Get Level During the Divorce Process With an Earning Capacity Evaluation!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As an Attorney, do you work with divorcing couples? If so, have you utilized vocational expertise to help level out the uncharted territory for your client?Whether employed, unemployed or underemployed, an earning capacity evaluation offers valuable information regarding a person’s working world. Read on to learn more!

My company, Vocational Resources Plus LLC offers vocational consulting services, and specifically, an earning capacity evaluation will benefit parties in a divorce in many ways. 

Time to Get Level

If you need a clear, objective picture of a divorcing husband’s or a divorcing wife’s earning potential, and not just what he or she is currently earning during the divorce process, but how their vocational background could unfold with options and corresponding wage information, let me help! As a vocational expert, I know what skills are in demand in today’s employment market, and what income these skills can command in various careers.

Career picI report on the evidence and am always prepared to back it up through expert testimony!

An evaluation provides recommendations on the person’s functional capacity, personality, work skills and abilities, transferable skills, work values, aptitudes, interests, motivators,  work readiness and ideas for employment. Any recommendation or opinion is backed up with supportive data that highlights the individual’s vocational presence.

Based on individual circumstances of employability, hireability and placeability (3 of my favorite ability descriptors!), other factors are assessed, for example, job seeking skills and job search records.

Most importantly, during a divorce your client’s personal story deserves to be heard, especially when discussing talents that include job skills and the career the person gravitates towards.  Results of all assessments and analyses are explained accordingly in a clearly written report.

Postit marriageI can help tell your client’s vocational story realistically and persuasively.

In one case I’m aware of, the divorcing woman declined to hire her own expert (umm: me) and found herself at a serious disadvantage. The “opposing” vocational expert sure did a number on what he declared she would earn in today’s workforce even though she hadn’t worked anywhere in 10 years!

There were inaccuracies and factual errors in this expert’s report on a specific career (it was teacher) that made me wonder if he (the opposing expert) had actually ever talked to a teacher about their job in real life! (Ahh, try being married to a teacher like me!) The opposing expert did not make sense! You simply don’t start out (with an outdated bachelor degree, no license, no certification(s), and no recent teaching experience) at $50k!! Not reality!

Even following divorce, my services can help an “ex” find appropriate work. With the results of interest and aptitude tests, along with professional guidance, the value of hiring a vocational consultant is enhanced should the cost of placement services be included in the alimony proceedings.Earnings $

Knowing your earnings ability will directly impact the resolution of the economic aspects of your divorce.

Please contact me to discuss how I can help level the playing field so the divorce process moves in a fair and equitable manner. It makes sense to have a person’s earning capacity known early in the proceedings! Do it before a different report says otherwise! Having valid and reliable information on earnings directly impacts the resolution of the economic aspects of any divorce.

Call me ~ Amy ~ at 515-282-7753. If I don’t answer, please leave a message! Or email me at vocresources@gmail.com    Thank you and I look forward to helping you help your client!

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

A Bouquet of Gerbera to Share, Along with My Vocational Assessment Services

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Here’s a beautiful Bouquet of Gerbera as a gift to celebrate my endurance and to share with you, my Attorney Reader!

I’ve experienced website issues in the past, and if you’re like me (a self-taught web designer/blogger/site maintenance person who is totally responsible for owning a website), it is quite disheartening to have your site be down. It’s not that I didn’t try very hard to fix it, because I’ve had “issues” before that I was able to resolve, but not as complex as this one!

But with help, I was able to be back online! where today I remain essentially “worry free” with LexiConn my host service provider located in Colchester, Connecticut which was referred to me by a smart IT woman named Edie  out of Ankeny, Iowa. If you’d like a referral, let me know! Of course, an Internet “connection issue” can arise at any given moment and will need a fixin’. And in that case, I’m on my own.

So, Amy, with these flowers, I remind myself of where I’ve been and that I’m specially equipped to continue on with my choice to write to my readers! Yes, again, You my Attorney Reader!   Take some of your valuable time and look around my website. Enjoy!

What’s interesting to me is the fact that when I first started my vocational consulting practice in September of 1999, I was working part-time at a flower shop (Doherty’s on 2nd Avenue) as the “flower processor”.

The best part of what I did for this job (besides clean up the backroom, storage spaces upstairs, the walk in cooler, and other areas that needed it), was to process incoming freight. This involved (♥I loved it!♥), opening the boxes of flowers after I signed off for the delivery; and preparing the beauties for use by the floral designers. 

