Final Project: The Role and Life of a Clinical Mental Health Counselor
Books, television, and movies are full of stories revealing the day-to-day realities of various professions. These stories provide a behind-the-scenes look at the often unknown stress, joy, and effort involved in being a doctor, law enforcement agent, or even a chef. What do you think the day-to-day life of a clinical mental health counselor is like? What constitutes a typical day for a clinical mental health counselor, or is there no such thing? For the Final Project in this course, you uncover the hidden realities of the daily life of a clinical mental health counselor.
The Final Project is a 7- to 10-page paper that consists of a summation of an interview, a story, and a reflection.
Final Project Criteria
1. Include all three project components, explained below in the Overview of Final Project Components section.
2. Demonstrate both breadth and depth of knowledge and critical thinking appropriate to graduate-level.
3. Follow APA Publication Manual guidelines; be free of typographical, spelling, and grammatical errors
4. The paper should be 7- to 10-pages in length (double spaced), not including the title page and references.
5. Support your points with specific references to Learning Resources (including texts, media, and peer-reviewed scholarly articles) and the interview you conducted. Please review the Final Project components and follow all steps and guidelines.
•Shallcross, L. (2012, February). A calming presence. Counseling Today. Retrieved from http://ct.counseling.org/2012/02/a-calming-presence/
•American Counseling Association (ACA). (2014). ACA Code of Ethics. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org/docs/ethics/2014-aca-code-of-ethics.pdf?sfvrsn=4
•American Mental Health Counselors Association.(2010 ) AMHCA Code of Ethics. Retrieved from http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.amhca.org/resource/resmgr/Docs/AMHCA_Code_of_Ethics_2010_up.pdf?hSearchTerms=%22code+and+ethics%22
•American Counseling Association. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org
•American Mental Health Counselors Association. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.amhca.org
•National Board for Certified Counselors. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.nbcc.org
· Erford, B. T. (Ed.). (2014). Orientation to the counseling profession: Advocacy, ethics, and essential professional foundations (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education.
· Media references will attach separate
Overview of Final Project Components
Component I: Narrative Summation of Interview
Your summation should be presented as a narrative rather than a listing of questions and answers . It is recommended that you audiotape the interview so that you may review it as you complete the Final Project.
For the interview, use the following questions . Several questions relate to topics covered in this course so that you may gain an understanding of how the course topics apply to the life of a counselor. If a question is related to a weekly topic, the week number is in parentheses after the question.
During the interview you may add additional questions of your own that are prompted by the conversation:
Interview is with Sharon at CCM Counseling and Wellness
1. When someone asks you how being a clinical mental health counselor is different from being a social worker or psychologist, what do you tell them?
Just to clarify I am not a clinical mental health counselor. I am licensed as a (LPC) Licensed Professional Counselor, now on to the question at hand. A psychologist is going to do much more testing. A social worker has more experience in connecting people to services that are available within the community. Obviously, I can’t of course prescribe medications. I can do screeners, such as screen for ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD looking for different things. While psychologists do more researching, so that would be out of my scope of licensure. I help people cope with their life, look at the habits they bring to the counseling session, and piece their life back together. You could say I am the piece of the puzzle. I love working with people and the intimate relationship we share. I get to know about their ups and downs, their careers, and basically their overall life.
2. Can you describe what a normal day looks like for you as you do your job?
My normal day is different from most therapists because I am the director of this agency. My morning is all about director tasks and the business end of the agency. I start taking clients later in the morning then take a lunch then see patients until the early evening. Paperwork is involved and seeing people anywhere from children to adults. My youngest client is the age of five and my oldest client is eighty-one years of age. I do individual counseling, and I also do couple counseling, and family counseling. That is pretty much what my normal day looks like.
3. What ethical and legal issues do you have to keep in mind each day?
I guess the biggest one is keeping aware of doing no harm, what is in the best interest of your client and boundaries with dual relationships those are the biggest issues for me. There is also the quality of the paperwork you do and the goals and treatments that you set. Make sure you always have healthy boundaries and understanding what you do is vital to counseling.
