Letter to the Editor: More Information Needed in Counseling Story


The GHS Counseling Department.

To the Editor:

Our hope as a department is to shed some different information-based light on the topic of “GHS Counselors, Students Face Challenges with Resources”.

We feel this article is based on opinion and put together in a way that could have benefited from more well-thought-out data-driven facts. We would like to address the following elements: Use of Time, Perspectives, and Role of the Counselor. 

Use of Time

We know it is difficult to meet with every one of our students within our caseload. According to the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), the ratio of counselors to students is recommended at 250:1. The reason why this number is chosen is to help a counseling department “effectively deliver a comprehensive school counseling program to better meet students’ academic, career and social/emotional needs” (ASCA, p. 193). Our curriculum includes time in front of every stakeholder in our district, from head administrators to students/parents. We try our best to fill each day to help our students in those three above-mentioned domains, but as you said it is “difficult for only four counselors to address all the needs of every student who requires help” (McCoid, 2023).


A person’s perspective shapes their reality. Sometimes a few people’s perspectives, rather than taking a data-driven approach to define what we do, can shape the perception of the many. Since there were only three people cited/discussed their opinion of the counselors/resources given/made available, this may lead the author/listener in a certain confirmation-biased direction. This approach to decision-making is “largely unintentional and often results in ignoring inconsistent information” (Casad, 2022). No other students were surveyed/polled and (to our knowledge) no other counselors/Mrs. Benak was interviewed.

This is not to discredit those quoted or how they feel, but if more data was collected it would provide more information on what occurs daily in the Counseling Office. For example, in December alone we had an unprecedented 918 visits, most of which were Registration Conferences (67% of them). This was due to the fact we were getting registrations in for the high school split next year. Last year this was not the case since registrations [typically] are in Jan/Feb. We did see 7% of our visits for Personal/Social, and this occurred over 14 school calendar days (Fig 1). This is one of the many examples where we could have given data to clarify/define outside perspectives rather than one to two students’ perspectives in a small cusp of experienced time.

Role of the School Counselor

Mr. Shostak was interviewed to discuss the importance of counseling programs taking a look at the various needs of students. He also discussed his thoughts on why students are scared to get help, reflecting on the possibility of it being “a person’s perception of what they think a counselor can or can not do” (B. Shostak, personal communication, October 2022). Resources quoted in the article mainly outlined Mrs. Ryan’s attached resources in general email communications and online resources. The amount of information and resources we can provide (both in-person and by referral) is correlated to the interaction/communication from student to counselor. 

A topic in the interview came up inquiring what advice we would give to students struggling with their mental health. Mr. Shostak answered by addressing “no one can tell you how you feel” and to the example of grief that “Feelings [grief] are more universal than the situations you’ve gone through” (B. Shostak, personal communication, October 2022). We feel the biggest takeaway quote is summed up as was stated: “It’s ok to ask for help. Our goal is to help. If we don’t know about it in some form it’s difficult for us to help” (B. Shostak, personal communication, October 2022).



American School Counselor Association (2019). The ASCA National Model: A Framework for 

School Counseling Programs, Fourth Edition. Alexandria, VA: Author.

Casad, B. J. (2022, October 6). confirmation bias. Encyclopedia Britannica.         


McCoid, C. (2023, January 10). GHS Counselors, Students Face Challenges with Resources.        

Gretna Media. https://gretnamedia.com/6607/news/ghs-counselors-students-face-challenges-with-resources/ 

Shostak, B. (2022, October 18). Personal communication [recorded interview].