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Learning Center Experience
By John Burke, PhD, Professor, Graduate Psychology
I am asked sometimes, "What does it take to get into
the field?" I usually reply, “Do you have a minute, I need a little time
to lay this out.” In this article I am going to talk about how to step up into
the field of professional addictions counseling. But first, let’s review your
assets. You already “get” the Internet, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this
article. And that also goes for intelligence, interest, and curiosity about
what’s new. So, what else do you need?
The first essential is a passion to help others. I could
mention authenticity, empathy, and caring, but the passion to help others must
be there first. Professional counselors help persons in need of aid. It’s that
simple. Their professional skills and native aptitudes are used to help others.
They make deep connections to people. And they use these deep connections to
facilitate real change that impacts the lives of others. They build what is
called a therapeutic alliance, a connection with another person which shares
some of the elements of genuine friendship but also is boundaried and defined
by professional skills and objectives. In psychological language, counselors
provide a “facilitating and empowering environment” that makes real change
possible. And while they are doing this, counselors also provide hope.
Counselors show real interest in others. But other people
have many different “cultural colors.” It has said that it is only possible to
really learn one or two different cultures than your own in a lifetime. But
counselors learn how to relate and
communicate with persons who are very different than themselves and thereby
begin the change process. And, sometimes these persons who first seemed to be
different than ourselves become friends when we get to know them. Learning how
to approach others can be taught; but first there must be a real interest in
Preparation is needed to address the complex problems and
challenges that modern people experience. This preparation is best gained as
part of a formal educational process. For instance, depending on the program, a
master’s degree in psychology allows opportunity to study current research and
clinical practices under the guidance of doctoral-level licensed professors,
while participating in the valuable experience of being on a common learning
path with fellow students who have the same goals. Because psychological
research is constantly developing, it is important to stay abreast of the
John Burke, PhD is
a faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are
solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
Climbing the Steps to a Fulfilling Career in Behavioral Health Fields
Succeeding and Broadening Your Opportunities in Human Services
Did you find this article interesting? If so, share it!
And if you are considering pursuing higher education we invite you to find out more about Kaplan University’s programs and explore our undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.
* Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.
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