The Counselor's Relationship to Other Professionals

Instructor: Clio Stearns

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

If you are a counselor, you probably understand that relating strongly to other professionals will benefit the work you do. This lesson discusses various dimensions of the relationship between counselors and other professionals.

Working As a Counselor

Kimberly is a counselor at an agency that provides adults and adolescents with emotional support. She meets with individuals and groups, and she really loves the work that she does. Recently, Kimberly has been thinking about the different professionals she relates to over the course of her week. She has consults with professionals in a variety of settings, and she reaches out for education and advocacy purposes. Kimberly starts thinking about what she can do to make sure these relationships are effective, interpersonally sound, and meaningful to her professional development and input. Depending on their underlying purpose, these relationships will change from one setting to the next.

Relationships in Organizational and Administrative Settings

Some of Kimberly's most important professional relationships are organizational or administrative in nature. For example, she has intra-agency relationships, or connections with others within her own agency, who handle scheduling, organizing, and other administrative oversight. Kimberly knows that these professional relationships shape her capacity to see her clients in an organized way. If they are running smoothly, she can devote her attention to her own professional expertise, rather than constantly handling administrative tasks.

Kimberly likes to manage these relationships by meeting with each person that she will collaborate with in order to delineate each of their roles, what to expect from each other, and how to best communicate. In her communications with administrative professionals, Kimberly strives to be polite, open, and friendly. She shows gratitude for the tremendous amount of work these professionals do.

Kimberly also forms relationships with administrative professionals in other agencies that she might collaborate with. In these relationships, she must represent her agency accurately and positively, learning what she can about what their agencies can offer and how best they can work together.

Financial Issues in Relationships

Sometimes, there are fiscal, or financial, concerns in Kimberly's relationships with other professionals. For example, she must establish strong relationships with the accountants who work for her agency. These professionals have tremendous expertise that allows her to not worry about billing and insurance questions.

Similarly, Kimberly sometimes forms relationships with grant writers and managers. These professionals can help her win and manage funding for different counseling-oriented projects that she hopes to take on within her agency or between her agency and the larger community. In general, Kimberly is financially responsible, but she knows that her professional expertise is in counseling, not finances. She maintains strong working relationships with professionals who bring expertise to the fiscal issues that are associated with a counselor's work.

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