Counseling is an Art and Loving to Read is Too!

This is a repeated blog entry from 5-14-12 and it fits right in with my writings on Art & Science. Plus I’ve included a video published 7/9/14 titled the Art of Counseling developed by CRCC (Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.)

CRCC (Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification)


A couple blogs or two back, I wrote about reading (and working!), and the type of books I commonly read. I held a questions and answer session with my daughter Arin, who is a connoisseur of books.

One Cute Bookworm

Arin is currently reading Heir to the Empire: Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 1, by Timothy Zahn, independently, and Their Eyes Are Watching God, a 1937 novel by Zora Neale Hurston, for her English class.


Stack o Books

Grandpa Jimmie Botkin was definitely a bookworm. He would read up to four books at a time. (I couldn’t do that!) My brother Mike Prochnow is like that too, well, being a bookworm. I remember growing up he would be reading a book in the living room and we (his nice brothers and sisters) used to act up a storm and try to startle him out of reading…..never worked. We even contemplated bringing in the Iowa Falls High School marching band into the living room to see if he would look up from whatever book he was reading at the time.

My Grandma read a lot too! And my son Nick. He has a love of reading as well!

Nick reading a Harry Potter Book while lounging in Ann & Dick’s motor home.

And Randy.  Geez Leweez! He’s actually in a book club!

Check out this 30 second video I created titled Randy Reads!  It took Randy awhile to get the fact that I needed a little attention.  The point here ties back to empathy and counseling. The counseling profession is based upon a helping relationship. The counselor takes on the role of a helper. He or she tries to help one or more people, by providing counseling with respect to some kind of a problem, issue or concern.



Loving to Read is an Art!  Put Your Readers On!

In my opinion, Counseling is an Art, but okay, Counseling is a Science as well.  I do have a Master’s Degree in Science and I’m a Counselor.  And Randy has a Master’s Degree in Art and he’s a Teacher.  There. Point Made!?!?

Any comments? Drop me a line at to let me know what you’re reading…..and why!



My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce. 

Preparing to Graduate…Again!

Just an update to let my readers know I am nearly done with my most recent learning adventure through George Washington University….that lasted well over a year! I certainly learned a lot about forensics rehabilitation consulting, and really appreciate my cohort comprised of really smart rehabilitation counselors across the country!

There are students from the great states of Iowa (me!), Texas, Ohio, Washington, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, the District of Columbia, and who am I missing? Kansas?!


BeautifulOur Beautiful Country is so Colorful!

I’ve been in all our states but Washington, Hawaii and Alaska. This was traveling done mostly as a youngster, in the back of a station wagon with the entire family (oh, the memories!).

Back to the current times Amy….! During the forensic rehabilitation coursework, I placed heavy emphasis on the study of ethics. Because I feel comfortable with my own ethics, in turn I feel comfortable with forming my own opinions (and expert ones at that!)

One ethics paper I prepared in October, 2013 for the course Foundations of Forensics Rehabilitation Counseling II (COUN 6396) emphasized Ethics, Values and Character Surrounding My Career in Private Practice.

In another ethics paper I submitted in Spring 2014 for the course Law and the Rehabilitation Counseling II (COUN 6396), I analyzed Ethics and Vocational Reports. Specifically, I critiqued a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and his USE OF TESTING INSTRUMENTS in VOCATIONAL EVALUATIONS.

Along with submitting my paper to GWU, I also submitted it to a professor from the great State of Washington who teaches ASSESSMENTS to master’s level rehabilitation counseling students. I received powerful feedback from her.


I am happy to share what I’ve learned and how it can be best applied to meet your litigation needs. My papers are available, just ask and I’ll see if you really want to read all about it! Call me at 515-282-7753 or email   Or easier yet, connect with me on LinkedIn. I’ve posted them there!


My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce

Ergonomic Chairs and Hummingbirds….Beautiful Designs!

I get excited about natural, smart and beautifully designed things in life. Here’s one:

My new Liberty Chair by Humanscale!

I absolutely love this ergonomically designed chair. It fits my body, is simple and sleek, and provides great lumbar support. Ergonomics is highly valued in every environment. (Especially my office!)

“Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of the interactions among human and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.“
(International Ergonomics Association Executive Council, August 2000)

And here’s something else I am just amazed by:

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds!

Oh, I get so excited when I see one of these brilliant, tiny, precision-flying creatures show up at their feeder in my front yard!!  Their bodies glitter like jewels in the full sun, then vanish with a zip towards the next nectar source. The beautiful bird is designed to fly not only forward but fly backwards (the only known bird with this capability), and to hover in front of flowers as it feeds on nectar, or in mid-air to catch tiny insects.

Hummingbirds can fly long distances…beating their little wings 55 times per second. When they migrate they cover a 500 mile non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico. Incredible!

