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Vocational Counseling

Tips from the FieldWillie Davis


Willie Davis

Turtle Mountain Vocational Rehabilitation and Spirit Lake Consulting
I have learned a few things in over ten years of experience as a vocational rehabilitation counselor. As a person with a disability myself, I learned when to reference my personal disability, so that the client was able to build trust in my feedback. I also, knew when to just listen to the client’s needs and not give personal comments.
I also developed some techniques and styles on how to best work with local tribal members.

  • Often individuals will come into your office reluctantly. It isn't because they do not like you or your agency. But, rather they are somewhat shy, unsure and, most of the time, lacking self-motivation. Many times, family members, friends, or others will bring that individual in for services. The best way to help them in this situation is by giving them more responsibilities and accountability in performing the objectives in their Individual Plan of Employment, they will gradually gain independence.
  • Provide the individual with 100 % of your attention - stay away from answering the phone or door.
  • Ask questions, especially during the application process.
  • Follow up with letters, phone calls.
  • You need to be concerned about why they are coming in for services and how vocational rehabilitation services can help them -they need to know from the onset that this is an employment program and that services are tied to an employment outcome.
  • If you are not able to assist then you must refer. Do not leave them hanging or go out the door feeling that you did them a disservice. Vocational rehabilitation cannot help everyone, but you can often help them find who can help them.
  • Try to send people out the door better in some small way than when they came in, even if it is just a phone call to another agency to be sure they are the right service.


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Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc. -- P.O.Box 663, 314 Circle Dr., Fort Totten, ND 58335 Tel: (701) 351-2175 Fax: (800) 905 -2571
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