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My very favorite flower to process is the gerbera daisy! Why You Ask? It’s all in the ease of cutting the stem!

On-the-job, I was taught how to unwrap the flowers, place them in the correctly prepared liquid solution, and cut the flower stems perfectly before placement in correctly prepared containers for storage in the cooler, as required for best results! I used a really big stem chopper like this: Related image

Watch the fingies, Amy!  No, I never got injured! And yes, I really enjoyed this part-time job (ahem, it’s not on my resume however)! I was working with live beauty! The work allowed me to continue on my life journey (the position was only short lived because my business started getting busy and I could no longer take calls in the bathroom without feeling guilty) s a flower arranger.

You see, growing up in the 70’s, I  excelled in flower arranging, even entering fair contests and winning ribbons!  I loved Garden Club, thank you Marie Hubbard my neighbor mom who was the club leader and one great teacher!  To this day I continue to enjoy arranging flowers!

Related imageWhere’d my show ribbons end up?!

Back to this blog…for awhile interesting sounding warning signs were visible at the top of my site (not at all a good thing, right?!?). There was no danger to my readers, or to myself for that matter! And it wasn’t the end of my world (but I did fret a lot).  

So after plenty of anxiety (boooh) and stress (double booooh) that was thankfully overcome; along with a big heaping of faith in myself, I dove in, performed in-depth research, made local connections, trusted my instincts, spent plenty of time and money…; and learned about my options which lead me to make a change for the better!  

In a nutshell, the decision was made to switch hosting providers (sounds easy, but really is not!) It’s a process, just like every business or personal related transaction/step/decision which is important in one’s life and simply has to be made.

Related imageRelated imageI feel a tad smarter in this huge Internet world! Plus this learning experience offered me additional insight into who I am as a self-proficient small business operator.  And allowing me to help you even more with your client who may be just that: a self-employed small business person. My plan for my business is to continue to utilize my website for the purposes it was intended when  I started it up <link to my disclaimer!< in the Spring of 2011!

Could your plan include contacting me to help you help your client?!  If you need any sort of vocational assessment, I am definitely one of your choices and would like to be your preferred chosen choice!

Although not easy to prepare for because each one is unique, the assignments I accept are fulfilling and I appreciate the opportunity to help and use my creative resources. Give me a call 515-282-7753 or email me at amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com   Thank you for reading!

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

 

Need A Good Report? Rebut No Matter What!

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I was taught that vocational report writing is a very powerful form of communication and can influence the degree of success for the individual for whom it was written.  I love to communicate through the written word and have written many, many, reports! Blog posts too!

So this blog is to be sure you, my Attorney Reader, know I’m here to help critique and/or rebut a report that may cross your desk.  Image result for report

How many people do you know who really love to write reports? I do! It’s not that the report writing process is easy, it’s a challenge!!

Let me ask: Have you ever read (or tried to decipher) a vocational report that doesn’t make sense?  Is the report ambiguous and difficult to read? Does the person it was written for understand it? Do you understand it? Is it possible the report can be defended? Or should the report be ripped apart, piece by piece to get to its’ nuts and bolts? Need a critique or a rebuttal? I’m here to help!

Rebut No Matter What! 

Bull

This was my husband Randy’s Grandpa Cliff Yearington’s Bull. Cliff knew a lot about Bulls & Bulls*** too. 

Loosen, take apart and re-assemble that poorly prepared report. Will it fall apart or simple wobble on? A poorly prepared report stresses difficulties but doesn’t offer much information about solutions. It talks about weaknesses rather than strengths; deficits and negatives rather than pluses and positives. It seeks to make threats rather than suggest changes. It uses multiple words, unclear statistics, and a slick method to confuse rather than clarify.KeepitSimple

Simply, it’s not helpful to write an entire vocational report about how bad off the person is, especially without mentioning plans to help make a positive impact on the individual’s life.

I love to comb through reports and make all attempts to uncover what the contents say to the reader.  Just because it’s a report doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to make sense! A report still needs to flow, tell a story, describe details and make valid and reasonable conclusions.

Here’s a sentence commonly found in reports from the same vocational person that I’ve been asked to rebut. [Keep in mind this long line comes after results of testing are provided within the report, but they are not explained at all!]

