Technical Communication in the Counseling Field

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Photographer:  Allison Foley

Psychology is a diverse and varied field, so often times it is difficult to make a choice about which path to follow.  Counseling is a good choice and has many rewards for those who decide to study it.  But this specific branch could not survive without communication.  It plays a very vital role in making sure that patients are satisfied with their treatment and receive the correct type of treatment for their problems.

Lindsey O’Neal is a counselor and coordinator at Louisiana Tech University, who also does work with Alcohol and Other Drug Education.  She has her bachelors and masters from Louisiana Tech.  Mrs. O’Neal is not simply a woman who listens to students.  She also helps to coordinate and organize treatments and meetings for her patients.  If a new student comes to her with a problem, she helps to ease their stress or arranges for them to meet with another counselor who can see to their needs.

Mrs. O’Neal, when asked about written communication, made it clear that it was a very important aspect of her job, especially during “staff meetings, consultations, supervisions, collaborations, and sessions.”  She uses the exchange of information to make sure that the most effective methods of doing things are used.  Without it, she could not ensure that her job is running the way her superiors need it to run.

An extremely vital part of Mrs. O’Neal’s job is the initial part of going to the counseling services, which involves filling out an intake form, which is a general and simple form that tells the counselors the reason for the visit, as well as other vital information such as name and student number, etc.  It is extremely important because it gives the counselor information on how to go about treating the patient and the student’s goals for the counselling services.

Another aspect of technical communication that makes Mrs. O’Neal’s job easier is the usage of online communication with students.  This consists of a website and email that students can use to check dates, events, and contact counselors.  She believes that “this generation is technically advanced” and that without said communications, the counseling services would not be able to reach all of the students in a convenient and time efficient manner, if at all.  With the invention of the internet, her job became much easier, making it very easy to reach students who are busy, at home, or would otherwise be difficult to reach.  This form of communication makes it easier to treat patients in the manner that is necessary for their specific needs.

Mrs. Lindsey O’Neal, like current students enrolled at Louisiana Tech, took a technical writing course in college.  She said she took it while working toward her undergraduate degree.  She felt that it “was beneficial in [her] journey” toward becoming the counselor that she is today.  Because of this course, she was able to adjust well to the method used in the professional field.  Mrs. O’Neal is now “more aware of [her] wording” and “can be more concise in [her] writing.”  This makes it much easier to communicate to her superiors and colleagues about how to go about treating patients with issues, as well as making reports about treatment options.  If she was unable to accurately and concisely write down the things she learned from her patients, then it would make her job extremely difficult and could potentially cause harm to students.  This can easily be avoided thanks to her acute writing abilities in the psychology field.

Amanda Allday, guest blogger

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