Topic 2: Jobs in Counseling – The Search and Application Process {by 6/2}

Based on the readings and assignment due this week consider the following discussion points:  *(1) Discuss your thoughts and feelings about your recent job search experience.  For example, did you learn anything?  Do you feel more (or less) optimistic about obtaining a job upon graduation?  (2) What are some potential anxieties and/or concerns you have about interviewing for a job in the mental health field upon graduation?  (3) Although your potential employer may want to know certain qualities about you, what organizational qualities are important to you?

 

Your original post should be posted by the beginning of class 6/2.  Post your two replies no later than 6/4.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

 

*Yes, the first discussion point is very similar to your second reflection question for your assignment.  Thus, you can use the answer for your assignment (or a part of it) for the blog. The rationale is that this will give a chance for your peers to read a few responses and potentially provide some helpful insight with their replies. This will also help with “priming” for in class participation.

18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Monica Teeven
    May 27, 2021 @ 16:51:57

    1. I felt a bit more optimistic about obtaining a job after graduation after completing the recent job search experience. I learned that there are positions that will allow me to work with both adults and children. This relieved some of my anxiety since I know many organizations, especially unlicensed mental health clinicians, often focus on just adults or children. During the process of researching jobs, I realized that I needed to make sure that I did not choose a job based on location. There are many mental health clinician jobs in Worcester and in the towns surrounding Worcester (I live 25 minutes from Assumption). However, there are some jobs in Boston and in the Boston area that I need to consider since they appeared to be good jobs. I live about 45 minutes from Boston (not during rush hour), so working around that area is absolutely doable.

    2. My biggest concern that I have about interviewing for a job in the mental health field upon graduation is making sure I ask questions about which assessments we can use and the number of clients a mental health clinician has on their caseload. I have realized that during my interviews for a potential internship or job, I would not always ask questions about the organization. This is because I would be anxious and I would forget many of the questions I wanted to ask them by the time they asked me if I had any questions. I need to make sure I advocate for myself by asking more questions to make sure I know exactly what I am getting myself into if I do accept the position.

    3. Some potential organizational qualities that are important to me are:
    -supervisors being realistic about the caseload clinicians have and the time frame clinicians have to complete tasks,
    -other clinicians at the workplace in order to learn from them and to get advice when I am unsure of how to process with a particular case,
    -reliable technology and software (technology does not hold up clinician’s work on a regular basis and software does not crash frequently),
    -having access to multiple assessments to assist in diagnosing and monitoring client’s symptoms,
    -organization practices CBT and/or DBT,
    -flexibility if I have a doctor’s appointment, I can rearrange my schedule a bit to make sure I am still able to work 40 hours a week.

    Reply

    • Robert Salvucci
      Jun 04, 2021 @ 13:17:01

      Hey Monica! I’m glad you’re more optimistic after the search and that you’re looking to work with a variety of populations. It’s definitely encouraging to see so many options and opportunities that are a reasonable distance away.

      Having a manageable caseload is also very important to me. It’s a key element of being able to be present and professional with clients and taking care of our own mental health. If we’re salaried we will also likely not be paid more for taking additional clients. Interviews can definitely be overwhelming and have lead me to become tongue tied and forget many of the questions I have going in. You also touch on some important considerations related to the workplace environment and flexibility of schedule.

      Reply

    • Madison Armstrong
      Jun 04, 2021 @ 13:47:43

      Hi Monica!
      I also was excited to see that there were jobs in the mental health field that allowed us to work with both adults and children. Most of my experience in the mental health field is with children but it was great to know that there are jobs available that I could still work with children but also explore working with adults as well. I definitely am also concerned about making sure I ask the right questions during interviews. I think that it can be anxiety provoking when it is our turn to ask questions about the organization. For future interviews, I plan to have a list of questions that are important to me about the work environment and company values. Hopefully having a list of questions prepared I will be less likely to forget the important ones. I thought you made a great point mentioning that having access to assessments was important because not all companies will provide us with these resources.

