Today I met with my Internship Supervisor to arrange the needed for my stay as an intern at the rehabilitation center. We discussed the number of hours, work days and the basic requirements for the internship. These basic requirements generally included the paperwork that would be turned in and other documentation that were supposed to be turned in for the internship. The Internship Supervisor emphasized that my documentation had to be in order at then end of the internship for me to be able to complete it.
The most important part of my internship would be the case documents referring to the case work that I would be doing with my clients. This would also provide basis for the weekly meetings and the points to work on with my Internship Supervisor. I feel a little overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork that I have to accomplish on top of the case documentation for the rehabilitation itself, but I think that I will be able to do it. I just think that I have to keep a positive attitude in looking at my internship.
Since all my internship will be completed at this site, the weekly meeting is very important to me as well. Handling clients for the first time may be very difficult and I may feel lost and unsure of what to do. The weekly meetings will be of great help in guiding me and making decisions in handling my clients. Also, I would feel confident in my actions if my Internship Supervisor had been able to help me reflect and understand the cases that I would be handling. I think that in the coming weeks I would be needing the weekly meetings very much.
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This would be the time when I can see if my application of theory into the practice of counseling would be acceptable or not. Date: Notes: Today I visited the rehabilitation center for the first time. The attendants showed me around the facilities, showing me the rooms for therapy, for counseling and other activities in the center. I was also given the chance to review some of the cases that they had for counseling in the center. I was able to see how some of the clients there needed counseling mostly for conflicts in their family because of their disability and trying to cope with their own disability.
I noticed that those who had become disabled in their later years were having the most difficult time in transition to their apparent status. I was also oriented on the way that the rehabilitation center treats its clients and which kind of approach they used in handling their clients. According to the rehabilitation center, client self-determination is important and that full participation in the rehabilitation process is imperative. I feel excited and at the same time a little afraid of the clients that the rehabilitation center will give me.
I am a bit unsure as to how I will be able to apply the theories I have learned and whether these theories that I will use will truly benefit my clients. I think that to enhance my confidence in dealing with my clients as well as my supervisors, I need to refresh my memory and knowledge on the theories needed to understand and counsel my clients. Date: Notes: After one week as a ‘counselor’ to the clients, my initial difficulty was establishing rapport with them. Building trust between counselor and client for me is very important.
Also, the caseload that I was given definitely overwhelmed me and I was not expecting the amount of work I was given. I know that since I am an intern it is possible that the agency is going easy on me for now, but I feel up to the challenge and am ready to face it. The fact that they come in for counseling doesn’t mean that they will be able to disclose information about themselves and other sensitive information especially about their families. I noticed that the clients have different races and different perceptions of their disability.
I also noticed that the clients perceive their disability differently and have different ways of coping. Having trouble getting employment is no doubt one of the biggest sources of stigma for people with disabilities. Another point of interest to me is calling these people ‘disabled’. Knowing a better term exists, which is ‘persons WITH disability’, I am unsure of how to call them when I don’t think the client knows the term. I believe the term to be more politically correct than ‘disabled’ person and I think it affords them some form of dignity, separating the person from the condition.
In my initial interviews with the clients, I found that they experience stigma from sources such as their work environment, their own family and friends. Dealing with clients for the first time made me feel a bit scared and nervous, I guess the crux of newer counselors would be their care in dealing with new clients and how they tend to watch everything they say so that they do’t upset the client who comes in for counseling. Date: Notes: As my counseling internship continues, I can see that most of the cases that I am working on have low self-esteem brought about by their disability.
One client in particular exhibited low self-esteem by saying that his or her family has time and time again berated her for not being able to find a job because of her disability (polio). She initially did not want the counseling services and only wished to avail of the assistance in finding a job for her, but because of her disposition that was no doubt noticed by the Social Workers, she was referred for counseling. I would not definitely say that she is an ‘uncooperative’ client, but I have not been able to get her to disclose relevant information about her experience es with her family.
She just recounts things in general terms and segways the topic away from her family and to her desire to get a job. When asked what job she wanted to get, she said that any job would do as long as she gets paid and she can contribute to her family. I find this very sad that her own family would put her through that but this is common in the families of persons with disability who are not supportive of them. Date: Notes: I am glad to say that once rapport has been established with my clients, it is easier to get them to disclose.
Of course, the ways in which I have to establish rapport with them varies and each client has a different way of bonding. One client may want one to be an expert at first who freely shares advice with them. One wants you to act as a firend, but because of the needed client-counselor relationship, I must stay merely ‘friendly’. The difficult ones to establish rapport with are those who are reluctant to get counseling and do not see the need to be able to talk with a counselor about their problems.
I know that client self-determination is important but sometimes I find it hard when the client is stubborn and refuses the advice you give him. It comes to a point that you only see your client when he or she comes in for employment assistance and does not want to go in for counseling. It is very frustrating for me as a counselor when the client is uncooperative. It makes me doubt myself, especially now that I am a new counselor and I am still unsure of the mthods and theories I am using. Date: Notes: As my internship ends I feel that this was the most difficult part of finishing my studies.
Actually applying the theories and concepts learned is not easy and trying to assess and understand clients even more so. What I learned is that experience in the field is necessary to get a better understanding of clients and that every client has different needs, even if they are of the same theme as finding employment. Also, the race of the client has to be kept in mind. Usually, the counselor may be able to understand family attitudes toward the disability by examining the racial background of the client.
Low self-esteem is a common problem with persons with disability not only because of their family but because of their own perceptions, especially if the client acquired the disability later in life. Coping here seems to start with a lot of difficulty, especially since the client has to overcome his or her own perceptions about himself or herself. I truly enjoyed the counseling internship because I was able to see how I would be able to work in the future as a counselor and gained so much insight from the experience. At least now when I get a counseling job I am not that unsure of myself.
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