September  2010
Billie Silvey
Marriage Counseling
Jenny Ricker
An eclectic website about Women, Christianity, History,
Culture  and the Arts--and anything else that comes to mind.
After a summer off for family fun, reading, and a totally unexpected
week in the hospital, I’m gearing up to return to work.  For
the past seven years, I’ve worked for
Westchester Healthy
Start, a small nonprofit located on the campus of Westchester High

Healthy Start provides wrap-around support services to meet the
needs of the total student—academic, emotional, social, and
behavioral.  We offer counseling services, after-school tutoring,
and various Saturday classes for academic and behavioral
intervention. But the backbone of our program is

Every day of the school week, two or three therapists arrive at our
office to meet with students, either individually or in small groups.  
Each therapist can see four to five students a day, which means we
can serve some 50 students a week.  That’s a lot of counseling
in the course of a school year.

Mostly, the counselors just listen.  Sometimes they ask a few
questions, and the answers and emotions pour.  Other times, they
may play games to get the students to relax and share.

For most people, high school is associated with sports, studies,
friends and fun--not psychological needs.  Yet, one in every 25
high school students is suffering from issues related to
grief and
loss, family problems, abuse, depression, anger management,
substance abuse or thoughts of suicide.  Most of these problems
go undiagnosed and untreated.

The teenage years have always been a time of
adjustment, but
never more than today.  Today's students face all the normal
challenges of raging hormones, pressures to succeed, and the need
to make major life decisions such as college, career, sex and
marriage.  In addition, teens today are confronted with new
problems—limited supervision due to an increasing number of
broken homes,

Healthy Start and programs like it are
effective because they address these
problems in the school setting where the
students are available, feel comfortable,
and are more likely to be responsive.
The services are offered free of charge,
so all students, not just a fortunate few,
can receive the help they need.

I maintain outcome results on a sampling
of 25 of the roughly 100 students we
counsel in a year.  Most of these
students show improvement in
terms of attendance, behavior, and
grade point average.
Counseling can be helpful for adolescents, but it's also effective in
other contexts.  This issue includes articles on
counseling, an interview with professional counselor Jenny
Ricker, and an article on the importance of honesty in counseling
and in life in general.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about counseling in general or
any of the aspects of counseling mentioned in this website.  Just
email me at