Monday, October 22, 2018

Please Don't call them Guidance Counselors

As I mentor many HS students I was recently in email contact with the HS contact for projects and I noticed that the sign off was

Allie Downey
Guidance School Counselor

This piqued my interest so I emailed her asking why the cross out.

She was delighted to answer! Here is her email:

Thank you, but “Guidance Counselor” is an outdated term.  It is from a time before there was the American School Counselor Association, before the profession required at least a  Masters degree, and before there was a nationally recognized comprehensive school counseling program. Guidance is a service; school counseling is a program.  This is a great website that explains it even better here

Thank you for taking the time to ask.  Anyone in the profession today prefers the term School Counselor and I always appreciate when people inquire.

I asked her further about the difference and here is what she said:

Everyone  in a young person’s life offers guidance in some fashion.  School counselors still provide guidance classroom lessons (such as bully prevention and character development), but we do so much more.  We help students develop their academic abilities and study skills.  We assist them and their families in college and career planning.  We teach coping skills so students can guide themselves.  We ask questions to help these young adults discover the answers on their own.  We help students learn how to advocate for themselves.  We console.  We mediate.  We learn and adapt with changing climates.  We work with families, faculty, and community members to make sure school is a safe place for students to learn and grow. And this is all before the lunch bell. It is an amazing profession and I am proud to call myself a school counselor.


  1. secretaries are now "administrative assistants"

    garbage men are now "sanitation engineers"

    students with ADD, ADHD, bipolar disorder, etc. are now "neurodiverse students"

    seems like people can call themselves whatever words they want to these days, but it doesn't change what they do or are

  2. Secetaries were people who typed up your papers, fetched your coffee, booked your travel. It was an important job; however, technology has made it so that many people do these things themselves.

    Admin assistants do very different things than secretaries and often need some kind of degree (which I dont' think secretaries did).

    Do people really call Garbarge Men Sanitation engineers or is that a joke/meme that is not really true? I ask non-rhetorically.

    I have never heard the term neurodiverse, though I suspect I will in the future. That is unfortuanate since ADD, ADHD, bipoloar disorder are DIFFERENT things so it would be bad to lump them all into the same category.

    As for the original topic: Guidance vs school, I think the post itself (the part written by Allie) does tell what they do that is different.

    Secretaries and admin assistants really are different

    Guideance C's and School C's really are different

    so good they have diff names.

    bill g.

  3. Much respect for school counselors and what they do.
    At the same time, saying "Anyone in the profession today prefers the term School Counselor" seems a bit odd; I know people in the profession who still use the title Guidance Counselor.