Counselor Interveiw

James L. Penter Degree: Med Community Counseling School: Kent Graduation 1993 James L. Penter (Jim) has had a variety ofdifferent careers as he looked for the right one to do. He first became a police officer but after working a couple of years in that profession he realized that fighting crime was not something he really wanted to do. He was also interested in radio so in his next career, he became a radio talk show host. He mentioned that although he enjoying working as a radio host it took a long time to make money in the profession and to move up the ladder to other positions in this field. He also had no interest in moving all over the country in order to secure his success as a radio talk show host. The profession of talk show host in some way was related to his next profession because he thought about working on a crisis hotline. He thought that might be an interesting career. This is where he first recognized his passion for counseling and decided to make a career out of it.
Jim mentioned that he had worked at many agencies and learned to totally appreciation Family and Community Services (Famp.C). He mentioned that if this was an individuals first job, they may not appreciate how good a job this one is. he did because he had so many jobs he did not like.
In some of the agencies he worked at he was under a lot of stress because he was always trying to make quotas as part of the job. He likes Famp.C because it has such a relaxed atmosphere that he loves coming to work. At this agency they do not have to worry about quotas because they are a non-profit agency and rely more on grants than the number of patients that come through the door. He feels he is able to really focus on the clients now which is what he has always wanted to do.
Jim gave me a small description of the various parts of his job. He does eerythign from paper work to working in the court system. He seemed proud of the fact that he is on a first name basis with the judges in Kent, OH. The Famp.C is responsible for a variety of programs. In addition to his other duties, Jim runs a 26 week Domestic Violence program for individuals who have committed domestic violence and have been sent through the court system. He also conducts a weekend Alcoholics Anonymous class for DUI offenders. His counseling duties take him into individual sessions with men and women who experience PTSD due to sexual assault. Jims agency also runs a homeless center for veterans and three community centers. In addition to Jim, the agency has three other counselors. There are group, couple, family and individual counseling for children, adolescents and adults offered through this agency.
I asked Jim what he liked or disliked about the job He said he disliked the paper work because it becomes overwhelming, and you are under a lot of pressure when you are working under a grant because you have to make sure you are doing exactly what the grant says you will do. He also dislikes billing the insurance companies because there is a specific way that each insurance company requires you to fill out the paperwork. if it is not filled out correctly, you do not receive payment. This means that everything you do really has to be documented.
His gets a lot of satisfaction at seeing the clients improve after therapy. This is one of the main reasons he likes the job. The only challenge to this he said, is the fact that once the client feels better they do not come back. He would like to know how they are doing, but he never hears from most of them again. He said its a rare situation if a client comes back to thank you so you have to know within yourself that you did a good job.
What I have learned from this experience is that individuals come to a counselor for many different reasons, but for most it is in some way because they want something to be different in their lives.nbsp. They may come to the program because they are court ordered, but to be there means they want to change their personal or family situation, solve a particular problem, resolve old hurts, or simply bring a healthier balance to their lives. I found out that a counselor is also a consultant because they are expected be able to give advice to other professionals in their field and to lend a hand where they can. Some people need the advice from a community counselor for the success of a project they are doing. The counselor gives their professional perspective to many individuals in the professional community so that they can help individuals in need bring about change in their lives.