The Importance of Self Care

I think that all counselors MUST have an outlet that honors their spirit. Counselors must remember to take time for themselves.

I honor myself by taking photographs. I like the idea of being able to capture a moment of time, and share it with others. I would like to start sharing those photos with you.

You may honor yourself by gardening, painting, singing, playing an instrument, knitting, baking, running (ug!), meditating, or any practice that makes you feel good about yourself.

Counselors must model self-care. If you aren’t doing this, you cannot be an effective therapist.

Posted in Counseling Insights | Leave a comment

Mrs. McCain – 3rd Grade

Mrs. Opal McCain, 3rd Grade

My grandmother was a third grade teacher.  This was way back in the day when teachers were respected by both parents & students.  Mrs. McCain ran a tight ship.  As you can see by her yearbook photo, she does NOT stand for ANY tomfoolery or horseplay.  However, she was loved by her student, the administration, and especially the parents.

If you got in trouble in her classroom, you could be sure that your parents would know before the end of the school day.  This was the time when people would say, “when I was in school, if I got in trouble I would also get in bigger trouble at home!”

I wish that were still true today.  As a school counselor I have seen so many parents be rude to teachers and accuse them of poor teaching.  It is a shame, and I am sure Mrs. Opal McCain would not stand for it!

So going through some of my grandmother’s old papers, I found this gem.

Look!  The parents took responsibility.  They talked with their child.  They worked out a solution and agreed to suffer the consequences!  Also, the parent recognized that the student was using his eyes as a “CRUTCH”!  She said, “he has to learn to live with it”.  WOW!

Posted in Counseling Insights | Leave a comment

How Dr. Moon Creates a Lesson

One of my students asked me:

Our school system is requiring all teachers to complete a minimum of one lesson concerning suicide with our students. Our counselor went through some basic information with us in about 10 minutes at a faculty meeting. Considering that I am working on my counseling degree, I wanted to do better than mediocre with this. Do you have any suggestions for resources or an idea of how best to start such a lesson?

This is a great question.  The best part of the question is that the counselor recognized the need for more education.  This is the mark of an excellent counselor.  You must be able to recognize the needs in your school and decide how you will meet that need.

This is my response:

Good for you!  I am glad that you see a need and want to fill it. That, my dear, is the mark of an excellent counselor.  When I want to start something, I educate myself first. I always do a Google search.  I try to be super specific, like:

suicide resources for high school counselors

suicide resources for elementary students

suicide lessons for …………

school counselor lessons on suicide

suicide faculty professional development

suicide educational PowerPoints

I then head over to YouTube, and do similar searches.  People like to watch videos, so find some that might work well in the lesson.

So then I sift through everything and take bits of good info from everywhere.  I cut and paste into a word doc or I make notes.  This word doc is just info and ideas.  Even if I have cut and pasted directly, I am not going to be plagiarizing because eventually I am going to write it in my own words.

From there, I began to create my lesson, brochure, handout, or whatever else you want to make.




Posted in Counseling Tips, Lesson Plans, Student Questions | Leave a comment

I Listen Lesson: TALKING


This lesson focuses on talking.  Students will make a pocket book that will teach them how to react in uncomfortable situations!

Posted in Counseling Insights | Leave a comment

I Listen Lesson: LYING PART 2

Posted in Counseling Insights | Leave a comment

I Listen Lesson: WORDS & FEAR

Most adults shy away from talking about issues regarding race, ethnicity, and religion.  This is because they don’t know what to say, afraid to cause “a stir”, or feel as if they are alone in discussing these issues.

Students need to feel free to talk about confusing issues. They lack the maturity to process what they are seeing at home, on TV, or the internet.

Hopefully this lesson will help you become more comfortable in discussing uncomfortable issues.  Even if you are not confident, “act as if!”  You CAN do this!

I am rooting for you all the way.  Do not be afraid to be the light in the darkness!

Posted in Counseling Insights | Leave a comment

Free Poster! All Children Are Worthy

Posted in Counseling Insights | Leave a comment

All Children are Worthy!

Due to recent political events, school counselors are in an unusual position.  We are the heart of the school, and it is up to us to educate both our faculty and students on proper behavior.

Talking about what is happening makes us (adults) uncomfortable.  We are not used to discussing issues such as race and religion in our schools.  Our classroom rules encourage everyone to “work together nicely”.  If a slur occurs, we may say, “That’s not nice, say you are sorry.”  However, we rarely explain why a slur isn’t nice or why it is hateful.

Due to our discomfort, we may skirt the issue.  This is because we:

  • Don’t know what to say
  • Don’t want to get into trouble with the administration
  • Feel alone in trying to teach these issues
  • Don’t want conflict that might eventually involve parents
  • Feel that school and religion don’t mix
  • Feel that we don’t have the skills to lead such a conversation.

These are all valid fears.  As counselors we must become comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Remember during your training, there would often be long periods of silence during a counseling session.  Remember how uncomfortable that initially felt?  Over time, you learned how to use the silence as a therapeutic tool.  Once that happened, you were no longer uncomfortable.

This is the same feeling.

I am working on a lesson plan to help you talk with your students about racism, bigotry, race, religion, & ethnicity.  I hope it will help you in your work as a school counselor.

I am sure more issues will be coming in the future.  It is my personal goal to be in the fray with you, providing you with fresh, relevant materials.  Remember, we can ALL be good citizens!

Posted in Counseling Insights | Leave a comment

I Listen Lessons: Lying Part 1

After hearing the term “alternate truth” bandied about in the news, I became VERY concerned.  One of the main jobs of a School Counselor is to teach children the importance of truth.  Being a good citizen means telling the truth, even when it is uncomfortable.

I found a quote that stated, “Denying the truth does not change the facts.”

In my I Listen Lesson series, I have decided to focus several lessons on lying and truth.  Please help me spread the word about this free program for counselors, teachers, or any adult that chooses to listen.

Posted in Counseling Insights | Leave a comment

Zen Junk

I’ve been cleaning out the basement in my parent’s house.  The basement is a treasure trove of stuff dating back to my great grandmother.  It is great fun to open boxes I wasn’t allowed near as a child!

I’ve found lots of creepy things.  A doll from 1940 with half of her face covered in mold.  I also found another doll that has the blinky eyes. I guess the iris was painted on, but it had flaked off.  So when she opened her eyes, it was all white.  Weird.

(not the actual doll, just to give you an idea)

Boxes and boxes of old photos.  No one really knows who the people in the photos are. Isn’t that strange.  The people had full lives, and now they have faded away.  All that is left of my grandparents memoribilia fits into 2 plastic tubs.

So I was being very Zen and I started thinking about my own life in relation to the stuff.  One day I too will fade away.  However, my life can be worth something if one person breathes easier because of me.  Then I will never fade away.

To reach this lofty goal, I will need to challenge myself to make a difference.  Counselors, I challenge you.  Stand up.  Make a difference in your school and community.  Become someone who refuses to “go gently into that good night“.


Posted in Counseling Insights | Leave a comment