4. What theory (or theories) inform your practice and why?
Given a choice of theories, I would call myself a holistic psychotherapist and the reason being is because I believe in body, mind, and spirit. I use to be a teacher so the cognitive behaviors are important to me, that is what you feel, and what you should do. It is the backbone to everything. So that is huge for me but it also works because it goes with the holistic perspective because I am a big believer in alternative medicine. I believe in what you think is what you feel and what you do. I believe that in the connection of awareness and what your conscious is saying at any given moment is the way you see the world, how you experience the world, and how you respond to the world. People need to know what is influencing them and that is why I need to practice holistic medicine.
5. How does understanding and respecting multiculturalism help you as a counselor?
The way it helps me is to know I have much to learn and I cannot presume to understand what it is feels like to walk about in everybody’s shoes. So it is very humbling but yet it is exciting because I have an opportunity to learn. One of the things I learned is I have to be comfortable admitting that I don’t know about the client’s diversity. If I don’t know something of that culture I need to ask questions because I cannot assume that where I’m coming from is where they are coming from. So even sometimes with a simple word like an example is the word support. What I think support is, might mean to be totally different to that other person of a different culture. It can be simple thing such as eye contact and that can be a big cultural difference. It can be in trying to help people not see me as an authority because in certain cultures my age would make me somebody that is what they look at to not to counsel them. The biggest thing to me is has been a learning experience, continues to be a learning experience and I need to be open that it is going to be that. I have to let myself be vulnerable to asking questions and not to pretend I know it.
6. How does your knowledge of human growth and development inform your practice?
I was a teacher for the better part of my life so that kind of thing this was a natural progression because I studied childhood development for a really long time. I experienced it through teaching and working with families so it is a big part. We use a tool here that is called the circle of life and it is literally circles like a target. It is an amazing tool in fact if your local I would love to teach you this if you ever came back here as an intern. This tool is not about shame or blame but exploration. The whole point of it is what you think, is what you feel, is what you do, and you got to find out what the thinking patterns are. It is based on a development on where we come from and how trust is supposed to be developed at a certain age, and how fear enters, and how we cope with that in and out. We use it as a basis for how we work with peoples brain work. It gives us a common ground of conversation, where many clients say I have gone to different counselors but this is an amazing new experience here that you provide within your counseling scope of practice. This is something I can do and the clients can take this tool out of the office to use and it is a development tool to use so I use it a lot within my practice.
7. How do you use assessments to help you with client case conceptualization?
I am going to speak about how I use assessments. I have a binder and a set of folders here to where I use screeners for anxiety, depression, PTSD, and bipolar disorders. Basically I use only screeners, and if I am concerned about something like ADHD or bipolar, or schizophrenia I would refer them out to get a more specific kind of assessment.
8. Talk about your experiences with referring clients for psychotropic medications. What advice might you give me?
There are fewer and fewer psychiatrists in this area but I do have a female psychiatrist that I can consult with. I tell my clients that medications have a place and that they can be very effective and take the edge off. On the other hand it would not be my first route of choice. This is where I introduce them to other options such as holistic wellness. However, it depends on the diagnosis and some clients need to be and stay on their meds. Coming from a holistic approach especially with depression and anxiety try to help our clients in different ways. Furthermore, there is a safety net of medications out there, but knowing there are many more options is important to the counseling profession. It does not have to be either; it can also be both options when it comes to helping the clients with their struggles.
9. What kinds of provisions do you, or does your agency make, for emergency response management? Talk about a time when you had to respond to a natural disaster or some other large-scale crisis. If you never have encountered one, talk about a time when you had to respond to a client crisis.
We are not involved in the emergency response as a large kind of thing. We have had circumstances that because of where are agency is located we don’t fall within the Green Bay WI. city limits. So when we knew that someone needed attending too at the crisis center we had to be in phone contact because we cannot call the police because they can’t come here. Therefore, we need to make arrangements with someone who can bring them because of where we are located. We are not a state certified agency, we chose not to be, but as such the crisis center does provide our emergency contact number if someone needs an EM1 or something like that, that would be our connection. We haven’t had any real experience because we are an outside agency that does not fall within the city limits. However, we are prepared for a suicide risk if it fell our way.
