Ms. McLarty: The New School Therapist


Courtesy of Ms. McLarty

Nikita Gounder

   Christine McLarty has recently joined the ranks of West faculty as the new school therapist, a position that has not been filled in many years. Ms. McLarty is an AMFT, associate marriage and family therapist. As someone who had gone to middle and high school in Culver City  (a native angeleno herself), Ms. McLarty is thrilled to be working back in LA and is ready to be an ear of comfort to all the students at West.


Q: What is your job as the school therapist? Who do you see? For what?

A: As the school therapist I am able to see students for a variety of reasons.  I provide emotional support and mental health interventions for students dealing with different types of stressors. That can include feeling anxious, sad, or going through a hard time at school or in a relationship.


Q: Is having a therapist mandatory at all schools in our district or has there been a recent need for them?

A: We are very lucky to be able to have mental health services at the Torrance high schools this year. There has always been a need to provide this sort of help to any high school. Everyone can benefit from extra support sometimes.


Q: What is the difference between the jobs of a school therapist and psychologist?

A: Typically, psychologists obtain a PhD in clinical psychology and have careers goals of research and academia. Therapists such as MFT’s, LPCC’s, MSW’s, and PsyD’s are more clinical focused. If any students have questions about entering the mental health field or mental health careers, I’d be happy to answer them.


Q: So far, what tasks have you been assigned with?

A: We are very lucky to be able to work with students individually and help them with a variety of presenting issues.  I hope to also work with students in groups and hopefully do some lunchtime activities as well.


Q: Have you seen many students so far? Do you expect to see more?

A: I do expect to see a large number of students.


Q: What do you think can be done to increase the number of students that come see you (assuming that there are students that need your help but are hesitant to find you)? 

A: Students can let their alpha counselor know that they would like to see me. Students can also let any teacher, admin, or staff member know if they would like to meet with me. There is an envelope posted on my door (counseling office room #1119) with request slips if a student would like to talk with me without informing staff.  The student just needs to fill out the form and place it under my door. I see students on an appointment basis during school hours, but if the student needs to see me urgently they can knock on my door or let a staff member know.


Q: Is there anything else you would like to say to the students at West?

A: I am really excited to be a part of West High!


   If a student is interested in talking to Ms. McLarty, they can fill out the request slip on her door or let their counselors know. She is here every day during school hours and is ready to listen to us whenever we are going through a hard time or need some advice.