      Reply

  2. Jenna Nikolopoulos
    May 30, 2021 @ 21:44:42

    1. I really liked engaging in this job search experience. Since ending my internship, I have been thinking about my future in the mental health field and where I would like to go with my career as well as what population I would like to work with. I had never taken the time to formally sit down and look through the potential opportunities that are available to me and I think this assignment was a good first step in seeing what jobs are currently available and in what areas of the field. I found so many job postings working in different areas with different populations, which helped me realize that there are many opportunities available to me when I am ready to start applying to jobs. This made me more optimistic about finding a job upon graduation, especially since clinicians are in higher demand right now since the pandemic began. I did learn that a good amount of job posting were specifically looking for individuals who were already licensed and have their LMHC. I think this may be because they don’t want to spend the time supervising someone who only has their master’s degree, which is understandable. However, there were a lot of listings that stated that being licensed was preferred, and not required, which also added to my optimism about obtaining a job after graduation. I also learned that benefits jobs will give you vary between the different organizations and that there are differences in the salaries between organizations, especially depending upon whether one is licensed or not. Overall, I had a positive first experiences looking for jobs and am looking forward to roaming the job websites in the future when I am ready to apply to see if the positions I am currently interested in are still available or if there are new positions that interest me.

    2. One concern I have about interviewing for a job in the mental health field upon graduation is that I will be too nervous to ask my interviewer any questions regarding the company or forget to ask the questions I want to. I have to remember to keep in mind that this is my first “big girl” job and I should be prepared with questions to ask my potential employer to make sure that the organization can provide me with good benefits and opportunities to further my career as I grow as a clinician. I don’t want to accept a job offer just to ensure that I have a job after graduation; I want to make sure that the job offer I accept is due to the fact that I have gathered all the necessary information that I need to make my decision and have recognized that it is a good organization that can really benefit me as a new clinician in the field. Another concern I have about interviewing for a job in the mental health field is that my potential employer may not think I am qualified enough for the position due to my lack of experience. Although my internship has provided me with experience working with adults, I am afraid that if I was to apply for a position that involves working with children or adolescents, I may not get an interview because I don’t any experience working with children or adolescents within the mental health field. I would like to work with this population in the future, but am not sure how I would be able to do so considering a good amount of job postings I saw for this area stated that they were looking for individuals who have had experience working with children and adolescents.

    3. Some organizational qualities that are important to me include:
    Having strong and positive leaders within the organization that foster a good work environment and are available to discuss any matters that arise or willing to answer any questions that I have while familiarizing myself with the company
    Allowing employees to be flexible with their schedules in case of prior commitments or unforeseen events occur
    Using evidence-based practices with clients, such as CBT, DBT, motivational interviewing, etc.
    A positive work environment where other clinicians get along well with one another and support one another when needed
    Being able to develop my career within the organization by having access to advancement opportunities
    Having a balance between work and life where the organization is realistic about how much clinicians are expected to work throughout the week and provide clinicians with adequate time off

    Reply

    • Monica Teeven
      Jun 01, 2021 @ 14:27:32

      Hi Jenna! One thing that you mentioned in your blog post that I did not mention, that is an important quality for an organization that I would want to work for, is the amount of time off I would be given. I did take a year off between undergraduate school and graduate school and worked 2 jobs so I have worked in “the real world” with having specified time off. However, both of these jobs went along with a school calendar, so I was able to get multiple weeks off, unlike the job I will obtain after graduation. I also have the same concern about not being qualified enough for a position due to my lack of experience working with adolescents and children in counseling. This is because I have only worked with children and adolescents who are on the autism spectrum and was using ABA, not CBT.

      Reply

    • Robert Salvucci
      Jun 04, 2021 @ 13:25:28

      Hey Jenna!

      It was definitely interesting seeing how many places “preferred” licensure vs. “required” licensure. I wonder why they make that distinction, although it’s likely that it’s because of the variables you mentioned around supervision and extra resources needed to be allocated. I also found it exciting to see how many opportunities were available post-graduation.