10. What is the role of accountability in your counseling practice? In what ways are you accountable and how do you address that accountability?
Providing supervision and staffing clients both as a clinic director and as a counselor. We had an intern here who felt we had an ethical breech so we had to walk through the process of getting outside consultation and holding ourselves accountable. It ended up being nothing and nothing ever really became of it, but we went through the process. Like I stated supervision as when you need outside consultation because I have the unique position of director and therapist. I found another counselor who had the same positions as me to consult with the intern and myself where they could hold me accountable. I needed the consultation knowing that I was in the position of being in the role of supervisor to the intern, and now being her boss on her counseling sessions. Part of having accountability is like having the legs on a table for support. Having that table for support is how I hold myself accountable.
11. Reflect on how you determine when you need to seek consultation or supervision. Can you provide me with a specific example of each?
When this intern came to work with us and expressed their concern. Where she took it upon herself to take it to the point of getting other people involved in the situation and thought out seeking consultation for herself. It was evident that we needed consultation and so I informed the counselor that they needed to seek somebody outside the agency to help. To provide safety for myself as director and doing that I brought somebody in after to help us as a group through on what was going on here with the intern ethical issue. When I work with a client I have learned that my teaching background is very helpful for me because it was how can I build success? Not how can I do it for or how can I fix, but how can I build success. If I find I stray from that and I cannot see how to build success, present an opportunity, I know I need to bask. If it’s something that I feel is an ethical thing I know I need to ask. If it’s something that I feel wow this is out in left field or I am about to open a can of worms I know I need to ask? Having supervision through this is so vital, because no one can predict what will happen.
12. How have you engaged in advocacy (for clients, for the profession)? If so, what did that involve and how did it go?
Getting clients a job and providing them with innovated services. Getting the clients to the proper disability resources within the community and connecting them to divorce care, to grief share. To go above and beyond for that client and get whatever advocacy that client needs. As for the profession I meet with people like yourself. We also advocate for the interns that come to work with us.
13. What do you do to maintain self-care and wellness?
I don’t really worry about burnout to much in my profession, because I know I am not alone. The inspiration I get and the insights I have, and the direction that takes place I feel comfortable and at ease when I go home for the night. I learn techniques such as brainspotting which is an amazing technique. You put it in a perspective to where a person can spiritually connect and it takes it to a whole new level. This is honestly how I take good care of myself because when I leave the door I have a universal connection or one might say a belief in God.
14. What are the most significant personal development issues you face as a counselor? How have you addressed personal and professional growth and development?
I say this humbly, excitably but my personal development is a way of life. That has never been a hurdle for me. I am a seeker by nature and I do not talk the talk or walk the walk. My biggest development has come as director of this counseling center. I say that knowing the director part, the business part, having to learn what that is like and learning to be someone’s boss is a personal growth and development for me. My biggest development is giving those gifts to myself. I knew who I was and knowing what I have learned along the way is a personal adventure in itself.
Component II: “A Day in the Life of a Clinical Mental Health Counselor”
Using the information from the interview, and course Learning Resources, create the story of a day in the life of the clinical mental health counselor you interviewed. Embed into your story the significant information from both the course and the interview. Be specific, use examples, and include what you believe to be the most significant topics, even if they might not happen in a typical day.
The purpose of this project component is for you to demonstrate your understanding of what day-to-day life is like for a mental health counselor related to and referencing the material in the course as well as information gleaned elsewhere. It also is to demonstrate how a counselor might address/handle issues and/or situations that are the most important and/or challenging.
Component III: Reflection
In this component you reflect on both the interview and the course. In your reflection, respond to the questions below. Your reflection should be presented as a narrative rather than a listing of questions and answers.
1. What did you learn from the interview that you did not learn in the course?
2. What, if anything, did you learn from the interview that contrasted with what you learned in the course?
3. What do you understand better from the course as a result of doing the interview?
4. What came to life in the interview so that the information you gained in the course is more meaningful and relevant now?
5. What do you anticipate the impact of being a clinical mental health counselor may be on who you are personally?
|Submit 7-10 pages not including reference or title page. APA format.|
©2012 Laureate Education, Inc. 2
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