It is important to note that the purpose of all vocational testing done and reported here is to compare an individual’s current performance with their past performance as documented by their education, training, experience, and the standard worker trait factors associated with that history.

Say what? What does this run-on sentence mean?  The writer is using testing to compare performance? Did the evaluee’s past performance have anything to do with the testing administered? Did this person take the same tests throughout their work history? And then the paragraph continues…

 It is NOT correct to confuse an individual’s current test performance with performance in work prior to injury, as current performance is likely affected by the sequelae of disability.

Okay, now who is confused? The test taker? The person administering the test? I’ll tell you who….the reader!Related image The reader is easily confused by a poorly prepared report! Don’t be a confused reader! It’ll get you nowhere!

My initial question regarding this vocational report scenario, maybe helping to avoid confusion from the get go, is WHY were EACH of the specific testing instruments administered at all to this specific person? What is the rationalization for administration? The vocational person who wrote the report does not come close to answering these questions. To be ethically sound, administer testing only with a direct and relative reason to do so. 

I’ve written a professional report about my opinion on ethics and use of testing in vocational evaluations. Please contact me for a copy of the report. If you are my contact on LinkedIn, you’ll find it there readily available for now.

The underlying use of testing results to try to prove a person is permanently and totally disabled raises many ethical questions. Would you want that for yourself?

A test, really, a series of tests that I was forced to take, I didn’t understand, and simply put I didn’t want to take…those results determine my fate? Absolutely ridiculous! Results of testing are meant to assist a person for true and valid reasons…..not to paint a picture of “post injury residual vocational potential”

Image result for testing cartoon

Would you like to take ~ 10 tests in a single sitting? No!

Without testing, evaluation is merely speculative

Really now? I’ve helped to place literally hundreds of people without administering testing! And many other placement people do too! If you understand the persons skills and match them with jobs in the local labor market, there’s a match!

Yes, of course I use certain standardized tests and self-assessments to help people when it is appropriate for reasons directly related to their placement goals, but that isn’t all I use during a vocational evaluation! I gather knowledge and assess many other areas involving work, interests, skills, aptitudes and lifestyle to help. I do not rely on only the use of test results!

Back to report writing, which is a very specialized skill; and I continuously study, practice and improve upon my own writing skills. As a professional writer, I never stop training! I think I gained natural talent from my Grandpa Jack, a journalist!

Image result for writing

When I’m writing, I get very absorbed! My office cat will testify to that!

Again, do you need a critique or a rebuttal? I’m Your Person to Help!

If your opinion on a case doesn’t mesh at all with the report on your desk, please contact me to help sort out the discrepancies. Keep in mind, I know opinions are just that, opinions.  And reports are meant to answer questions, not raise more!

I also want you to keep in mind that if you believe in the truth, there’s a way to show it. Contact me for expert testimony and witness services, too! Oh, and I definitely can rebut a life care plan as well! Thank you for reading this post!

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

Central Value of Consulting with Me, What An Attorney Will Find!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I provide forensic vocational rehabilitation consulting services and work with attorneys with passion; those who truly care about their clients.

You’ll find we make a nice pair when we focus on your client!

Please take your time to review information about my professional services. Life care planning and forensic rehabilitation counseling are unique to vocational rehabilitation. That’s why I chose to work in this field! It takes a lot of knowledge yet common sense to truly help others.

Work Hard Stay HumbleYou’ll also find I work hard for you and just as hard for your client!

If you, Attorney Person, need help with how to quantify AND qualify an individual’s earnings capacity within a life care plan, I am the consultant you’re looking for. If you need a report explaining a person’s vocational background and earnings potential, I am the consultant you’re looking for. If you need an expert to serve on the stand in your case, I am the consultant you’re looking for. Want me to continue on about my work? 

I believe work is central to the existence of adult functioning. It provides funds needed to live and supplies status and security for an individual. You’ll find value in how I approach my own work in a qualitative way. You’ll see I’m grounded in neutrality, sincerity and resolve to never give up until the facts make sense.

Ask me some questions and learn what I, Amy E. Botkin, can do to help you help your clients.

Amy Pic 9-29-15

You’ll receive a humble reply!

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * lcpresourcesplus.com * 515-282-7753  

amyebotkin@lcpresourcesplus.com

 

Thank you for reading and checking out my website!  < Where my disclaimer is found!