      Interviews definitely introduce a lot of anxiety and can seem overwhelming at times. I also haven’t gone into interviews being particularly picky in the past, as post-graduation will be the first time I’m aiming to be completely financially independent and see the position as very relevant to my long term goals as a clinician. Lack of experience also worries me for certain populations, however I’m confident we’ll find available opportunities or at the very least be able to change agencies after a year or so.

      Reply

  3. Shelby Piekarczyk
    May 31, 2021 @ 10:32:23

    1. Due to a family emergency I have not completed the assignment due this week yet. However, I do have concerns when looking for a job after graduation. In my research I hope to find employment that I can work with a wide variety of individuals and not just adults or children. Before my internship I was pretty set on working with children but after completing internship I realized I enjoy working with adolescents and adults just as much, if not more than children. Because of this I hope to find a job that covers all populations and age ranges. Additionally, I have really wanted to become an Adjustment Counselor in a school system, I am hoping in my search that there are openings for me following graduation.

    2. One concern I have about interviewing for a job in the mental health field is making sure I ask all of the right questions, not missing any important questions. I would want to know how big or small my caseload would be and what the hours are for that agency. Additionally, due to the pandemic I would be curious to know if the agency is doing both in person and telehealth sessions or just telehealth until further notice. I have never conducted an in person session before so this would be an area I would really want to learn about and have the opportunity to work face to face with my clients. I also would like to discuss the atmosphere of the work environment as a large agency feel would overwhelm me I believe.

    3. A few organizational skills that are important to me are:

    First having strong leaders and clinician to help me navigate my professional career post graduation. I also would like to have a leader that is accessible and available when I may have questions or concerns about my clients.

    Next I would really like to have a positive work environment where each clinician is helpful and work together. I enjoy working/collaborating with people.

    Using/providing more knowledge on evidence based practices.

    Lastly, I want to feel like a partner in my work environment instead of being overworked (which I know is hard considering the need for clinicians in this field). But to have backing and support would be a key element of a work environment for myself.

    Reply

    • Jenna Nikolopoulos
      Jun 02, 2021 @ 22:06:10

      Hi Shelby! I liked what you said about wanting to know whether the agency you may potentially work for will either be doing telehealth, in person, or both. I’m glad that at some point my internship agency allowed clinicians to see their clients in person as long as the clinician was comfortable and there was proper COVID protocols in place (e.g., both wearing masks and sitting 6 feet apart from each other). After a while of just solely talking to my clients on the phone, getting to finally meet them and talk to them in person was refreshing. So I understand why you would want to experience in person sessions, since after all, counseling should be done in person! Also, after experiencing what telehealth is like, I would prefer doing in person counseling myself. Telehealth definitely has its benefits, but being able to connect with others face to face is an important experience all of us growing counselors should get to experience.

      Reply

    • Melanie Sergel
      Jun 03, 2021 @ 20:21:07

      Hi Shelby!
      I also value having a supervisor that is accessible and available when needed. I definitely think that a good supervisor is someone who makes themselves available for you. My internship supervisor would always inform me that I could call or text her whenever needed and I thought this was very helpful when I needed it, so there are definitely supervisors out there like this. I agree with you that it is important to have a positive work environment, especially in this field because it would make the job so much harder if we had to go into work with coworkers who were negative or in general had a negative environment. I think that this would also contribute to burnout.

      Reply

  4. Melanie Sergel
    May 31, 2021 @ 17:41:13

    1. After completing this job search, it has definitely made me excited for when we graduate but also for when I obtain my license because I did find several jobs while searching that I would be very interested in looking into further that require a licensed mental health therapist. I definitely prefer working with children and was able to find job opportunities that work with youth and adolescents that are in my interest. Overall, I think that there are a handful of jobs for recent graduates, and I did learn of new companies I did not know about prior to this assignment, which makes me feel more optimistic about obtaining a job if I look outside of my current company.

    2. One concern I have about interviewing for a job in the mental health field is interviewing with a company that is not as honest with you during the interview and then when you begin working for the company it is not what was discussed in the interview. For example, I would hope that when interviewing with a company and I asked what the average number of cases a clinician gets and then that being very different from when I begin working there. I think it can be easy to be blind-sided and this is why it is important to practice interview questions/have interview questions prepared before our interviews to ensure we have our questions answered before accepting a job.

