As you consider whether to work as a generalist practitioner or to specialize in a particular area of practice, it is crucial to address the following questions. Please provide a written response for each of the following considerations attendant to the specialty vs. generalist decision. [The length of your responses is not an important factor in my grading- simply put, please demonstrate you have carefully considered these questions].
Factors to consider:
- Know thyself! What are your skills and interests?
- Do you have personal beliefs that would affect specialization/generalist practice?
- What are your career goals? For instance, if you want to write a book, specialization is necessary. If you want to open a private practice, you might not want to specialize too narrowly.
- Are there financial or geographic considerations that would necessitate professional trade-offs? Is your specialty interest even doable financially and geographically?
- What are the needs of the populace in the geographic area in which you plan to settle?
- You will undoubtedly start your career in a community agency- will a potential specialty meet the needs of that agency?
- Are your clinical skills/theoretical orientation more suited to one area of practice than others?
- Specialization requires staying current with cutting-edge treatments and research in that area- are you OK with the demands of continued professional development (costs, travel, would your work allow time out of the office).
- If you specialize, will you become "out of touch" with other areas of counseling? What happens if you want to broaden your private practice someday?
- Would you get bored with a specialty? Would you find yourself on autopilot with clients? (Note from Elin: I would. I need variety, so there's no judgment here]
- Would there be a higher risk of burnout from your specialty of interest? (e.g. trauma, child abuse, etc)
- Would generalizing allow you to better explore different techniques and aspects of the field? Would it keep you "fresh" or better allow you to stretch yourself with challenging clients/problem areas?
- Are you passionate about a particular specialty? (Passion = a better counselor]