I conducted an interview with Barbara Schauland, MS, Rehabilitation Counselor, Branch Office Manager, regarding her experiences working with culturally diverse clients in the field of vocational rehabilitation. Ms. Schauland has been employed with the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services for five and a half years. During her time with the agency she has worked as a general field counselor serving adult population, as a specialized counselor working with the deaf and hard of hearing, and now is a branch office manager. Ms. Schauland supervises ten Rehabilitation Counselors, three Rehabilitation Service Associates (para-professionals) and one Office Assistant. During the interview Ms. Schauland was ask various questions regarding her experiences.
Interview Questions and Answers
How do you define diversity?
“Diversity is the differences that we experience in society due to nationality, race, age, location in the county where we live, family backgrounds, as well as physical or mental differences, gender, and socioeconomic status.” (B. Schauland, personal communication, November 11, 2015)
Do you serve a diverse client population?
“Yes Division of Rehabilitation Services works with a diverse population. We deal with people of different cultures and races, with physical and emotional differences.” “I worked as a rehabilitation counselor for the deaf and hard of hearing for three years.” (B. Schauland, personal communication, November 11, 2015) You indicated to me that you had experienced biases among those who decided to receive cochlear implants can you discuss this? “Individuals in the deaf community feel that they should be accepted as they are and not have to feel as if they are not a ...
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...age such training and advice counselors on any training opportunities that become available. Even though the training is not offered through agency venues it is important for counselors to seek out this training.
What recommendations would you give to someone working with clients from diverse backgrounds?
“To know yourself, and be aware of ways that you present yourself to others. Continue with self-monitoring to make sure that you are as effective as possible with each individual that you are working with.” (B. Schauland, personal communication, November 11, 2015)
Ms. Schauland was able to share some of her experience in working with individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing and the cultural background of this community. Some of the techniques that she spoke of will be beneficial to me as a new counselor when working with culturally diverse clients.
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