How to help others
September 15, 2013 9:46 AM   Subscribe

I finished my masters in counseling psychology back in December. I have not taking my licensure exam yet which is the NCE. In order to become a therapist I have to pass the NCE and eventually get my LCPC after I have accumulated my hours. The question I have is how should I decide on being able to utilize my skills so that I can help others? I have read quite a lot on autism and I have a moderate amount of experience with helping children and adults with Asperger Syndrome. The question though, is where should I begin with all of this? There are a wide variety of different disorders that I am familiar with. I would eventually like to be able to help people with all sorts of problems, but I'm not sure what is the best way to go about this. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
posted by nidora to Human Relations (7 answers total)
With a lot of career questions, it's good to just pick a direction so you can start moving -- in other words, it's great to start with something specific like "I will try working with adults with autism/Aspergers", rather than thinking about how you can help all different kinds of people. (It makes it easier to find specific training or job openings.) You can always change your specific goal later, as needed.

-Have you liked the work you've done with people with Aspergers?
-Is there anything specific you liked or disliked about it, that you can use to figure out what you should look for in future jobs?
-Which age group did you like working with?

Are you willing to let people know what state/province you want to work in, if people might have some knowledge about requirements/opportunities there?
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:05 AM on September 15, 2013

Response by poster: I have enjoyed working with people with Asperger Syndrome, but a lot of the work is very difficult since there are so many problems that these people struggle with. It can be overwhelming when dealing with some of these clients since there are usually a wide variety of problems that they struggle with.

I typically prefer to work with adults, but children are okay as well.

I live in a suburb of Chicago.
posted by nidora at 10:29 AM on September 15, 2013

What are some of the things you liked about working with people with Aspergers? (Just to help with brainstorming; maybe people here will know if there are other patient populations who have similar features)

Offhand, I think in coming years there will be a large need for professionals to help people with autism/Aspergers as they transition out of the school system into adult life - so, I would guess there will be a need for professionals who work with people in that age group (20s).

You might also think about some mundane factors in a job:

-What kind of hours would you like (very regular? flexible? would you work off-hours like nights or weekends in order to work with a particular kind of patient?)?

-Do you do better in a more supervised/structured environment, or with lots of independence?

-Is it important to you to help people in severe need (like working at a crisis center, or with people in poverty, etc) or are you just as happy helping people who have ongoing, non-crisis type problems?
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:40 AM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

"Who's hiring interns?" may be the best starting question for narrowing things down.
posted by jaguar at 11:08 AM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

(By "interns" I meant "unlicensed counselors who need supervision." It looks like the LCPC/Illinois terms are different from the ones I'm used to.)
posted by jaguar at 11:31 AM on September 15, 2013

Response by poster: I enjoy explaining some of the social things to people on the spectrum. I have read a lot of books by Marcia Winner that can help those on the spectrum. I enjoy helping them with some of their concrete thinking difficulties. I think that I could also help people struggling with social anxiety and other problems. I would prefer a more structured setting with regular hours but I'm not sure that I can find that at this point.
posted by nidora at 11:41 AM on September 15, 2013

I would consider the possibilities of two intern sites - one that will give you broad exposure to working with people on the spectrum and a second that will let you work with a more general population of neuro-typicals. In California, many intern sites only offer part-time positions. Even if one job is full-time, working a few evenings or weekends (if you are up for it) could really broaden your education.

It is great to have an area of expertise such as autism/aspergers. At the same time, the internship is a time to do learn - to do stuff that you aren't fully qualified to do (you are supposed to be a newbie- that's why you have a supervision) I would think that a high school placement might be a great complement to working with young adults on the spectrum. HS kids will have many similar social problems plus a wider range of other issues. Also, working with HS is a good foundation for more general adult work later. On the other hand, an adult-oriented clinic might have more flexible hours and let you see all kinds of life issues (parenting, divorce) that don't show up in a younger population.
posted by metahawk at 5:12 PM on September 15, 2013

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