Do you have a high amount of compassion and sensitivity for individuals who are dealing with injuries or disabilities? Are you able to help encourage patients who do not think they are capable of achieving pre-determined goals or milestones? If you said yes to each of these questions then a career in rehabilitation counseling could be a perfect fit for you!
Rehabilitation counseling is intended for people who have disabilities and who have personal and professional goals to achieve. In addition, a patient’s sense of worth and level of independence are highly desirable skills that rehabilitation counselors encouraged their disabled patients to achieve. Although your patients will surely have many additional goals they are working to accomplish, reestablishing a high level of independence is one of the main goals your patients will be achieving along with your help. Your training and knowledge will make it possible for you to work in a rehabilitation center, in a school, or within a privately owned practice. It is important to note that in this profession you should be prepared to work with patients who have mental disabilities, mild disabilities, or severe disabilities.
In addition, because each of your patients will likely be different, it will be hard for you to set one goal that exhibits success and use this to gauge each situation that you work within. In this profession you must be prepared to encounter patients that do not feel that they can meet their established goals. For instance, patients who are dealing with an injury that is causing them to need rehabilitation counseling may not be as open and willing to work towards their goals as an individual who has rehabilitation counseling to work with a disability that they have dealt with their entire life.
However, no matter which type of patient you find yourself working with it will be important that reasonable goals are set, thus allowing your patient to experience success and a sense of accomplishment. These goals could be of a personal nature or more related to a vocational nature. For example, your patient may set goals such as obtaining a particular type of job or being able to live independently. Or, you may find yourself counseling an individual regarding activities that would be an appropriate avenue to assist in the rehabilitation process.
Effective communication skills will be a critical part of the success you experience as a rehabilitation counselor. Furthermore, it will be important that you can communicate with your patients regarding issues they are facing with their injury, disability, or rehabilitation, as well as the goals that you are both working to achieve. Depending upon your place of employment you may be required to help your patients locate feasible housing options, access to materials or equipment that they may need, or address other problem areas.
Essentially, it will be part of your job responsibilities to ensure that your patients, even with their disabilities or injuries, have an equal opportunity for services just like other citizens. In your capacity as a rehabilitation counselor, it will also be possible for you to choose to focus your work in a specific area of counseling. For instance, you could elect to focus on a vocational area of rehabilitation counseling. In this focus area you would work to help your clients find meaningful employment or to return to work following an unexpected leave. Of course, no matter your area of focus you can expect to find it necessary to meet with your clients on a regular basis, to continually discuss the progress your patients are making, and to revise goals as necessary.