Counselor Interview Series

As you may have noticed, we here at SA Counselors Networking Group headquarters like to support our fellow counselors with advice provided by other counselors.  Our motto probably should be something like “by counselors for counselors.”  One way to promote the viewpoints of our colleagues is to continue featuring interviews with people from all areas of the field.

Today we would like to share our interview with LPC-Intern Tamara Kiss.  Tamara recently moved to Texas from Florida. When I had the pleasure of meeting Tamara this year, she had yet to make many professional contacts here in San Antonio. In mere months, she has managed to gain provisional licensure in Texas, find a supervisor, gain employment, and become active in our networking group. Talk about a go-getter!

photo for Zeiders

Can you please share with the group your credentials and supervisor’s information?

My name is Tamara Kiss, I am an LPC Intern in Texas and Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern in Florida.  My supervisor is Sonia Dimas, PhD, LPC-S, NCC from Alba Wellness Center.

How far along are you in the licensure process?  When do you expect to be fully licensed?

I already completed 300 hundred face-to-face hours and 100 hours of admin time in FL, however I expect to be fully licensed in 18 months in Texas.

What is your preferred theoretical orientation? What is your preferred issues and populations?

My theoretical approach is eclectic.  I work with cognitive behavioral, cognitive processing, object relations, brief solution focused intervention techniques most of the time.  I am very open and excited to learn more about different approaches and techniques as I grow and advance as a mental health professional.  I enjoy working with adults the most. I counseled clients with anxiety, depression, bipolar and other mood disorders, schizophrenia, substance abuse related issues and various personality disorders.  I also have extensive experience in working with the military population.

Where do you currently work?

I work at a private practice called Alba Wellness Center.  At the practice counseling services are provided for: Anxiety, Depression, Relationship Difficulties, Loss & Grief, Family Conflict, Behavioral Problems, Self Esteem, Life Coaching, Military Life/Transition/Deployment, Anger Management, Coping Skills, Sexual Identity, Immigration/Psychiatric Evaluations.  The practice`s website is  I am thrilled to learn from Dr. Dimas. In the near future I am planning on starting a Mood Disorder Support Group as my first endeavor at the practice.  I also have a part time government contracting job as a SECO Career and Education Counselor.

You have recently relocated to Texas, can you tell us a little about the challenges that came along with that experience?

Relocating from FL to TX as an intern was quiet challenging.  In Florida I was a Mental Health Counselor Registered Intern and I had my own case load at a private practice.  In TX I had to take the NCC in order to be able to obtain the LPC Intern license.  With the processing time of my application the relocation put me 6 months behind on my progress toward licensure.

What has been the most positive professional aspect of your relocation?

There are many positive professional aspects of relocating to San Antonio, but the most positive aspect is the abundance of CEU classes, certification programs and seminars that allow me to learn more about our profession.  In February I participated in the “Understanding the Gut Brain” seminar and I learned invaluable information about the connection between our food consumption and emotional well-being.  I really appreciate the educational opportunities this area has to offer.

What resources have you found to be most helpful for your professional development? 

Since I moved here the most helpful resources have been the SA Counselors Networking Group blog and Facebook page, as well as the monthly peer group meetings.  I found my supervisor through the Facebook page and I learned about other exciting employment and educational opportunities through the network.  As a member of the American Counseling Association I regularly read the Counseling Today magazine.  I often read the SAMSHA website/resources and do research on the web on professional matters and recent studies.

You used to work at a psychiatrist’s office, what did you learn about the roles of medication and counseling while there?

I believe that medication has it`s place in mental health care.  If a client is suffering from an organic problem, talk therapy by itself is probably not going to be efficient enough.  I believe in the combination of counseling and medication, if it is needed, in order for the client to get better.

What has been the most valuable and difficult lesson you have learned thus far in your career?

Always meet the client wherever they are at.  Create therapeutic goals with the client not for the client.

Most counselors are trying to build referral sources and stable clientele bases; do you have any ideas how we as a group may be able to support each other through that process?

I think it could be very beneficial to keep a database that can serve as referral system with a list of providers, if they are taking new clients or not, specialties, locations and availability.  Also, exchanging ideas on outreach opportunities can be very helpful as well. I strongly believe in the power of networking when it comes to business development.

We want to thank Tamara for participating in our interview. We hope you find it helpful.  Please feel free to give us suggestions for future interviews.

-Tiffany Frias, MA, LPC-Intern /



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