Introduction to Consultation

  • William P. Erchul
  • Brian K. Martens
Part of the Issues in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ICCP)


We begin with psychiatrist Gerald Caplan’s definition of consultation, not because it is the best definition for our purposes, but rather because it provides a starting point, both historically and conceptually, from which to view the role of the school consultant. Historically speaking, perhaps the earliest systematic approach to human services consultation began in 1949 in Israel where Caplan and his small clinical staff were assigned the challenging task of attending to the mental health needs of 16,000 adolescent immigrants. Complicating this assignment were the facts that these adolescents were housed at more than 100 residential institutions, transportation within the country was often problematic, and there were about 1,000 initial requests for assistance. In confronting these obstacles to the traditional model of referral/diagnosis/psychotherapy of individual clients, Caplan reasoned that available professional resources would need to be used more effectively (Caplan, 1970).


Mental Health Community Mental Health Center External Consultant Internal Consultant Adolescent Immigrant 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • William P. Erchul
    • 1
  • Brian K. Martens
    • 2
  1. 1.North Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.Syracuse UniversitySyracuseUSA

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