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Counseling Services

The GA Counseling Department has 5 full-time psychologists and counselors serving Lower, Middle, and Upper School students, faculty, staff, and parents.

Committed to the development of resiliency skills and social and emotional growth, the GA counseling department focuses on psycho-education, consultation, prevention, intervention, treatment, and referrals. Assistance is offered for a wide variety of issues including relationship difficulties, emotional conflicts, friendship and family concerns, time management, conflict resolution, and stress and anxiety reduction. All counseling contacts are confidential. Only in the unlikely event that an individual presents a danger to self or others or is at risk for harm will private information be judiciously shared, and then only in the interest of protection and safety. Parents are always consulted in crisis situations.

Meet the Counseling Team

Disclaimer

The information included in this site is for educational purposes only. This site does not provide psychological diagnosis, treatment, or advice, and should not be used as a substitute for direct contact between an individual and a mental health provider. The opinions expressed by individual authors and site links do not necessarily represent the opinions of Germantown Academy but are provided as a service to those seeking information about psychological issues.

Janet Maurer, Ph.D. 1760
Director of Counseling Services
Germantown Academy
340 Morris Road
Fort Washington, PA 19043
267-405-7303

How We Help

Upper School

Upper School Support Services

GA counselors consult and observe in the classroom as a routine part of their work addressing social and emotional development and the enhancement of students' academic experiences. They work with faculty, staff, parents, and students individually and in groups in order to provide professional insight and offer strategies to best meet student needs.

Upper School counselors meet with students individually and in groups to address personal concerns, offer support, provide conflict resolution, stress management, and study strategies, and offer referrals to clinicians in the community. They also coordinate the Freshman Seminar program. These classes are team-taught by a counselor, teacher, and 12th grade student, and they meet once per rotation to facilitate the transition from Middle School to Upper School and to address developmental issues of 9th graders.

The counselors also coordinate the GA Intervention Network (GAIN, our student assistance program), sponsor mental health assemblies, coordinate psycho-educational testing, and oversee Upper School wellness initiatives.

Learn more about GAIN

Middle School

Middle School Support Services

GA counselors consult and observe in the classroom as a routine part of their work addressing social and emotional development and the enhancement of students' academic experiences. They work with faculty, staff, parents, and students individually and in groups in order to provide professional insight and offer strategies to best meet student needs.

Students may meet individually with the counselor to address personal needs along with mediation and conflict resolution. Following these meetings, Middle School parents will be contacted to discuss the situation. If a crisis occurs, parents will be contacted immediately. If psychological services are needed beyond the scope offered by GA counselors, a referral to professionals in the community will be discussed with parents. In these situations, it is recommended that the GA counselor serve as a liaison between home and school to maintain continuity of care. All individual counseling contacts are confidential. Only in the unlikely event that an individual presents a danger to self or others or is at risk for harm will private information be judiciously shared, and then only in the interest of protection and safety.

Middle School counselors coordinate the psycho-educational evaluation process and consult with evaluators and parents to address students' specific learning profiles and needs. Counselors also teach stress management and mindfulness within the Middle School Health and Wellness program. Parents are encouraged to contact GA counselors if they have questions or concerns.

Lower School

Lower School Support Services

GA counselors consult and observe in the classroom as a routine part of their work addressing social and emotional development and the enhancement of students' academic experiences. They work with faculty, staff, parents, and students individually and in groups in order to provide professional insight and offer strategies to best meet student needs.

Students may meet individually with the counselor if they, a parent, or a teacher make such a request. Following these meetings, Lower School parents will be contacted to discuss the situation. If a crisis occurs, parents will be contacted immediately. If psychological services are needed beyond the scope offered by GA counselors, a referral to professionals in the community will be discussed with parents. In these situations, it is recommended that the GA counselor serve as a liaison between home and school to maintain continuity of care. All individual counseling contacts are confidential. Only in the unlikely event that an individual presents a danger to self or others or is at risk for harm will private information be judiciously shared, and then only in the interest of protection and safety.