My point is to take time to find what helps you work and enjoy life. Make a connection between the amazing, the natural, and the world you live in. Love it, care for it and treat it, yourself and everyone you meet with kindness and respect.

Hope you have a great week!


My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce.


My Purpose to Serve Others Continues to Ring True!

(Original post date 9/10/13) As I mentioned last week, I’m moving into round 2 of my studies at GWU. I came across the statement of purpose I wrote in April 2013 and wanted to post it as it continues to ring true for me!

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE written by Amy E. Botkin

My purpose in undertaking graduate study at The George Washington University is to learn about the intricacies and efficiencies of serving as an expert witness in my area of expertise. As a rehabilitation counselor, life care planner and placement specialist, my focus is often on facilitating healthy return to work outcomes.

Prior to my current career, I worked as a marketing representative for a staffing agency that placed people into clerical and light industrial jobs. This work experience offered me a base on how to match people with the world of work. I understand the concept of incorporating the needs of employers with the needs of job seekers.

My background as the leader of a diverse group of placement specialists afforded me additional insight into challenges affecting job seekers. In my practice, as well as with the experiences within our group, I visit employers and find that personalities and fitting in, as well as proof of skills, may be the strongest indicator of a successful placement.

However, in perspective the job seeker may not believe he or she has the capacity to meet the employer’s expectations. Therefore, the job seeker is not successful in the initial stages of a job search, leading to feelings that may further disintegrate their role and performance as a qualified job seeker. Therefore, my career goal is to continue with my consulting practice and incorporate specific work-life identity skills training.

Ringing True!

As a freelance writer on a part-time basis, I develop stories about locally owned businesses, mostly from a personality perspective by interviewing business owners to learn about their background and what brought them to this particular business. I gain much insight and detail into what brings a person to their career.

My ability to draw out a person’s background information is also useful to guide a person who has lost their job due to illness, injury or disability into a new or similar job that continues to use their assets, albeit in a new form.

My research interests are in the areas of vocational rehabilitation, specifically how personalities, lifestyles and cultures form a person’s work identity. When taking into consideration a serious injury or accident that leads to disability or functional limitations, I would like to identify and assess unique methods to adjust the factors related to essential functions of a job that may be beyond a person’s capacities (either physically, emotionally or intellectually).

I would like to learn how to Box!

Using the skills gained from this program, I’d expand my research methodology for my client, evaluee or customer. Presenting novel material in front of a jury will allow me to separate from the common counselor and be viewed as a credible source of unique material that is specific to the needs of the case. With this new knowledge and skill, I would feel even more confident expressing my opinions. I look forward to my studies.

Thank you,

Amy E. Botkin

Amy E. Botkin, MS, CRC, CLCP



P.S. ~


 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

An Umbrella After 20 Years!

Randy celebrates 20 years of teaching for Des Moines Public Schools this year. 20 years! of teaching!

Randy Botkin DMPS Service Award

The GiftRandy appreciating the gift of appreciation he received

The umbrella did come in handy as all you DesMoines-ians (and the Midwest actually) know with this rainy weather we’ve been having. Good job Randy. I love you and am so thankful for your longevity (ooohh). Could I have your umbrella please?!

This week I am going to start blogging about a subject I’ve been wanting to blog about for awhile. Volunteering! Volunteering (I will quit being redundant hopefully) is such a good thing.

This weekend, Randy and I volunteered for North High School Band Boosters: we helped to run the concession stand at John Grubb Stadium for a youth track meet. It was fun! And the youth and adults who were our customers were very appreciative and polite.

Hats off to all you wonderful people!

Okay, so yea, volunteering. Performing a service voluntarily. Think about what you’ve done in this regard……and how it benefited others! Good huh!

Anyway, when you have children and are an active member of any community, you will be called to volunteer. My first memory of volunteering was for Meals on Wheels. More to come on that!

Have a great week! School is out for the summer on Wednesday. Be safe and love your children and neighbors. Volunteer to help!

My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce.

* Vocational Resources Plus, LLC  * *

Hermey’s Career from the Production Line to Dentistry….Follow Your Heart

Are you being productive at work because you enjoy what you do? If so congratulations! You experience coherence between your work and your personality.

I wrote awhile back about my son starting a job at Wells Fargo as a collector. He is doing very well there, and recently moved up into a team leadership role. Good work Nick. I am very proud of you! Nick is able to become successful because of coherence.

Hermey and Rudolph

Hermey and Rudolph (did you know the movie originally aired in 1964?)

Perhaps you have a bit of the character Hermey (or my son, or even me!?) in you? Are you happy at work and therefore productive because your work and your personality just click? Or is it the opposite?

People are happiest when they are put in jobs that match their personality. Rewarding work improves your success rate. Personality can be a big factor in determining the success in any particular field. Equally important, when you work in an environment that supports you, you act and even feel more effective!

