In I Am a Counselor: Now What!, clinical social worker Betty Rounds draws on over 20 years of counseling experience and work training new therapists to help counselors assess their career paths and hone subtle vocational arts.
Rounds begins with a quote from Methodist founder John Wesley and continues to interweave her Christian faith within her teachings. Her first chapter makes a few broad assumptions about therapists, including that most counselors have “a belief in God,” do this work as a “calling,” and “won’t earn an income comparable to our friends in the business world.” Throughout the book, she seems to assume that many counselors are previously wounded individuals who are either recovering substance abusers, children of alcoholics, or recovering domestic violence victims or perpetrators. She also appears to assume most counselors are female, as two chapters are directed specifically at female therapists, with only a few pages added from her husband’s perspective to address male counselors. These assumptions stereotype her readers and may alienate those who don’t fit the profile.
Rounds includes vignettes from her life and professional practice and offers exercises to help counselors dive deeper into their own motivations and style. She also offers self-care suggestions and tips for setting clear boundaries with clients. She concludes with two chapters of tools she has found beneficial, listed in loosely structured order.
Rounds’ suggestions are thoughtful and drawn from a long career of self-examination. However, her perspective is often overly specific to her own experience, and her personal bias often shines through. For example, she asserts that “women are at a disadvantage for ethics training because as little girls we were taught and prized if we ‘spilled the beans.’ Hence, confidentiality can be an issue for us.” This viewpoint is disappointingly narrow. By focusing on one personal reason why confidentiality may be challenging, it fails to explore other difficulties in being a holder of client secrets.
In addition, the book contains numerous punctuation and grammatical errors that prove distracting.
While such flaws impact the book’s overall effectiveness, new female therapists, particularly those who work within a Christian context, will find some useful information within these pages.