International Educational Consultants

Since launching the International Therapist Directory, I have interacted with many professionals who have services to offer the internationally mobile community outside the scope of mental health therapy. One such service is the field of international educational consulting, and one such consultant is Rebecca Grappo (M.Ed., C.E.P.).

Rebecca has been an educator for over 20 years and has been an active supporter of the International Therapist Directory. In addition to her native United States, she has lived in Italy, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Portugal, Jordan, Oman (twice) and the United Arab Emirates. She speaks English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German.

I had an opportunity to ask Rebecca a few questions via email recently to gain a broader understanding of how international educational consultants can be of support to both internationally mobile families and therapists alike. Here is how that conversation went…

Josh Sandoz: For those who don’t know, what is the role of an educational consultant?

Rebecca Grappo: The international education scenario is unique in various ways that all of us who are expats know and understand. By working almost exclusively with TCK students and families on a wide variety of issues related to making informed educational choices, this is a population I understand well. Many of these challenging issues include working with kids who struggle, whether it is academically, socially, or with a mental health issue.

I can help a family to evaluate various schools and programs that meet the student’s individual needs, from traditional boarding schools, boarding schools with learning support, or therapeutic schools and programs. I have visited several hundred schools and programs around the United States and approach each student’s situation as one that is unique.

JS: In what ways can an international educational consultant be of service to TCKs and the internationally mobile community?

RG: Very often, the resources available for learning support and/or mental health support in the international setting are extremely limited. Or, I see kids who have been in the hands of an excellent therapist but the issues need more support than is available in the international school setting. After all the options overseas have been tried, if things are not improving, then we need to look elsewhere. Relying solely on the Internet for a complex situation can be downright dangerous.

So families and therapists alike rely on the experience and guidance of someone who has visited or placed students in various schools and programs. Furthermore, when I have a student in a program, I remain in touch with the program therapist over the course of the treatment. Therefore, I have many opportunities to discuss the characteristics of TCKs, and suggest probing questions that the therapist might use with a student to help understand the complexity of issues they are facing.

JS: How can it be helpful for a practicing mental health therapist to know about the services that international educational consultants provide?

RG: Many of my students are referrals from other mental health professionals. We work as a team to understand the situation and issues, then help the family to make informed decisions about what might be best for the child or adolescent. It’s not imperative, but I think it’s in the best interest of a client if we all remain in touch during treatment, share information, and work together towards the best possible outcome for the individual. Of course, professional standards of confidentiality are respected at all times.

JS: Are there any other resources you would point someone toward to learn more about your services?

RG: For further information, I have information on my website for mental health professionals as well as blogs and articles about my visits to therapeutic schools and programs. I invite therapists to follow me on Facebook and Twitter for information related to raising and educating kids overseas, and that includes raising awareness about the importance of mental health issues.

JS: Thanks so much Rebecca. I appreciate all you are doing for the internationally mobile community. And thank you for taking the time to share with us here about your services.

To Readers: If you have specific questions or comments for Rebecca, you are welcome to leave them below. Also, I would like to specifically invite other international educational consultants to list your services here by leaving a comment that contains a link to your website and/or contact information.

3 replies
  1. Eileen Antalek, Ed.D.
    Eileen Antalek, Ed.D. says:

    I have known Ms. Grappo for years–she is a wonderful consultant, and I can’t say enough nice things about her. Nice article!
    For more information about educational consulting, you might want to check out IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association). There are many international consultants, consultants who specialize in one type of school or need, some who are psychologists, therapists, addictions counselors, former teachers, tutors, etc.
    Those of us who belong to IECA maintain a code of ethics not unlike the ethics of groups like the APA (in which some of are also members). And yes, we have asked people to leave who did not uphold those standards.

  2. kenneth davis
    kenneth davis says:

    Becky is a great consultant. We have toured together and visited several schools throughout the country. Many consultants provide additional services including: testing or assessment to allow the parent(s) or student to make informed choices about a program or school before working the placement is made.

    The job title does not appear in The Occupational Outlook Handbook. However, the title is similar yet different, in scope from a school counselor. It is not a position held in a school or a school district rather an independent position in most cases with businesses, very similar to working in private practice as a psychologist or social worker.

    Most educational consultants are typically self-employed (or are part of consulting firm) working together with other consultants in some cases.
    Many consultants have a background in psychology, education social work and psychology which has specific focus to help families in their practice. Many consultant have training in mental health and educational therapy or education administration or direct classroom experience which is a very helpful in their practice.

    Many consultants taking additional tours to visit schools and programs which is essential to helping families. Many consultants have affiliations with varied professional organizations which supports their particular practice or needs.

    These associations which are most familiar in our student placements types or options and are continually keeping our memberships and affiliations with these organizations up to date. So our role is very broad in scope and not just limited to college placement. It also includes special needs as well in helping families particularly those with mental health issues.

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