The Rehabilitation Counselor in Professional Practice

Section and Chapter Summary

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Part 1: The Practice, the People, and the Profession

RehabilitationCounselorProPractice-CoverThe Rehabilitation Counselor in Professional Practice contains ten chapters 30 to 40 pages in length. Part1: “The Professional, the People, and the Practice” contains four chapters focused upon management of the rehabilitation practice, the clientele with whom rehabilitation counselors work (the employers, the people with the jobs, and the injured or disabled workers, the people in need of a job) and motivational principles for setting a receptive counseling climate between counselor and client. Shorter publications drawn from Part 1 could produce titles such as “The Rehabilitation Counselor as Manager” (chapter 1), “The People of Rehabilitation: Persons with Disabilities and the People who hire them (Chapters 2 & 3): Understanding Class Differences between Employers and the Working People” (chapters 2 & 3), and “Motivational Principles for Rehabilitation Counselors” (chapter 4).

Chapter segments taken from Chapters 1, 5 & 9 could form a short publication entitled “The Rehabilitation Counselor in Professional Practice” that could be used as supplementary material for any college or university course in a rehabilitation curriculum.

Chapter 1: The Rehabilitation Counselor’s Management Role in Job Placement

Take a look at the management side of rehabilitation practice, both private and public. The chapter begins with tracing the emergence of the management role of the service provider in rehabilitation case practice, then provides an explanation of management functions with illustrations and examples of how these functions are used in case management, and ends with management approaches to job placement showing ways rehabilitation counselors can balance the counselor’s need for managerial control with their clients’ need for growth and independence. The management approaches to job placement presented in this chapter form the unifying theme for the final two chapters of the publication: “The Selective Approach to Job Placement for Persons with Disabilities” and “Networking for Jobs in the Hidden Job Market: A Client-Centered Approach”.

Chapter 2: The American Character: Life and Structure in the American Society

The American Character profiles the people typically served through rehabilitation services. We approach these profiles by looking through the eyes of America’s creative writers and social scientists to give us snapshots of the way Americans feel about themselves, the ways Americans organize and act as individuals and groups, and, particularly, the ways society as a whole view the world of work. The American small town serves as a microcosm of America to enable us to discern useful knowledge about the people we serve and those with whom we work. Why the emphasis upon small towns? Writers of small-town literature and social scientists observing the American scene give us the best, and the only relatively complete, picture we have of American life, manners, values, and the way Americans as a whole organize and interact within their social structures. Understanding group and individual values is a critical factor in reconnecting rehabilitation clients to work in their communities.

Chapter 3: The American Character: Job Placement in a Structured Society

We continue our investigation into the American character. Again, we use research from creative writers and social scientists observing the American small town. However, the scope of our investigation narrows. The content of Chapter 3 centers exclusively upon vocational issues and work-related issues, such as  family and social influences which affect vocational choice, attitudes and ethics of the American worker,  and a profile of each of the main players in job placement: employers, the people with the jobs, and the groups of employees which are our main clientele. This chapter examines many of the basic assumptions we make about vocations and vocational choice throughout The Rehabilitation Counselor in Professional Practice 

Chapter 4: Client Motivation: Setting a Receptive Climate for Job Placement within the Counselor-Client Relationship

This chapter concerns leadership issues in the counselor-client relationship as managerial control shifts from counselor to client between case planning and  job placement in the rehabilitation process.  At the beginning of the client-counselor relationship most of the management control lies in the hands of the counselor and most actions are initiated by the counselor. However, once the case planning phase has ended and job placement becomes the objective, counselors have less direct knowledge or managerial control over so many of the events that affect the outcomes of the case. They have to rely upon the quality of the relationship built in the early stages of the relationship and hope their clients will act responsibly as they seek out job contacts, and meet and interview employers. Building trust and confidence in the relationship are motivational concerns. Chapter 4 begins by tracing the development of motivational theory from its origin during the Industrial Revolution to the present with particular emphasis upon recent motivation studies during the past three decades which have led to practical solutions for dealing with people in the American workplace. The chapter gives practical guidance toward applying these concepts to the counselor-client relationship in rehabilitation.

