Bridging the Gap


Bridging the Gap

School–Therapy Collaboration in Trying Times

By Mary Eno

January/February 2021


Doing therapy using a systems framework has never been easy. As a colleague recounts of her early reaction to family therapy principles, “You mean we have to invite the grandmother, too?!” Cumbersome and time-consuming, intimidating and complicated, it can feel like herding cats. Yet over my four-plus decades of working as a child and family therapist and school consultant, I’ve learned that strong, invaluable supports are created when therapists collaborate with schools to help kids who are struggling. Time and again, I’ve seen that the better we understand the overlapping spheres of influence impacting a child’s life, the better the solutions we can formulate.

The devastating sweep of the pandemic has made the importance of this collaboration unavoidably evident. Families with school-aged children who were already on the poverty line and struggling to support their child’s schooling are likely to be struggling more. Similarly, school systems already disadvantaged by inadequate and overburdened teachers are grappling with how to provide safe and high-quality education for their students. Even well-resourced schools have been severely affected, with teachers and administrators pushed to their limits.

So where do we therapists fit into this new landscape? What can we do to help kids facing difficulties at school,…

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1 Comment

Wednesday, January 6, 2021 1:55:54 PM | posted by Jay Lappin
What a beautiful, well woven systemic tapestry! One that provides real-life stories and practical steps for finding the strengths in families and schools and creating a healing path forward amidst the challenges of our multiple pandemics. Thank you (I worked with Dr. Eno at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic)