Brenda J. Owens
COUN5003 – Survey of Research in Human Development and Behavior
700 Tyrone Avenue
Wilmington, DE 19804
Telephone: (302) 482-3624
Instructor: Dr. Christie Rogers-Larke
The purpose of this paper is to summarize the learner’s professional insight and reflection for the field of mental health counseling. The learner interviewed a seasoned counselor working in her field of specialization to gain insight on successful strategies and obstacles to avoid in her academic and professional development. The interviewee was also able to give the learner feedback on how to proceed with her graduate work and career planning. In addition to the interviewee’s perspective and advice, the learner researched Delaware’s counseling licensure, laws, regulations and training needed to effectively launch her counseling career.
My interview will analyze the Mental Health Counseling Field. I will be talking via a phone interview to a former coworker and friend Bertha Lingham, who is age 65 with over 11 years in the counseling field. Berth is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Connections Community Support Programs, Incorporated based in Delaware. The topics in this interview will discuss questions about a Licensed Professional Counselor’s required skills, responsibilities, salary and other intricacies of the job.
Connections Community Support Programs, Inc.is a nonprofit organization that provides community-based services to the poor and homeless individuals and families, including people with mental health, substance use conditions and cognitive disabilities. This organization’s mission is to provide an array of affordable and accessible services such as primary medical, mental health, substance abuse treatment, and employment and housing opportunities to help their client base become accepted and productive members of their communities (Connections Community Support Programs, 2011). Connections, CSP serves more than 4,000 individuals with more than 35 programs in more than 30 locations throughout the state (Connections Community Support Programs, 2011).
At Connections, CSP, Bertha Lingham’s current position is part of a multidisciplinary Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team whose purpose is to provide supports critical for individuals to function successfully in their community (Assertive Community Treatment Association, 2007). Bertha’s caseload is of about 35 individuals, with the majority of her clients having some form of mental and/or physical disability. The Learner asked Bertha what started her career path in counseling. Bertha explained that initially, she graduated from Delaware State University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in social work. Bertha stated that for years, she worked for the State of Delaware as a social worker in the benefit department. However, after observing her clients struggle with various barriers, she decided to return to school and pursue a master’s degree in Behavioral Science. The learner asked Bertha if her work related to any experiences or studies she had in college. Bertha confirmed that her courses were insightful but the internships at various nonprofit facilities offered a wealth of experience in addiction and mental health counseling. “In my internship, I received hands-on experience that prepared me well for my field of employment.” After graduation, it was through her internship network that she was able to acquire employment at Connections, CSP.
The learner asked Bertha what certification is needed to work in the mental health counseling field. According to Bertha, in the state of Delaware an individual only needs to obtain a master’s degree in mental health or behavioral sciences to work in the counseling field. However to become a Licensed Professional Counselor, Bertha stated that one must obtain a master’s degree in counseling or a related