How did you hear about Outreach? I originally heard about Outreach Concern through my school’s clinical practicum advisor as well as a few classmates. Specializing in Child Studies, Outreach became the obvious choice for a practicum site because it guaranteed experience working with children and adolescents.
What are some other roles you play in life you would like to share? Other than being a Regional Field Supervisor, I am a husband and father who enjoys snowboarding, water skiing, wake boarding and reading. I also study and teach martial arts a few nights a week where I work with students of all ages. When I am not doing any of that, I can be found building something such as full contact lightsabers, costume props or playing with my son dressed as Spider-man.
What led to your decision to be a school counselor with us? The reason I chose Outreach over other sites was because of the great things I had heard from those that had been counselors in the past. Each person said that they were able to gain plenty of experience along with their hours. Once I started to work with Outreach, I realized I had made the right choice. I could finish a day feeling fulfilled and knew that I was not just getting hours, but building relationships as well as learning something new everytime a student walked in the door.
What are some key elements needed while working with children and adolescents in this role? The key elements would have to be: strong boundaries, organization, motivation, creativity and the willingness to step out of your comfort zone. No two students are identical, which means that as a counselor you must always find a new way to connect with them. This often means you will use techniques that were not learned in school or be forced to use those which you are not as well versed. Also, because we need to find the necessary motivation to push through any road blocks that might come up.
How do you identify change in clients? Generally, grades are the easiest way to identify change in a client, though that is not the only way. I like to look back at notes and compare the student I knew at the point of referral to who they are after a few sessions. Some of the changes are subtle and others are drastic. I also process with the client the changes they have noticed in themselves.
How can this practicum/internship experience help you in your future working in the mental health field? Working at Outreach Concern allows for you, the counselor, to create relationships and find your style of counseling. While working in a private school you have the opportunity to understand what it is like to work in a small community and have what feels like a private practice on school grounds. Also, using the model taught by Outreach, counselors have the necessary tools to make a difference in the lives of their students.
What words of wisdom can you share with future candidates of Outreach Concern? Take plenty of notes at the training, ask questions and be prepared to work. The better you understand the training and how Outreach works, the easier it is to get settled. Also, be sure to have a hobby or some kind of self-care. School counseling can be quite taxing and it becomes very important to have something that you can use to relax.