One day at work in the toy factory, Hermey was going to get written up by the head elf because he hadn’t finishing painting the toys. ‘What’s eating you, boy?’ the Head Elf asked. Hermey simply wasn’t happy with his work and didn’t like to make toys.


Hermey is Very Good with His Hands!

When asked what he wanted to do, Hermey replied, ‘Well, sir, someday, I’d like to be a… a dentist.’ He continued to explain how there was a need for a dentist and he had been studying….’It’s fascinating; you’ve no idea. Molars and bicuspids and incisors…’ It helps to be fascinated by your work. Skills and natural talent make your career a perfect fit!

Hermey had keen insight into what made himself click, and most likely, unless the Island of Misfits or The North Pole had Internet access, he knew this without taking an online personality inventory. If you click to the left you’ll go to a previous post from me [and on me!] on personality.

Upon gaining experience, with fixing dolls’ teeth and later extracting the abdominal snowman’s teeth, his career really took off!

Ab snowmanHe really wasn’t mean at all!

The abdominal snowman was in pain and needed help. Thank you Hermey for your talent, ability and confidence to help him.

I have written two articles on dentists over the last couple of months for Women’s Edition – here’s one. This dentist loves his work!

AuraFollow your Heart!

I am naturally drawn to my work. I love my work and am passionate about my career! I become energized and engaged by what I do for a living!  I hope you do too!

Here’s a great article about Why Loving Your Work Matters. It describes 5 big ways that having energizing work benefits both your life and the world around you:

You have more energy to put into ~

~ your work

~ your relationships

~ making a difference

~enjoying life

~ overcoming challenges

I hope you have a fantastic week! May May Bloom!


My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce.


Intimidators: Tailgaters, Drunken Jerks or Glaring Attorneys?

Remember the last time someone tried to intimate you? How about when a person (like a careless driver tailgating, or the drunken jerk standing in line for a beer) may think they can make you do something or react in some way? Exceed the posted speed limit ~ NOPE! Pay attention to public intoxication ~ NOT INTERESTED!

uckr cup

Go ahead be one, but don’t think I care!

Recently I received a pretty mean facial expression/glaring eyes/stare down/stern voice/condescending attitude and a critical tone to the long litany of questions from an attorney during multiple cross examination (this blog posted ~4/8/2013!). I knew he was trying to intimidate me.

But, I answered all his questions calmly. (I love it when the attorney can’t even remember what they asked me and have to refer to the court reporter) and stuck to my guns (aka: my knowledge base) during my expert testimony.

Simply put: I know what I’m talking about. I know my job…and one role of my job, especially when on the witness stand is to educate.

mmBring it on!

I have never been intimated much by people (places, things or even animals either for that matter.) Okay, okay, I am intimidated by……Mother Nature……especially when she zooms a mesocyclone or other tornado like activity our way. Mother Nature is a Force to be Feared! Treat Her with Utmost Respect!! 

I have always been able to speak my mind (ask anyone who knows me) and yes it’s gotten me in a pickle or two from time to time. I try to express whatever is on my mind being mindful of who I’m communicating with, the content of my speech/body language, and the context of how/when my message is delivered.

PeacockThere is truly a difference between a cocky person and a confident person.

I like to accept my confidence with the work I do and grow in it every day. Seriously, my role on the stand allows me to serve as an expert witness & educator all while consulting within the scope of my practice. I keep a placement and quality of life orientation at the forefront of any topic.

And of course, learning more about how to serve as an expert witness will only help me to help others. I’ve applied to The George Washington University to study for a graduate certificate in Forensics Rehabilitation Counseling. I’ll keep you posted if I’m accepted!

Endnote dated 8/15/2017: Yes, I was accepted….and yes I graduated from GWU….and yes I learned a lot! and continue to learn about myself and my role in life, and my beloved career more and more every day!


My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

My Grandma Jean ~ Loved to Read

Did you know women are nearly half of our Nation’s workforce and more than half of our college graduates? My Grandma was a college graduate! 

I have fond memories of G’ma. She definitely was not boring! Jean lived in a condo, loved to golf and drove a flashy red Corvair! She enjoyed going on cruises too.

The color and model of Jean’s car matched her hair and her fingernails!

Jean enjoyed spending time vacationing at her and Grandpa’s timeshare condo in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, soaking up the sun and feeding seagulls bacon. Yes, they’d swoop down and pluck the bacon from her fingers.

Hey, there she is again!

G’ma has a bachelor degree When she met her future husband Jack , they were both attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.  That is  unusual for a young woman in those days (like the 30s.)

Willie the Wildcat ca 1960 (the mascot of Northwestern)

In later life, G’ma Jean became legally blind. That did not stop her from reading. She constantly absorbed information and being visually handicapped allowed her to do things differently….and with a flair as usual!

