The types of responsibilities conducted by professionals in various sectors of the human service are significant to the overall wellbeing of human beings and, therefore, can never be underestimated (Kadushin and Kadushin, 1997). Whereby there are numerous social assisting programs in the society, many of the professionals working in most of those units have the same job titles, and their tasks are similar, no matter the difference in their work settings.
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The two assisting human service professionals I had interviewed include a recreation therapist and a licensed school counselor, who work in different social settings. The differences and similarities of how the two approach treatment and therapy in their various locations are expressed in the outcome of the following two interviews.
A licensed clinical and counseling psychologist at a Chicago university, Dr. Nicole Williams, would be my first interviewee. I had personally approached her in her work premises just a week prior to the interview, and she gave in to my request to interview her after I briefed her on the reasons for my interview. In this interview, I used the word of mouth approach, and the following is a summary of the psychologist’s response to my questionnaires.
To my first question, Dr. Williams offered a linear response that she was a senior students’ counselor and a psychologist, a profession she had practiced for more than a decade now, and one that she had grown to fancy so much. Her specialties in the setting involved helping students solve their problems at school through counseling.
Dr. Williams makes interventions on a wide range of health and mental problems. Her main task, however, involves offering psychological support to students with special learning needs and also to those who suffer from depression and behavioral issues. Even though her primary role is to provide informed student counsel, Dr. Williams also works as part of the team who’d regularly handle and examine students who had disabilities.
As I discovered, Dr. Williams is indeed highly-qualified personnel in her field of specialty. On top of her BS in Psychology, she also has a Master’s degree in Psychiatry and a Doctorate in Psychology. Moreover, through continued accountability in her sector of specialty, the psychologist has a certificate in counseling, courtesy of the American Board of Professional Psychology.
Dr. Williams applies methods of interactive therapy, such as the four main approaches in psychology, to identify the needs of students. Sometimes, she also works in collaboration with parents and teachers in identifying common problems affecting students. Whenever she detects an issue, the psychologist responds immediately with appropriate interactive counseling sessions. According to Dr. Williams, her career as a clinical psychologist inside an institutional setting is surrounded by many ethical and legal issues, and this can make her work more challenging sometimes.
One common moral issue which she personally observes is when it comes to keeping the confidentiality of her therapy interactions with her student patients, which could be difficult sometimes, mostly when the parents or the teachers aligned to those students demand to know the problems facing them. In some cases, Dr. Williams may also be presented with responsibilities beyond her licensed scope of accountability, and this remains to be one of the most common legal issues she has to overcome in her work.
Regarding the approach of psychology, Dr. Williams happily observes that it is an exciting field of study that encourages people to think big in matters of life. And she is more than contented as she adds, “Psychology is the only potential remedy to some of the seemingly fundamental questions about life.” The psychologist also notes that there is nothing that can surpass her achievements in psychology, and what she enjoys most in her career is to see her patients change for the better as a result of her effective interventions through counseling.
According to the psychologist, “Psychology is really a fascinating career that helps us to realize some of the biggest lessons in life. It is indeed one of those professions which require much dedication and commitment in life. In this respect, people having a passion for it must be fully prepared to pay the price of sacrifice and commitment.”
Mr. Wiley Rodgers, who works as a recreational therapist, was my second interviewee. This interview took place just four days after the first one, and it happened in the rehabilitation center where the interviewee works. This interview also applied the word of mouth approach and would take exactly half an hour to be over. Rodgers works as a recreational therapist in a residential care facility in New York. He had been in this service for about seven years now, and his specialty in the facility is to offer therapy care to persons having specific health conditions.
Rodgers takes care of a diversity of health problems that would be constituted in the three significant human units composition: Emotional, Physical, and Mental. Apart from the first degree in recreation therapy, Rodgers also has a certification in art therapy, and he is currently undertaking a Master’s degree program in recreation therapy from Cornell University. He approaches his intervention on clients through standardized techniques and assessments, whereby practices tailored at improving the general wellbeing of his patients are applied. Some of the specific modalities he applies to his clients include sports, dance, drama, and community outings.
One major ethical issue Rodgers has to put up with is the pressure from the facility’s management personnel, who have grown the habit of dictating him on the course of the direction he has to take in his work, and this has always risked putting him onto ethical severe dilemmas, whenever it happens. A common legal issue that Rodgers cannot escape in his duties is the temptation of going against the principle of ‘informed consent’ to give his patients the best services that his experience could provide.
Rodgers’ opinion about psychology is not very different from that of Dr. Williams, as he observes, “Psychology is the defining destiny of all medical practices, and there is no medical problem which can present serious challenges to humanity, where psychology applies. If there is something that will take us as far as we need to go, in the distinguished world of medicine, then, it is psychology.”
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Even though there are many things which Rodgers likes in his profession, there is one thing that he enjoys most; the beneficial outcomes of his therapy interventions on the health of his clients and patients. Nothing can make Rodgers happier in his profession than to see his clients regain their usual composure, owing to his integrative interventions. To those who aspire to become therapists, Rodgers has a helpful piece of advice. “Being a therapist means interacting freely with people for the rest of your profession, and in that case, you should express your best attitudes towards your clients, regardless of their appearance or status. This approach will certainly help in establishing good ties with the patients, and this offers them the first dose of their recovery.
Even though there are slight differences between psychologists and therapists, as observed in the presented cases, both professionals aim at improving the wellbeing of people in society through psychological approaches.
Kadushin, A., and Kadushin, G. (1997). The social work interview: A guide for human service professionals. New York: Columbia University Press.