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Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling

Motivational Interviewing


Trevor has been a consultant and trainer for several State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies in their efforts to implement Motivational Interviewing system wide.

In order to ensure fidelity to the intervention Trevor has provided training and individualized coaching and feedback to vocational rehabilitation counselors, supervisors, benefits planners, and rehabilitation technicians. This is often accomplished by coding audio-recordings of actual interviews and then providing constructive coaching through telephone calls and further individualized technical assistance.

As organizations progress in their ability to provide MI services Trevor helps develop internal MI coaches who help run internal MI “coaching circles” which enable organizations to sustain their MI skills over time. Trevor provides consultation on systems wide change management and skill development.

Some of the trainings available include but are not limited to:

Using Motivational Interviewing with Families


Using motivational interviewing with family members is complex. Many family members have multiple agendas and sometimes conflicting goals and values. Individual problem behaviors can be strongly influenced both positively and negatively by family dynamics. There is opportunity to influence positive behavior change when more family members can be internally motivated for change. Motivational interviewing with families presents skills to more effectively engage with families in both group settings and in individual work. Skills to create shared understanding and shared goals are presented and practiced. The ultimate goal being to increase the motivation and commitment to change of more members of, or entire, families.

Using Motivational Interviewing in Groups


Using Motivational interviewing with more than one person in the room can be difficult. Clients, advocates, family members, stakeholders, probation officers etc all have different priorities and can make MI more difficult to conduct. Motivational interviewing strategies for working with multiple people at the same time are presented. In addition, when conducting MI groups in engagement or therapeutic settings there are additional group dynamics that can create barriers to change. Group work can either negatively or positively influence behavior change. A negative group culture can be traumatizing, while a positive group culture can create support for positive growth and behavior change for all involved. Motivational interviewing strategies to build group cohesion, discover shared objectives and values, and build a group culture that increases motivation to obtain life goals are presented and practiced. Strategies to avoid common traps and group dynamic struggles while simultaneously engaging group members in co-creating a more positive future are also presented and practiced.



Ethics is What Happens When No One Else is Looking 

A 10-hour, two-day course that examines various ethical issues that VR professionals face. Using the CRC Code of Ethics as the guide, we will explore also common thinking traps that might lead to unethical behavior.

This course covers:

  • CRC Code of Ethics
  • Ethical decision making
  • Cross-cultural considerations
  • Social media
  • Boundaries
  • Confidentiality
  • Working through ethical dilemmas

Ethics Open Forum 
In this session, participants will have an opportunity to explore ethical issues faced day-to-day work. After a brief introduction to the subject, I will lead an open forum, addressing individual issues as they relate to ethics. Case studies will also be available to display the subtleties of ethical issues.

Personal Boundaries, Social Media and Ethics 
VR professionals are confronted with situations that test their boundaries every day. Using the CRC Code of Ethics, we will examine the ethical complexities inherent in both face-to-face counselor/consumer interactions and virtual interactions, such as social networking and email. Through case study and discussion we will explore approaches for maintaining respectful boundaries with those we serve.

The Ethics of Counseling Across Cultures 
We are all shaped by our life experiences. Our personal values and those of the people we serve have a significant impact on the design and delivery of services. Through case study and discussion we will investigate the ethical challenges of working with different cultural groups. We will introduce tools that can help us demonstrate respect for the diversity of the groups that we serve.

Confidentiality: The need for respecting client confidentiality in our profession cannot be overstated, yet confidentiality can be difficult to maintain. Certain factors complicate the maintenance of confidentiality, among them is: age, disability, physical surroundings, partnering, duty to warn, small communities, email communication, and unique client circumstances. Through case study and discussion we will formulate ethical responses to challenging situations that emphasize adherence to client confidentiality.

Ethics for Supervisors and Administrators: The ethical issues that VR supervisors and Administrators experience are unique. In this course we explore these ethical challenges, while exploring ways to resolve them.

Ethics for Support Staff: Support-staff often have direct customer contact that can have a profound impact on service. In this course we explore the subject of ethics, rationalizations, boundaries, confidentiality, in-office relationships and cultural sensitivity in the context of support staff experience.

Ethics, a Philosophical Perspective: There are ancient philosophical principles that form the basis for Ethics in Vocational Rehabilitation. We will explore the origins of these philosophical principles and show how they can be used today as a problem-solving tool when considering ethical issues.

Each course can be delivered as a face-to-face training, conference presentation or webinar (excludes 10 hour.) Technical assistance is also available.

Strategic Listening


Strategic Listening is a way to steer a conversation toward a variety of outcomes. The goal of strategic listening is to help people feel heard while also steering a conversation toward a specific outcome. There is a variety of outcomes that an individual may hope to achieve when engaging in a conversation such as:a) helping people become more engaged in a process, b) helping people be more compliant to new policies or procedures, c) helping people improve confidence, d) helping people feel understood, e) helping people become less confident about a negative belief, f) helping people develop solutions to problems, g) enabling people to seek independence, h) helping people redefine themselves, etc. Strategic listening includes elements of motivational interviewing, solution focused work, person-centered work, and research into effective listening and conversation strategies to create a generalizable skillset that enables practitioners to simultaneously help people feel understood while also steering a conversation toward a variety of outcomes.

The VR Process


The Vocational Rehabilitation Process is one that is prescriptively provided by the State VR agencies according to the Federal Regulatory requirements, and at the same time, each individual served through the VR program, is provided services based upon their unique circumstances and needs to successfully achieve a quality rehabilitation employment outcome. VR agencies and their staff are charged with balancing this individualized approach while maintaining the requirements of the VR program. I am a content expert in this area. I provide Training and Technical assistance to State VR agency staff, as well as administrative staff for state planning, policy development, and stakeholder input.

Working with Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Bisexual People with Disabilities


I have found the concerns and visibility of the LGTB population have changed dramatically since my counseling experience in the late 1990s, and in turn these changes require willingness from counselors in all specialties to learn, grow, and expand their skills and knowledge. I am deeply familiar with the cultural and religious challenges faced by professionals who may find their perspectives challenged by the demands of ethical practice when working with clients who embody differences that may cause counselor discomfort.



We cannot control many of the challenges we face. But can we control our reactions to these events? Research has demonstrated that resilient people are more successful, happier and healthier.

Through activities, games and story telling, participants identify personal strengths and practice using those strengths to become more resilient to change.

What You Will Learn

  1. Recognize pitfalls to resilience
  2. Identify personal strengths and characteristics
  3. Approach adversity with more personal control

Critical thinking


“In order to make accurate and effective clinical decisions and provide high quality services, rehabilitation professionals must be able to critically analyze complex client and rehabilitation system related situations.”

– Rehabilitation Education, Vol. 17, No.2 pp. 71-80 (2003)

The ability to exercise critical thought in the VR profession is perhaps the most essential, and most challenging skill. The autonomy given to VR professionals is rife with opportunity and challenge, both requiring the ability to think critically. Unfortunately the pressures of the system, client behaviors, personal values and a society that does not value critical thought all make achieving this goal problematic.

In this course we examine common thinking traps, explore how they may negatively influence our work, and practice critical thinking techniques to improve decision-making.

Basic Counseling Skills


This course is an excellent option for new counselors who lack education in counseling, and for support staff seeking to improve their communication skills.

Through lecture, role-play and case study, we will practice listening skills and learn how to respond to difficult customer interactions with ease.

This course is typically a full day face-to-face offering. Technical assistance is also available.