My sister Julie brought over this article published  September 7, 1978 in a local Northbrook, Illnois newspaper.

Jean Dodge 2nd sight

Taped books offer 2nd sight

 Here’s excerpts from the article ~

Like many avid readers, Jean P Dodge reads 3 or 4 books a week. Unlike most other readers, she reads with her ears. Mrs. Dodge awoke last Easter to find her vision gone, destroyed by an un-diagnosed illness. That still mystifies doctors. She is one of the few local person who make use of free special library services for the visually and physically handicapped.

The services include Braille and large type (twice the normal size) books, along with phonograph and cassette tape recordings of dramatic readings of books (Talking Books). All these services are available through the Northbrook Public Library 1201 Cedar Ln as well as most other Northshore libraries.

The Black Path, Saffron Skies

Mrs. Dodge, a self-described former “avid” reader of paperback fiction, said Talking Books serves as a psychological link to the life the 64-year Northbrooker enjoyed before developing impaired vision.

“I’ve been reading for about 60 years, so it (losing most of her vision) made quite a hole in my life. I read constantly. It was one of the greatest sources of my amusement. Talking Books made all the difference in the world to me. I feel so much more normal. It has made such a tremendous difference in life as far as getting back to where I used to do,” she said.

Mrs. Dodge learned about Talking Books from a daughter in law employed at Deerfield Public Library that also supplies the service admitted that without her new verbal world of reading “I would probably go nuts.”

“I would be a very bored and unhappy person. Radio and television would be my only options to pass the time. I can’t be in my car running around anymore,  so I have a lot of spare times. This fills the breach.” ~ the entire article was written by Richard Sheehan.

And so, Grandma. Thank you for continuing to do what you loved! And loving all of us as well. She helped shape my history!

Visit to learn more about the generations of women who have shaped our history.


My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce.


March is Women’s History Month…Thanks Good Boys!

March is Women’s History Month. The theme this year is women in science, mathematics, technology and engineering.  My husband thinks he is his school historian, so here’s his take….and my additions.

It took women more than 72 years of arduous struggle to win the vote (called woman suffrage) from the Seneca Falls Convention on women’s rights, held in 1848, to the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920.

Seneca Falls Women!

Victory was never assured until the final moment, when Tennessee became the last state to ratify the amendment ~ by a single vote! In the intervening years, the drive for women’s voting rights encompassed the lives of several generations of women.

A man in Tennessee and women from all over

It appeared that the amendment might fail by one vote in the Tennessee house, but twenty-four-year-old Harry Burns surprised observers by casting the deciding vote for ratification. At the time of his vote, Burns had in his pocket a letter he had received from his mother urging him, “Don’t forget to be a good boy” and “vote for suffrage.”  

Signed, Your Mother

So thank you Harry and Randy for our vote and for this blog. You are both good boys! Randy, I hope your students enjoy learning more. Keep me posted on your subjects for the class you are teaching. Very interesting!

BTW, do you or your mother excel in science, mathematics, technology or engineering? Or your daughter? Does she? Even if they have just an interest in these areas, encourage the women in your life to learn more.

My daughter Arin is taking precalculus

Arin was chosen to participate in the Career Advantage program between her high school and Des Moines Area Community College. She’s taking a precalculus course. What’s even better, she gets 5.00 CEUs of college credit, and she’s “only” a high school junior!

You go Sweetie!

And thank you  Carrie Chapman Catt – one of Iowa State’s most distinguished alumni. I need to remember to thank you each time I cast a ballot. Here’s a link for more information on Mrs. Catt.

Carrie Chapman Catt Center

The  Cat Center at ISU

For a great resource on women in history, visit the Plaza  of Heroines 


My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Des Moines Public Schools had planned to use MLK day as a snow make up, but it was overturned by the school board based on good speaking and listening skills of many people.

MLKMLK would be proud of the process involving the community

I also think he would have appreciated the students being in school on his holiday if that had been the case. He obviously had a lot of education, as his wife did, and knew how important learning is at every age. I have a lot to learn about MLK and how his life continues to evolve throughout communities across our country.

Green garbage truckEvery Tuesday morning the garbage in my community gets picked up

The evening before he was assassinated, MLK was prepared to lead a protest march to help support striking garbage workers. Thank you to the garbage workers and the city street sweepers of Des Moines. I appreciate your work. Des Moines is a beautiful city filled with people who care about our community. I am proud to live here.

Street sweeperI hear it coming down the street quite a few times throughout the year in my community

Thank you Dr. King for all you’ve done, especially for your call to service and for working people across the nation. I’m particularly fond of this quote.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” ~ a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King.

Be the best you can be at what you do.


My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce.