachers, and members of the
community understand and resolve these concerns. The following situations
demonstrate how school psychologists may typically approach problems.

Family Problems

The teacher noticed that Carla, an able student, had stopped participating in
class discussions and had difficulty paying attention. The school
psychologist was asked to explore why Carla�s behavior had changed so much.
After discovering that Carla�s parents were divorcing, the school
psychologist provided counseling for Carla and gave her parents suggestions
for this difficult time. Carla�s behavior and self-esteem improved, and she
felt more secure about her relationship with her parents.

School psychologists can be trusted to help with delicate personal and family
situations that interfere with schooling.

Reading Problems

Tommy�s parents were concerned about his difficulty in reading. They feared
that he would fall behind and lose confidence in himself. In school the
teacher noticed that Tommy understood what was presented in verbal form, but
that he needed the help of his classmates to do written work. After observing
Tommy and gathering information about his reading and writing skills, the
school psychologist collaborated with his parents and teachers to develop a
plan to improve his reading and writing. The plan worked, and both Tommy�s
reading and his self-esteem improved.

School psychologists can help prevent future problems when they intervene
with learning problems early on.

A Potential Dropout

David was a high school student who often skipped class. He had very poor
behavior and had been suspended from school on various occasions for
fighting. After establishing a relationship with David, the school
psychologist taught him simple techniques to relax and to control his
aggressive behavior. David�s mother and his teacher worked together on a plan
designed by the school psychologist to establish limits and to improve

School psychologists recognize that changes in the school environment and at
home can improve the quality of life for children and their families.

The National Association of School Psychologists:
Suite 402, 4340 East West Highway,
Bethesda, MD 20814;
(301) 657-0270;

NASP represents and supports school psychology through leadership to enhance
the mental health and educational competence of all children.

This information was developed by Arlene Silva, University of Maryland school
psychology graduate student intern at the NASP office (summer 2003), with
contributions from NASP staff and leadership.
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Where Do School Psychologists Work?

The majority of school psychologists work in schools. However, they can
practice in a variety of settings including:

Public and private school systems
School-based health centers
Clinics and hospitals
Private practice
Community and state agencies, and other institutions
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Last Modified: Thursday, May 07, 2009
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