Spotlight: Looking Glass School Based Therapists

 Looking Glass School Based Therapist, Alicia Pruitt, stands outside of the office she uses to meet with her youth clients at Howard Elementary School.

Looking Glass School Based Therapist, Alicia Pruitt, stands outside of the office she uses to meet with her youth clients at Howard Elementary School.

For more than 20 years, Looking Glass has embedded therapists inside schools in Lane County, providing students from elementary, middle and high schools with a safe space to discuss anything that is on their minds. School Based Therapists, as they're called, are now embedded in 30 schools in Eugene, Springfield, Bethel and Junction City school districts. Most of the therapists work at the schools 1 to 2 days per week and spend the rest of their time working out of one of several Looking Glass outpatient offices, either at the main office on East 11th, the Springfield office or our counseling program offices in West or North Eugene.

Mental Health Therapist, Lynn Booth, who oversees the School Based Therapist program says the program has grown widely over the years mostly because of the accessibility for the students and the integrated nature of the therapists within the school infrastructure. "It's a great way to meet the clients where they are," Booth explained. "It can sometimes take a year or two to build relationships and trust with school staff and administration, so it’s important that we have a constant presence from school year-to-year so that students and staff feel comfortable with us."

School based therapists maintain regular hours and have designated meeting spaces or offices at the schools. The therapists encounter a range of topics with their clients but often deal with subjects including home and family life issues, foster care system challenges, divorce life adjustment, grief and loss, behavioral problems, suicidal tendencies and self-harm issues as well as depression and anxiety.

"Sometimes the kids just want to be heard," said School Based Therapist Alicia Pruitt who works 4 to 5 days a week at Howard Elementary School. Pruitt knew she wanted to be a therapist since she was in high school. "I love helping people feel empowered. I'm also passionate about early intervention."

 A doll house is one of the toys and tools that Alicia Pruitt offers in her counseling office at Howard Elementary School, to help kids feel at ease and open up.

A doll house is one of the toys and tools that Alicia Pruitt offers in her counseling office at Howard Elementary School, to help kids feel at ease and open up.

Looking Glass School Based Therapists often work hand-in-hand with School Counselors. The number of schools Looking Glass works with has almost doubled in the past year. Parents love the accessibility of not having to take their kids out of school for them to receive counseling and having therapists right there in the schools is great for crisis response and overcoming barriers students might have to seeking out support.

Pruitt said she saw about 8 students per day last year and only expects that volume to grow. Pruitt encourages students to seek her out for any urgent needs, they don't have to wait for their scheduled session if they feel they can't wait or if they're feeling overwhelmed.

"The need is there," Pruitt said. "And Looking Glass is honored to fill that role and provide these services to students that need it."

If you have questions about our School Based Therapists or want to learn more, contact Mental Health Therapist Lynn Booth at lynn.booth@lookingglass.us or 541-484-4428 Ext. #405

 Mental Health Therapist Lynn Booth at her North Eugene counseling office.

Mental Health Therapist Lynn Booth at her North Eugene counseling office.