The need for rehabilitation counselors is a topic few think about until the specialties in the field are required. Yet, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Statistics, the outlook for growth in the number of rehabilitation counselors in our nation is projected at 20 percent between 2014 and 2022. This is faster average growth than any other profession. Different sources suggest further need for rehabilitation counselors is due in part to the increase in the number of elderly in our nation and the rehabilitation needs of veterans and other groups of individuals with disabilities. However, confusion persists as to what the rehabilitation counselor does in our communities.
As a rehabilitation counselor with North Carolina for several years, I worked at a state agency, often meeting clients (consumers) at schools, their homes, their jobs, or county facilities. My main duty involved developing and implementing a planned program of rehabilitation services. My professional goal involved assisting my consumers with disabilities in finding and/or maintaining employment. Essentially, rehabilitation counselors:
- A. Believe in the worth and dignity of people
- B. Facilitate inclusion, integration, and independence of people with disabilities in communities and employment
- C. Commit to a sense of justice established by providing accommodations and the opportunity for individuals with disabilities to participate in privileges and rights through empowerment.
One can think of rehabilitation counseling as the systematic process aiding individuals with disabilities in obtaining goals in the most integrated setting. Some of the techniques and methods used in this counseling process follow:
- 1. Job analysis and job development
- 2. Referrals and team coordination
- 3. Appraisal and assessment
- 4. Group and individual counseling
- 5. Diagnosis and planned treatment
- 6. Career counseling
- 7. Placement services
- 8. Case management
- 9. Access to and consultation about any needed rehabilitation technologies, and
- 10. Follow-up services.
Indeed, a rehabilitation counselor must have a wide knowledge base regarding the psychological, medical, environmental, and vocational implications of living with a disability. Often, I met with families and the consumer as well because rehabilitation counselors take a holistic perspective in conducting their work. These factors are addressed by the rehabilitation counselor and the consumer when developing the comprehensive plan of service delivery. Since rehabilitation counselors are becoming more prevalent in our society, the mystery of what happens when meeting them should become common knowledge.
CRC CCRC Scope of Practice. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from: http://www.crccertification.com/pages/crc_ccrc_scope_of_practice/174.php
Rehabilitation Counselors: Occupational Outlook Handbook: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved March 27, 2014, from: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/rehabilitation-counselors.htm