Whether you’re ready to enroll in a Master of Counseling degree program, or just exploring the profession, we hope the following interview with John Pruett, Jr., LPC will offer insight into the counseling profession.
In 2004 John graduated from Georgia State University with both a Master’s Degree and Education Specialist Degree in Professional Counseling. In June of 2006 he opened his private practice in Alpharetta, Georgia. John’s areas of interest include marriage counseling, divorce recovery counseling, counseling for male teenagers, alcohol addiction counseling for adult males and anger management. John can be found online here.
I am currently self-employed in private practice in Alpharetta, Georgia. I specialize in marriage counseling, divorce recovery counseling, premarital counseling, counseling for male teenagers, and alcohol addiction counseling for adult males. I also provide court related evaluation services including drug & alcohol evaluations, anger evaluations and mental health evaluations. I do not have any employees, so I am also responsible for day-to-day duties such as scheduling, accounting, computer support, website maintenance, networking & marketing.
I typically drop my 4 year old daughter off at preschool at 9 AM and then head to the office. My day is a mixture of seeing counseling clients and conducting court related evaluations. The number of clients I see per day and per week, waxes and wanes throughout the year. Sometimes I am extremely busy, other times extremely slow. I do not accept health insurance therefore I am not seeing a high volume of clients. My work day usually ends between 6 PM to 7 PM and I am home at night to do the bed time routine with my daughter and wife.
When I made the career change to counseling in 2001/2002 I simply wanted to pursue a profession that suited my personality. I had been in counseling myself, found it to be extremely helpful (and life changing), so I decided to pursue counseling as a new career. Georgia State University in Atlanta offers a well-respected counseling master’s degree program, so I enrolled there in 2002. I am effectively a counselor because I want to help people. I am a helper, that’s what I do.
My favorite part of being a counselor is seeing folks gain insight into themselves and make changes that improve the quality of their lives forever. It is very rewarding to see an individual or couple move from effectively being miserable in life to actually enjoying their life.
Missed appointments. It’s just part of the profession but it never ceases to bug me when folks make an appointment and don’t show up.
I think the most important factor is how well established is a graduate school’s practicum and internship program? Also, will the program allow me to sit for the NCE prior to graduation? What type of licensure to students in the program typically work toward after graduation? Does this program offer specific niches for study, i.e. marriage & family, play therapy, addictions, etc. I would also be curious to know if the programs professors generally have an academic background, and applied background or a mixture of both. It is always helpful to have professors that have worked in private practice or who are currently working in private practice.
It all depends upon how much effort the student puts into their graduate education and training. I think applied experience, practicum, internships, and supervision are the most important aspects of graduate education. I would also encourage all prospective counseling students to pursue counseling for themselves at some point before, during and after entering graduate school. This is important for a couple reasons: 1). It gives the student an opportunity to see the client’s perspective, 2.) The process of counseling can help the student gain insight into their own issues and problems. Simply put, we can’t help other folks until we have sorted out our own stuff!!
I like the concept of keeping counseling case notes and files electronically in an effort to eliminate paper. I have done that with my practice since I opened in 2006. It makes things far more efficient for me and saves money. I make sure that all of my clients records are backed up and encrypted for security.
I don’t know much at all about the online counseling programs. It seems to me for coursework, online counseling education would be a superb option from the stand point of flexibility & accessibility. Given that the majority of counseling graduate students are working part-time or even full-time jobs, online courses have to be beneficial from a scheduling perspective. I do think that supervision and of course practicum and internship needs to be primarily a face-to-face experience.
To make a lifelong effort to improve and stabilize your own emotional well-being. Take care of yourself first, then you can take care of others.
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