From Client to Counselor
For Brittany Lambert, a WVU Online student studying Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling, the Monongahela building is a place where she hopes her clients find comfort and relaxation.
That place is called Ascension. Ascension’s goal is to “provide personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable.” Brittany works at Ascension for about 10 hours each week providing counseling services and a variety of other things for people with addiction as well as their family members.
She stressed the importance of this job and how wonderful it makes her feel to know that she is providing free counseling for people who wouldn’t be able to afford services otherwise.
But for Brittany, counseling at Ascension is just a small part of her busy schedule.
A Well-balanced Act
As part of the Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling master’s program at WVU, students are required to complete an internship in the field during their last semester of courses.
Brittany is currently interning at the Job Accommodation Network, which is a national service that started at West Virginia University. The organization provides technical assistance and guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well accommodation ideas for employees and employers.
Despite having a full course load, working 40 hours per week to complete her internship at JAN, and counseling in the evenings at Ascension, Brittany maintains the kind of positive outlook that most would envy.
“I’m extremely fortunate to be in the situation that I am in. Being from such a small town, many people there don’t even get the opportunity to go to college. The fact that I have been able to earn both an undergraduate and master’s degree from WVU and experience life outside of Elkins, WV is something that I will always be grateful for.”
What’s even more amazing about Brittany’s academic career? She was able to get both of her degrees fully funded and currently boasts a 4.0 GPA as a graduate student–even while working two jobs.
The most amazing part of Brittany’s story is not her genuine personality, obvious intelligence, or strong desire to help others–It’s her ability to relate to her clients and their needs.
“I have glaucoma. I’ve had it since birth and a few years ago because of the glaucoma and pain that I was experiencing, I had surgery to remove my left eye. As a result, I only have vision in one eye and it is limited.”
“Being from such a small town, many people there don’t even get the opportunity to go to college. The fact that I have been able to earn both an undergraduate and master’s degree from WVU and experience life outside of Elkins, WV is something that I will always be grateful for.”
Instead of letting her condition stop her from achieving her dreams, she used it to forge a career path.
“The services were always there. It’s strange to me that it took me so long to stop and think about it, but there were always resources that I was using and that were in the background of everything that I was doing. One day, when I was a sophomore in college, it hit me. This is what I want to do as a career. That’s when I decided to do rehab counseling.”
Even more incredible was Brittany’s ability to categorize her vision impairment as something positive–a situation most people would never dream of viewing as a positive experience.
“The kinds of services I received growing up have always been here framing my experience in the field. A lot of people in the major aren’t fortunate enough to have that background information like I did. Not only do I know this profession from the counseling perspective, but I know it from the client perspective as well.”
A New Beginning
In May 2017, Brittany Lambert will walk across that stage and receive her master’s diploma. A day that she can’t believe has approached so quickly. Her goal? To find a career in Clinical Rehabilitation that allows her to help others and give them opportunities similar to those she was given.
“My goal for every client I meet now and in the future, is to let them know that I am available to them as a resource for anything. If there is something that a client needs and they are comfortable letting me know, I will do everything in my power to help make sure they get it.”