Jonathan Barnett, M.A. ‘08
Meet Jonathan Barnett, M.A. '08. Read about his
work as an Unconditional Education Coach in California.
Jonathan Barnett graduated from the Adler School of Professional Psychology in 2008 with a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. He is a licensed Marriage & Family therapist serving school communities through his role as an Unconditional Education Coach for the Seneca Family of Agencies in California.
Q: Tell us about your work.
Jonathan: I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and have been working in schools for the past 6 years providing individual, family, and group therapy as well as behavior planning. In the past 2 years, I have expanded these services to include consultation and training for school communities. Our organization just received an i3 grant to focus more on improving the culture and climate of our partner schools and bring our model into more schools across California and Washington state. With this change, the Unconditional Education (UE) Coach position was created at several schools. As a UE coach, I manage the intervention team, which includes a special education teacher, two psychotherapists, a counselor, a part-time speech pathologist, and a part-time school psychologist. I facilitate our coordination of services meetings that match students in need with appropriate interventions. I also facilitate the school climate team, which has used survey data to identify areas of need within the school and develop a treatment plan to improve multiple aspects of school culture (i.e. discipline system, social interactions between students, parent involvement, etc.)
Q: What is your impact on the individuals or communities with whom you work?
Jonathan: I am fortunate to be able to work on both a micro and macro level within the school community. I currently have two middle school clients to whom I provide individual and family therapy services. I also started a drop-in counseling clinic at the school that serves students across all grade levels at our K-8 school. As the facilitator of the coordination of services team, I match over 60 students per year with tailored academic, socio-emotional, and behavioral interventions to meet their needs. As the facilitator of school culture and climate team, I plan, oversee and execute interventions that positively impact the entire school community. For example, we are currently working to implement Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to offer all of our staff and students a consistent and positive discipline policy.
Q: How did your Adler School experience affect where you are today?
Jonathan: It provided me with the training and inspiration to dedicate my professional life to serving at-risk populations.
Q: Was there a particular Adler School faculty member or experience as a student that has most influenced you, and why?
Jonathan: There are several staff that inspired and motivated me during my time at Adler. Dr. Henning helped me to find confidence in my ability as a therapist and to understand the power of the therapeutic relationship. She also raised my awareness and interest in the impact of trauma. Dr. Troiani taught me what it meant to truly serve a community and that individual problems do not exist in a vacuum. His coursework motivated me to focus my career towards working both with individuals and systems.
Q: What career accomplishment have you found most fulfilling, or considered your greatest professional accomplishment?
Jonathan: Becoming licensed as an MFT was a huge accomplishment for me as a professional. However, starting the drop-in clinic at the school is an accomplishment that continues to pay off emotionally for me. Every time a child comes to me or a colleague of mine and shares something that is causing stress or disturbance in his/her life, I feel a sense of comfort. That student had a place to go and a person to speak with when he/she needed it. I am overjoyed that I am able to provide that for a large number of children.
Q: What is the single most important piece of career advice you can give someone in your field?
Jonathan: Try many different kinds of work and find the areas that interest you the most. If you feel curious about developing a certain skill, find a mentor that will encourage and guide you in developing that expertise. You have to ask for the guidance and request opportunities to challenge and expose yourself. If you find yourself with an inadequate supervisor, search for outside supervision or find a new position. Good supervision early in our careers is vital to professional growth.
Q: What advice can you give a student just joining the Adler School?
Jonathan: Trust yourself. There is a reason you were called to this profession. You will feel overwhelmed, out of your league, and maybe even panicked at times. Every other therapist has felt all of those things. Your clients will benefit from being in the company of a compassionate human being who genuinely wants to help them.
Q: Anything personal you’d like to add?
Jonathan: I love the outdoors and am trying to find a way to incorporate that love into my professional life. Hiking therapy?