The Lower School counselor facilitates regular class meetings in all grades, Prekindergarten – 5th, promoting pro-social behavior, friendship skills, effective communication, empathy, personal responsibility, and developmentally relevant psycho-education. Social-emotional education is part of the fabric of Lower School life, and the psychologist meets with individual students, with groups, and with entire classes in the service of emotional development. Periodic informational meetings with parents are also offered. Parents are encouraged to contact GA counselors if they have questions or concerns.

Presentation Summaries

The following summaries of presentations given at Germantown Academy were written by Dr. Janet Maurer, Director of Counseling Services.

Lifestyle Risk Reduction (LRR) Program Expands to Upper School
Brenda Conlan

Body Image Concerns and Stressors That May Affect Your Child and What Can Parents Do To Help
Dr. Ellen Davis

A Cyber World of Trouble
Katie Koestner

Date Rape
Katie Koestner

Issues of Teenaged Drinking and Drug Use
Linda Kraft

The Truth About Drugs
Linda Kraft

Resiliency
Linda Kraft

The Overachievers Author Urges Students to Redefine Success
Alexandra Robbins

Disability is not Disabling
Katie Samson

Keeping Our Children Safe in Today's World
Dr. Stephen Treat

Effective Boundaries / Developing Identity
Dr. Stephen Treat

Articles

The following articles were written by Dr. Janet Maurer, Director of Counseling Services.

Helping Your Children Cope With Grief
Grief counseling tips

Taking Exams in Stride
Dr. Maurer Puts Test Taking in Perspective

Seeking Counseling?
You must be crazy...Not!

What Should You Do If You Are Worried About A Friend

Coping After Traumatic Loss
When to ask for help

10 Things Parents Can Do To Help Prevent Eating Disorders

Upper School: The Best Years of Your Life
True or False?

Taking the Sting Out of Social Cruelty

What Does "Gay" Mean?

Depression or Just the Blues?
How can you tell the difference?

Suicide Prevention

Counseling FAQs

Who is eligible to use GA counseling services?

Any member of the GA community - just set up an appointment.

Are all contacts confidential?

Yes. Confidentiality is the cornerstone of GA counseling services. All contacts are strictly confidential, and your privacy is guaranteed. The one exception to this policy concerns danger. If someone presents a danger to him/herself or others, parents and administrators will be contacted immediately and limited information will be shared in order to protect and ensure safety.

What are some reasons for using counseling?

People go for counseling for many reasons. Some want to learn more about themselves, some are unhappy, some deal with family, friendship, school, or relationship issues, some have learning difficulties, some are anxious and stressed, some explore identity questions, some request help with conflict resolution, some have eating/body image concerns, the list goes on and on.

If I go for counseling does it mean there is something wrong with me?

Absolutely not! Speaking with a counselor may help you understand yourself better or learn to cope with a difficult situation. In fact, most people are interested in personal growth and their adjustment to the world around them, and counseling can help facilitate this.

I’m not sure if counseling is what I need. What should I do?

Talk with a counselor to decide what will best meet your needs.

How do I decide which counselor to work with?

The choice is yours. Most people work with the counselor in their division (LS, MS, US), but feel free to discuss the options with the Director of Counseling Services

Is there a fee for counseling?

No, not during the school year.

Is there a limit to the number of counseling sessions I may use?

No, each situation is evaluated individually. In general, however, most counseling at GA is short term, on an as-needed basis. Oftentimes, for more extensive treatment, a referral to a clinician in the community is offered, and this would be discussed with you if indicated.

What should I do if I want counseling but do not want to use the school’s services?

There are several ways to find a counselor. Ask a friend, family member, or trusted adult for a recommendation. Personal recommendations by word-of-mouth can be very helpful. Also, GA counseling staff members have many referral resources for clinicians in the community and are happy to assist you with this.