The mission of The Schools Group is to help improve the academic and social performance of children and adolescents in Chicago-area schools by providing in-school clinical counseling services to this underserved population at no cost to the schools.
Many students in this economically and ethnically diverse population face serious challenges—difficult or abusive situations at home, anxiety, depression, bereavement, trauma, substance abuse (their own or their parents’), academic failure, and social problems. With limited resources, it is impossible for schools to provide individual, on-going psychotherapy services that their students may need. We augment the services provided by schools and work as their partners to help every student succeed.
The Schools Group believes that it is critical to provide clinical counseling services to these students where they can access them—at school. We do this by placing graduate students in counseling and psychology in the schools to provide counseling services. These graduate students are closely supervised by licensed counselors at The Schools Group and by faculty at their graduate schools. Our mission is also educational—to provide training sites for graduate students as well as training and supervision to practicing clinicians.
Valerie received a Master’s degree from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology; her undergraduate degree is from Bryn Mawr College with a major in sociology. She completed a post-graduate practicum and internship in client-centered therapy at the Chicago Counseling and Psychotherapy Center. Valerie is licensed in the state of Illinois as a Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). Before shifting focus to clinical training, Valerie spent seven years working as a mental health consultant to the Chicago Board of Education and working in a variety of school settings as a clinical counselor. In addition, Valerie has worked in private practice and currently provides clinical supervision to license-eligible counselors, especially those working in a school setting.
Kathy received her master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. She also holds a master’s degree in Library Science from Rosary College and an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois. Kathy has been a psychotherapist in private practice since 2001, working with children, families, individual adults, and couples. She has taught courses and led PPD groups at Argosy University and provided consultation and training to service organizations, such as the Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network. Kathy has published many articles and made presentations on client-centered theory and practice and has recently been the book review editor for the Person-Centered Journal. She is one of the co-editors of Practicing Client-Centered Therapy: Selected Writings of Barbara Temaner Brodley (PCCS Books, 2011).
The Schools Group was founded by Valerie Wiley, who was a mental health consultant for the Chicago Board of Education for seven years, where she provided clinical counseling services to students in Chicago public high schools. This experience convinced her of two things:
In 2007, she formed a partnership with the New Center, a training and psychotherapy practice in Chicago, to test the feasibility of using graduate students to deliver services to students in Chicago-area public, private, and parochial schools at low or no cost to the schools. During this time, she placed and supervised six graduate students in three elementary and three high schools. This program was a success. School personnel felt that having clinically trained counselors available in the school building was a relief, and the graduate students felt that they received excellent clinical experience.
In 2009, Valerie established The Schools Group as a not-for-profit organization in order to be able to provide clinical counseling services to schools at no cost.