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Part 2: An Introduction to Forensic Rehabilitation

Part 2 titled “An Introduction to Forensic Rehabilitation” contains a chapter on client function (Chapter 5) and a second chapter (Chapter 6) which provides an application of the principles of client function. This application discusses the court process and ways administrative law judges with the Social Security Administration decide their disability cases based on a claimant’s ability to function in the workplace. These two chapters could stand alone as (1) “Understanding Client Function in Rehabilitation”, (2) “A Counselor’s Guide to Understanding Disability Adjudication”, or (3) “The Rehabilitation Counselor as an Expert Witness on Disability.” The two chapters could be taken together to form a larger booklet titled “An Introduction to Forensic Rehabilitation”. Or Chapter 6 could be expanded to form to a single publication “The Vocational Expert in Social Security Hearings”.

Chapter 5: Determining Client Function: An Introduction to Forensic Rehabilitation

In both private and public rehabilitation, the primary professional activity undertaken by rehabilitation counselors prior to job placement is much the same: (1) determining a person’s residual functional capacity (RFC), the level at which a person can perform work activity given their physical, mental, and vocational limitations and abilities, and (2) determining their employability, what kinds of work a person can do given their residual functional capacity. These are the diagnostics of rehabilitation. Chapter 5 lists the kinds of questions attorneys normally request from vocational experts and takes the reader through a case study to show how these questions are addressed in forensic reports, depositions, and court testimony. The content provides a beginning look at how practicing rehabilitation counselors typically gather information, how they interpret the medical and other sources they examine, and the way they put together information to determine the level of client function for litigants in a court of law.

Chapter 6: The Vocational Expert in Social Security Hearings

Increasingly, rehabilitation counselors serving as vocational experts are called upon to provide vocational testimony during disability hearings for the Office of Disability and Adjudication Review (ODAR) with the Social Security Administration.  This chapter is a natural extension of Chapter 5. Chapter 5 provides the diagnostics principles and techniques vocational experts use as a basis in their decision-making; This chapter provides an application of the diagnostic principles through vocational testimony in a court of law. Chapter 6 is unique in that it is written from the perspective of the vocational expert and is intended to give a person unfamiliar with the legal process a feel for the court-room experience. The Chapter presents a description of the main participants in the hearings: the administrative law judge (ALJ), the plaintiff attorney, and the vocational and medical expert; and delineates their role in the hearings. The content of the hearing follows the 5-step process an ALJ uses to determine disability. Perhaps the most original section of the chapter provides typical questions, in hypothetical form, addressed to the vocational expert from attorneys and ALJ’s and typical responses given to these questions from vocational experts who regularly serve the courts.       

Part 3: Finding Jobs for Persons with Disabilities in the Contemporary American Economy

Finally, Part 3 of The Rehabilitation Counselor in Professional Practice titled “Job Placement in Rehabilitation” contains four chapters on the techniques and strategies for finding jobs for persons with disabilities. The first two chapters contain an overview of employment in the national economy over the past 40 or so years, identifying the kinds of jobs most often found for the disabled, forecasting the future outlook for these jobs, and creating the tools of the job search, the resume, etc. The final two chapters offer two alternative approaches or strategies for job placement. These are job placement approaches well-documented in rehabilitation literature. The four chapters could be taken as a whole and titled “Job Placement in Rehabilitation” or broken down into smaller publications with titles like “What Every Counselor Needs to Know about Jobs for the Disabled” (chapters 7 & 8), “How to Use the Internet for Job Placement” (chapter 9) or “A Client-Centered Approach to Job Placement” (chapter 10 and “The Job-Search Organizer”). Shorter publications on the practice of job placement could target additional populations, such as Goodwill and private workshops that train persons with disabilities for employment.

