What They’re Watching: Tayler Trotter, Wellness Together
Tayler Trotter, MA, is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and school mental health specialist with Wellness Together, a nonprofit organization that partners with schools to increase access to mental health services for students and families. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss mental health therapy in schools and their work through a Blue Shield of California grant.
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“I’m with Wellness Together — it’s a mental health specialist program that provides school-based therapy… Mainly [we’re] working with a caseload of about 20 individuals providing therapy. So, for a lot of these students it’s the first time they’ve received psychotherapy before, and really it’s based off of a referral from their school counselor or an administrator that maybe has a concern that the student may need to be speaking with someone in a little bit more detail than what they can provide at that point in time.
What we usually do is we go through a referral process, take the student in, and get the informed consent signed by parents. If it’s for individuals we do meet with the parents just to go over what we’re doing because for a lot of them they’ve never met a therapist before so they’re just like, “Okay, who am I going to be working with? Who is my child going to be working with?”
And I think the wonderful thing is that we provide about 10 sessions of individual therapy, along with possibly three sessions of family therapy as well. As for the family sessions, it’s not so much like family therapy per se, it’s more of how can the family support the student in reaching their goals? So, they’ll have an academic and a personal goal as well that they’ll be working towards. But really, we go over cognitive behavioral therapy, providing coping skills, letting them look at maybe the way that they’re perceiving a situation and how it effects their mood. So, the student may be referred due to low mood, anxiety, sometimes anger, grief — it really depends on the situation. But if they feel like they need to speak to someone in more detail then we get the referral and work with them.
I think the wonderful thing is that it’s free for families. So, they don’t have to worry about going to see an outside provider; it’s already directly on campus. Blue Shield provides a grant to Wellness Together to be able to provide school-based therapy for these families which is a beautiful thing. So, it kind of removes that barrier in the sense of maybe having to pay for outside therapy or having to drive to outside therapy for that matter too.”