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The Counselor's Relationship to Other Agencies

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

If you work in the counseling field, you probably know that your relationships with other professionals and organizations can make a big difference for you and your clients. This lesson discusses the role of the counselor's relationships to other agencies.

Reaching Out as a Counselor

Lori is a professional counselor, someone who meets with individuals, couples and families to help them work through emotional challenges they face. She works for an agency that provides these services at a reasonable cost.

Lori loves her work and finds it so rewarding. For the last year, she has been focusing on forming strong connections with her clients and colleagues within her agency. Now, though, Lori feels ready to reach out of this comfort zone and start forming professional relationships with other agencies and individuals.

Lori knows that the relationships she forms with other agencies can make a big difference in her own professional growth as well as her capacity to help her patients. She starts learning about the different kinds of agencies and professionals she might work with to best inform her professional efficacy.

Education

First, Lori understands that a lot of the professional growth she has to do will come from pursuing more education. Further, she knows that many of her clients will benefit emotionally from receiving access to more education.

Professional Education

When it comes to her own education, Lori looks for professional agencies that offer online and in-person modules for counselors looking to learn more about specialized topics. For example, she finds an HIV/AIDS organization in her community and learns that they offer professional development to mental health professionals who work with people living with AIDS.

Lori also finds places where she can put her own expertise to use in educational ways. For example, she reaches out to the local libraries to talk about running occasional educational workshops on emotional self care to members of the community.

Client Education

Many of Lori's clients are frustrated by their work situations and would like to receive more education as a way of changing their lives. Lori develops relationships with leaders in local educational agencies that provide low-cost services and classes in topics Lori's clients might be interested in.

These include courses ranging from English as a Second Language to auto mechanics; Lori is interesting in forming any relationships that can help her send her clients in the direction they most want to pursue.

Consultation

Sometimes, Lori also wants consultation relationships with other agencies. In other words, she wants to find professionals who can give her thoughtful advice on specific topics. Conversely, she knows her own consultation services can be helpful to professionals in different fields.

One example of a consultation relationship comes when Lori has a client who is very worried about his immigration status. These worries are affecting his emotional well-being. Lori has formed a strong relationship with a local immigrant advocate agency that employs several attorneys. She is therefore able to reach out to an attorney and get accurate information about the man's status and legality. She is able to use this information to assuage the man's suffering and anxiety.

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