Chapter 7: The Counselor’s Introduction to the World of Work in the New American Economy

This chapter traces employment patterns in the United States over the past forty or so years, from 1970 through 2020 as America has moved from a goods producing economy to a services economy. During these four decades some occupations have been lost forever while new occupations have emerged to take their place. However, the movement from a goods producing economy to a services economy has greatly altered work in America; and, as a result, changed the way we go about case planning and job placement in rehabilitation. This survey of employment history in America looks at three things: (1) how jobs in America have changed over the past four decades, (2) the reasons for changes in the occupational base, and (3) which jobs have declined and which jobs are likely to be there for  the future. The chapter includes a list of selective occupations and projections for these occupations from the Department of Labor through 2020.

Chapter 8: The Job Search

The final three chapters are devoted exclusively to job placement. From this point forward, the focus of The Rehabilitation Counselor in Professional Practice narrows as we look at specific ways of finding employment for persons with disabilities.  The opening section of the chapter “How People Find Jobs” looks at Department of Labor research on how jobs are found in the economy. This section examines techniques and approaches most job-seekers use to find jobs in the traditional job market and to make a direct approach to large and medium-sized employers. The second section of Chapter 8 “Developing and Marketing Community Resources” turns to the local community to find resources and people to help jump-start the job search. The last section of Chapter 8 “The Tools of the Job Search” focuses upon the teaching of the skills clients need to find jobs, and the preparation of tools of the job search, such as a client resume, cover letter, and thank-you notes to interviewers and employers..

Chapter 9: The Selective Approach: Using the Internet for Direct Job Placement

Chapters 9 and 10 present two management approaches first introduced in Chapter 1. In the Selective Approach the counselor takes the leading role in the job placement process from the initial stages of reviewing the case file, interviewing the client, determining the vocational objectives, talking with employers, and locating jobs for the client. The first section “Preparing for the Job Search” reviews ways for making a preliminary case analysis and evaluation of case material, determining functional restrictions, conducting a client interview making an initial evaluation,   selecting the most effective management approach to job placement, and beginning the job search. In recent years the Internet has provided new ways to penetrate the local job market that allows counselors to locate local job offerings that typically are within the “hidden job market”. The chapter explores ways for using the Internet, with particular emphasis upon community and employer web pages, to better understand the needs of employers, to find out the qualities employers look for in the people they seek to hire, and to locate job sources and job contacts.

Chapter 10: Networking for Jobs in the Hidden Job Market: A Client-Centered Approach

The final chapter of the book provides guidance and direction for locating job leads in places where there are no published lists and where the path is uncharted. These places are in what is called the “hidden job market” where from 40% to 85% of the job openings in a given community lie. And, the only way to reach this job market, experts say, is through networking through family, friends, and acquaintances. In a client-centered approach, the counselor and the client share the duties of job placement. But to provide effective leadership, counselors still must find a way to manage the job placement process. The client-centered approach presented in Chapter 10 introduces a management tool called “The Job-Search Organizer” to help counselors maintain control over the case and direct the activities of the job search. The first section of the chapter shows counselors how to use “The Job Search Organizer” to develop information for the job search, maintain regular dialogue with the client, teach and reinforce successful job-seeking behaviors, and regularly communicate with a client during job placement. The case study of Alison Benson, based upon a real-life situation, is used to demonstrate the procedures of the “Job-Search Organizer”. The second part of Chapter 10 continues the case study of Alison Benson and takes the learner through a step-by-step strategy for networking through family, friends, and JobSearchOrganizer-GeraldWellsPhDacquaintances to reach jobs in the “hidden job market”.

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Finally, as intended, “The Job Search Organizer” should and will stand alone as a separate publication. Unlike other job-search publications, the organizer is a managed approach to job placement. The primary audiences for Job Placement and the Vocational Side of Rehabilitation and “The Job-Search Organizer” are rehabilitation programs within the academic community and rehabilitation counselors in private-practice companies and public rehabilitation agencies. In fact, rehabilitation counselors should use a publication like “The Job-Search Organizer” with every case having job-placement objectives. “The Job-Search Organizer” should meet a need also for communication and documentation among practicing rehabilitation counselors as well as agency and company administrators, managers, and supervisors.

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