August 18, 2013

Four County Counseling to transfer therapist to LHS

School, counseling center intensifying partnership.

By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune

---- — Through a partnership with Four County Counseling and Logansport Community School Corporation, there will be a full-time counselor at the Logansport High School beginning in September.

Tim Gearhart and Elizabeth Avery, of Four County Counseling Center, gave a presentation about the counselor position as well as other programs available through the partnership at a Logansport school board meeting Monday. Two of the various programs available are a wrap-around program and a Six-to-Six program.

Beginning in September, Joe Pyke will be a full-time therapist at Logansport Community School Corporation. Pyke, a therapist at Four County, is transferring over to the school system, said Gearhart, vice president of child and adolescent services at Four County.

“As soon as he is in place, the community will see his style, how he works,“ Gearhart said. “The school, community is lucky to have him.”

Gearhart said the school seems to be more progressive and having Pyke there will provide access to immediate care, avoiding any delay.

Michele Starkey, superintendent at Logansport Community School Corporation said parents will be involved from the beginning and consent will be required. Starkey said she thinks Pyke’s presence will benefit students.

Starkey said it will bring a proactive approach to things and help a student before something gets out of hand.

One of the programs, Six-to-Six, is aimed at middle school students who would otherwise be faced with suspension, Gearhart said. The name comes from the fact kids come before and after regular school hours and are assigned ot a counselor from Four County.

Although it varies, it usually lasts three to eight days. Schools recommend students for the program and Cass County Judge Leo Burns decides whether to accept them and how many days it will last.

A wrap-around program is being offered and is intended to help “wrap care around the child.” Trauma is largely environmental and the program tries to pull in those factors, Gearhart said.

In the wrap-around program, children would be worked with in their environment. A focus of the program is also being informed about trauma.

“The more support we can wrap around children, the better,” Gearhart said. “Supporting schools and finding ways to partner is important.”

The counseling center provides services to schools in and throughout the surrounding areas of Cass, Fulton, Miami and Pulaski Counties There are clinicians who would respond to a crisis at a school.

“Logansport is the place we are the most integrated,” Gearhart said. “Logansport schools are very innovative and they’re becoming a model.”

Two buzz words used during the presentation were integration and continuum. Because there is still some stigma with mental illness, people seem to be more receptive to meeting outside of a mental health center, Gearhart said. That’s kept in mind when they have programs at school or homes, he said.

Gearhart noted that having Pyke in place won’t replace work existing guidance counselors are doing.

“We see it as an extension to the guidance counselors because there are a lot of needs,” Gearhart said.

Starkey said the first year will be a learning experience for everyone, but it’s a welcome addition. She also noted the goal is to help students succeed in school and then become proactive in life.

“Anything we can do to help students be successful, we’ll try,” Starkey said. “If a parent feels it’s a good fit, maybe there are other opportunities. There are a wide variety of people who see issues and come together and look at how we can help.”

Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or