Professional careers in psychological disciplines vary widely and this is certainly evident in the settings of the two professionals chosen for the required interviews. Perhaps the two defining characteristics of both professionals was their desire to be flexible and helpful during the difficult current economic climate and the reward and fulfillment they enjoy in their work.
The two professionals used for this interview are Kelly Bass and Alton Shimodoi. Bass has a PhD in clinical psychology, and is a practicing clinical psychologist. She maintains a private practice in Wailuku, Hawaii. Alton Shimodoi has spent the last 12 years as a behavioral health specialist working at Maui High School in both office and classroom settings. Both professionals use a variety of approaches and modalities, although both claim making a difference in individuals' lives is the most rewarding and fulfilling part of their work.
Clinical Focus, Modalities, and Techniques
Central issues in Shimodoi's work relate to the developmental period between ages 14 and 18. His students highly contrast Bass' older clientele on whom the focus is couple's and marriage counseling, and individual therapy. Although the working environment of each is vastly different, both tend many cases of ADHD, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Shimodoi is far more restricted in his ability to help his students because the school setting does not allow sufficient time for therapeutic sessions. Furthermore, he provides service to his students for a limited four years, whereas Bass has counseled many of her patients through life challenges during her 27-year practice. Shimodoi uses cognitive-behavioral, reality therapy, and casual dialog with students, whereas Bass uses a holistic and family systems therapy and traditional psychotherapy.
Training and Psychology's Future
Shimodoi has a master's degree, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and was trained on-the-job at the high school. Bass received her post-doctorate in pharmacology, and has certification in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, and hypnosis. Although Shimodoi had no perspective on the future direction of psychology, Bass has counseled successfully using Skype, and believes phone counseling, tele-health, and cyber-health are future psychological directions. Furthermore, she believes these issues will require different forms of licensure to allow clinicians to practice across state borders when counseling individuals using the Internet or telephone venue. Perhaps because of her level of education, Bass appears to have far more flexibility in the range of services she performs, and the options of expertise she can offer. She has provided forensic psychological services in several high profile cases in Hawaii.
Ethical and Legal Considerations
Shimodoi's greatest concern is the mental health of practicing counselors. He believes an essential part of helping others must include maintaining one's own mental health because when professionals engage in engineering treatment and change for another individual, it must come by way of mental clarity. Bass believes some of the most challenging legal concerns she encounters are those in which families argue over custody rights. It not only requires legal management, but she sees the greatest difficulty as watching the child cope with the dissolution of the family during these battles.
Advice for the Aspiring Psychologist
Shimodoi advises aspiring psychologists to keep themselves healthy and relieve stress through exercise, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in enjoyable activities. Furthermore, he recommends supervision throughout the educational process by an objective individual. Bass has similar beliefs regarding psychologists and the maintenance of personal health and emphasizes the importance of engaging in a variety of work environments to circumvent exhaustion in one area of psychological service. She advised broadening psychological interests to engage in continued learning. To have the most flexibility and control to accomplish established goals, she recommends attaining doctoral level education.
Fortunately, the two individuals interviewed were passionate service providers in a profession that manages anger, anxiety, misery, and challenges that often seem insurmountable. The positive hopes and perspectives of Alton Shimodoi and Kelly Bass were a reminder of the potentially significant contribution such professionals can offer in support of the human journey. Although a worthy challenge, there is considerable responsibility in managing mental health, yet it seems to provide abundant reward and fulfillment in making a difference.