Name: Jackie Harlan
Title: Psychological Assistant, IMFT
School: The Chicago School, Irvine
How did you hear about Outreach? I was referred to Outreach Concern by a friend who had previously done her Master’s practicum with them.
What are some other roles you play in life you would like to share? I have been married for 15 years. I have a 14 year old son and an 11 year old daughter. I am a registered psychological assistant and work in a private practice in Fountain Valley; I am also a registered MFT intern. I am a second year Clinical Psychology Psy.D student. When I have some free time (which is rare!) I love to travel and visit new places with my family.
What led to your decision to be a school counselor with us? I enjoy working with kids and their families. I think education is very important and I want to give the kids and their parents tools to make them successful in life. Early intervention in crucial in their future success.
What are some key elements needed while working with children and adolescents in this role ? It is important to treat each child as an individual. Realizing that no two kids are alike will help them grow as individuals. Two children may have the same problem at school but there may be completely different extenuating circumstances that lead each child to behave in a certain way. All parents and homes are different, just as the kids and how they process things are different. Being able to meet the child right where they are, being a good role model for them, and letting them know they are safe to be open and honest with you will illicit the best results for the child.
How do you identify change in clients? I speak to teachers and parents, ask a lot of questions , watch the child on the playground and classroom, and check on their grades. If I see improvements from what their baseline behaviors and grades were then I know something is working.
How can this practicum/internship experience help you in your future working in the mental health field? This has been a great experience. I have learned a lot from the kids and my supervisors, but I have also learned a lot about myself that I will take from this. I have gained confidence working with this population, and I have also learned a lot of new techniques that I will use in the future. I also like that it was more like a private practice setting since that is my future career goal.
What words of wisdom can you share with future candidates of Outreach Concern? Some kids will take a long time to trust you, and other will trust you from the minute you meet them. Meet each child right where they are and just be there for them. Sometimes that means listening, sometimes that means holding them accountable, sometimes that will mean helping them work through a life issue, and other times that will mean giving them the social and academic tools they need to make friends. We don’t always know what a child’s home life is like; you may be the only positive role model they have. Embrace that and make sure the child knows they are important to you.