    3. Some organizational qualities that are important to me include supervisors that can provide support when needed, along with ensuring that I can have an LMHC supervisor due to requirement of supervision hours by an LMHC. Along with support from a supervisor, I think it is important to have staff that work as a team. Specifically, if you work in a residential setting, you need to ensure your staff is working as a team to monitor the adolescents and ensure they are following the kids safety plans, etc. since they are with the kids constantly. It is also important to me that this organization cares about their employees using their vacation time. This might sound crazy, but after working for an organization that encourages you to use your vacation time versus a company that gets frustrated when you want to use your vacation time has been a big change for me, and it is important because it helps prevent burnout.

    Reply

    • Monica Teeven
      Jun 01, 2021 @ 14:28:02

      Hi Mel! I too have found more companies when working on this assignment and that there are sometimes multiple locations in Massachusetts for the same organization. Learning more about these companies and different locations made me feel more optimistic about finding a job that is the right fit for me after graduating. In your blog post you also mention that one of your concerns when applying and interviewing for jobs is the organization’s honesty about the workload and number of cases that are assigned to clinicians. I have heard from a few organizations the number of cases that a clinician has increased related to Covid-19, which does make sense. However, due to the increased caseloads, the turnover rate at these organizations has increased as well and this is related to burnout. I fear experiencing burnout at the organization I will begin working at after graduation. However, I also know I need to learn how to give myself more “me time” which has been hard living at home with the family with everyone being home nearly 24/7.

      Reply

    • Shelby Piekarczyk
      Jun 04, 2021 @ 09:10:47

      Hi Mel, I agree completely about interviewing with a company and them not being completely honest with you. This can be intimidating because after graduation we would all like to find a job that suits us and that we can really learn as much as possible. If we have a company that does not explain the full truth behind their agency then this can cause us to question our career (potentially) or re-route ourselves completely. I think that it is important to find a promising first job that has all the help and guidance after graduation.

      Reply

  5. Robert Salvucci
    Jun 02, 2021 @ 11:46:12

    Hey all!

    1.I felt more optimistic after doing our job search. I’ve spent time looking for positions but haven’t done that thorough of a search. I found a few positions I’d be eligible for after graduation that had many opportunities for growth and decent pay, places I could see myself being happy at. It reminded me of the wide array of opportunities that open up having a Master’s degree, and with an LMHC in particular. It helped me think about what I would value in a job search and how to balance being picky with taking what I am offered.

    2.I’m happy to say that I’ve become pretty confident with the interviewing process in general. My general impression after each interview during my internship search was that things went well, aside from a couple questions that I stumbled on. I’d say that I want to work on researching common questions that are asked in regards to applications. I notice that when I’m asked a question I’m not prepared for, I have a tendency to fumble and answer quickly rather than taking a moment to consider the question, so being mindful can help. There is also concern that a work environment will not be as inviting as it seems on a job posting or during an interviewing, so that is also something to take into consideration.

    3.At a workplace, I look for things like:

    Supportive employees – At my internship we feel like a small family, which made the process of learning to be a clinician so much more positive and growth – oriented. Having a sense of community at work is very important to me

    Clear guidelines, with reasonable flexibility – It’s good to have a sense of what is required in regards to paperwork, group rules, payments, etc. so that can be communicated effectively to clients. Some flexibility is of course necessary to accommodate certain situations

    Encouraging growth while respecting boundaries – Ideally I’d like to work somewhere where I have opportunities to take on more responsibilities while also being comfortable saying no to requests for extra work. It’s been very helpful to be able to roughly set my own pace at my recent job.

    Educational opportunities – Post – graduation I’m going to want continued exposure to new research and emerging concerns in the field. It’d be great to have formal offerings to see presenters or discuss topics with my supervisor and other clinicians.

