The need for vocational counseling in the HIV/AIDS community is huge, writes graduate student Michael B. Drew, but has the potential to change many lives for the better.
In an article published earlier this year in Counseling Today, Drew, a doctoral student in the UGA College of Education's counseling and student personnel services program, draws a parallel between his own life-changing injury as a firefighter and the issues surrounding those diagnosed with HIV or AIDS. Drew found himself on a new career path in counseling, and he realized the professional needs of someone with a life-changing diagnosis follow a similar arc.
"In the wake of my firefighting injury, and facing a long disability, I can attest to the significance of vocational counseling as an integral part of the healing process," he writes. "This is a familiar narrative among people with HIV/AIDS, who sometimes struggle to explain why they have not returned to work given their outward appearance of health. Counselors can help these clients respond to any concerns involving gaps in employment history, the need to update work skills, resume writing, professional attire and preparation for job interviews."
It's a complicated issue, encompassing big-picture problems such as health care and housing, as well as details such as what to wear to a job interview, or how to handle questions about gaps in employment. Not to mention legal issues and discriminatory practices that women especially may face in their job search.
Related links: Department of Counseling and Human Development Services