    Reply

    • Madison Armstrong
      Jun 04, 2021 @ 13:46:41

      Hi Bobby!
      I also felt much more optimistic after doing the job search. It was eye opening to see the variety of available jobs that we could obtain after graduation. I agree that researching common job interview questions will definitely be something that I prepare for prior to interviews. I notice that when asked a question I don’t have a prepared answer for that I too will answer too quickly. I think that taking a pause and answering more mindfully is perfectly okay to do and is something I need to remind myself prior to interviews. I agree with you that supportive employees is an organizational quality that is important to me. Since we are just at the start of our careers, I think it is important to have coworkers that we can ask questions and continue to learn from.

      Reply

  6. Madison Armstrong
    Jun 02, 2021 @ 12:21:03

    1. The number of opportunities that there are overall made me feel much more optimistic about obtaining future jobs. I primarily have experience working with children and adolescents and I would love to continue working with this population. However, there are many other populations in need, and it was reassuring to know that if I ever want to work with a new population there are many opportunities such as inpatient, adult, and substance use. Something surprising for me was to see the different job types that an LMHC can have. When I think of being an LMHC, I envision working directly with clients doing therapy. However, there were many administrative jobs available that I could obtain once licensed. Although this is not something that interests me now, it is helpful to know that it could be an option should I want to in the future.

    2. For me, the interviewing process for a new job is definitely anxiety provoking. I think a lot of this anxiety stems from the idea that they are evaluating me to be a good fit or not a good fit for their company and that I must have an answer ready for each question. I think with interviewing it would be important to remind myself that it is okay to take a minute to pause and think of an answer. I also would want to make sure that I have questions prepared to ask the interviewer about what it is important to me when looking for a company. I think that questions on whether they provide supervision, client caseload, if they use evidence-based practices, what resources are available for their clinicians, are all important questions that I want to make sure I ask my interviewer.

    3. The organizational qualities that are important to me with a potential employer are making sure that they have individual and group supervision. This is definitely a must have to make sure that I am eligible for licensure. A manageable caseload to allow for a good work/life balance is another quality that it is important to me. It would also be important to me that the company uses evidence-based practices such as, CBT or DBT, with their clients and it would be helpful if my potential supervisor had experience in this as well. Overall, it would be great to work for a company with supportive coworkers that I can ask questions and continue to learn from.

    Reply

    • Jenna Nikolopoulos
      Jun 02, 2021 @ 22:05:40

      Hi Madi! I feel the same way in regards to the interview process. I get so nervous about it because I want to come off as a good candidate for the position and make sure they like me. It is scary to think of others evaluating you, especially after the interview. I feel like I will always play the interview back in my mind to evaluate my own performance and if I could tell whether the interviewer liked me or not. But, just like you said, it is important to try to remember that it is okay to take a second and gather your thoughts before jumping right into answering a question. Interviewers know we are nervous and they have been in our position before so they know what it is like. What I have found helpful is to search for common questions that interviewers could ask, write up responses of how I would answer the questions, and practice them. I find this helps me gather my thoughts better and helps me be prepared!

      Reply

    • Melanie Sergel
      Jun 03, 2021 @ 20:28:03

      Hi Madi! I also had found a number of jobs that were looking for an LMHC that were focused more on administration and I did find this surprising cause I was not expecting it. I feel the same way you do about this, that this is something that may be of interest to me in the future but definitely not right after I obtain my license. I like that you mention the importance for you to have a good work/life balance and look for a company that can help you with this by having a manageable caseload. This is something that I think is important too. If we do not have a good work/life balance, then it will make us feel much more drained and harder for us to enjoy things outside of work.

      Reply

    • Shelby Piekarczyk
      Jun 04, 2021 @ 09:13:30

      Hi Madi, I agree that interviews are extremely anxiety provoking and I also develop heightened anxiety when going in for an interview. I think that you said about reminding yourself to take a moment if you need it before answering a question is so true. Sometimes, I get caught up in interviews and think I need to have an answer right away but taking a moment to breathe and think about the question can help me with my answer. I also agree that it is important to have questions prepared to ask. As you said, they are evaluating us but we are also in a sense evaluating them to see if this would be a good fit for us as clinicians.

      Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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