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

Samantha Josephine, Soo Soft and She Smelled Sooo Good!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Oh SamiJo, how I miss you.   I’ve cried a lot and believe writing this blog and posting pictures of you are healthy for me to grieve, even one year later.  Samantha Josephine Botkin ~ January 10, 2002 to January 10, 2018.

I have many memories of Sam. She’s the only store bought cat I’ve ever owned! We definitely got our money out of that Aqualand purchase, back when the kittens were for sale in the window.

 

16 years is a long time to spend with me, and we both sure went through a lot! Sam’s fur was soo soft and she smelled sooo good!  I loved pushing my face in her coat and taking big sniffs!

I was so proud of my goal: for Sam to be a “lap” cat. It took five years, but here’s my proof. I was such a proud cat owner this day,  December 20, 2007!  I was so proud of both of us! Sure wish I knew where that pink ISU hoodie went.

Here’s My Proof!

After that, she pretty much was always near me! Although she loved cuddling up with ArinJune too!

Here’s just a few more of the many pictures of Sam I’ve taken over the years. 

Yoga Love, this was a selfie! 

Isn’t she special! As I believe all cats (and cat owners) are! 

I love this shot with Sam lounging on the blue pillow (which I salvaged out of my mom’s dumpster when she cleaned her house out before moving to Florida after dad died in 2016), the colors being a perfect background!

Below is the last photo I took of her, the day I called  my vet and was referred to the Iowa Vet Referral Service on Merle Hay Road (highly recommended by me).

When I look closely into her eyes, I can see me. A week after she was euthanized, I picked up her ashes and on the trip home, I saw a rainbow in the sky!!! It was the Rainbow Bridge without a shadow of a doubt. If you’ve experienced this before, you know what I mean. Believe me, it’s breathtakingly true.

The box for her ashes is beautiful, its’ home in my bedroom is near where she slept.  Her clay paw prints have a special place as well, which I fill with essential oil, vanilla recently, for a nice aromatic reminder of the love of my life Samantha Josephine Botkin. Prrrrrrr.  I’ll never ever forget our time together on this earth! Till we meet again girlfriend. 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seasons Greetings and Cheers to the Rest of Our Year!

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Cheers to the Rest of Our Year!  Champagne Glasses

May our year of 2018 leave us in a calm manner and lead us on into a fabulous 2019!  I wish you and your family the very best seasons in life! What are your plans for 2019? I plan to keep the year simple and focus on what really matters!

KeepitSimpleLet me know what type of consulting I could provide to help you with employment and disability cases, whether there’s litigation involved or not! I’d love to help you help your client.    

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

 

Working on a Case Involving Work & Disability? I’m Here to Help You…Depose & More

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I can help you, my Attorney Reader, in a number of ways with a case you’re working on that involves work and disability, whether it be medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation or any other litigation.  Legal Case FilesActually, disability doesn’t have to be involved, yet when is tends to make a case more complex! 

One way I can help you is to design creative questions skillfully as part of the discovery process allowing a much deeper inquiry into the person’s “world of work”.

My goal is to inspire you even more to do what you love to do which is ask questions, right!? And to be the best attorney you can be, double right!!

Depo

I’m sure questions you ask a deponent include those to: determine the nature of previous jobs; amount of money making; for whom s/he was working; why employment was terminated; and what qualifications and experience s/he had for the type of work s/he was doing [when injured].

You also question what work the individual has done, if any since the disabling condition, describing job duties; and determining previous employers and earnings.  Questions posed to encourage a deponent to detail what it is s/he can and cannot do are important, too.

These are all good questions from you yes, and critical of course (although kinda boring in my humble opinion!). Would it help you to have at your fingertips specifically designed questions (based on evidence to date) at deposition that will produce a much deeper inquiry into the person’s vocational background? I get excited when I think of sooo many other questions you could ask that really get into the meat of the matter!

meatAnd I don’t eat meat!

I’ve heard 90% of malpractice cases are settled before trial, and the deposition often is the turning point in those cases. I’d like to help you prepare questions that will lead to responses offering plenty of material for you to work on your case. My aim is to help you skin that cat in many ways and be ready for the most likely responses from your witness.

Object

My hope is that my help with your deposing techniques is valuable pre-trial as well as if the transcript is used for court. Plus, please keep in mind, I can definitely help you in more ways to better understand the individual’s disabling condition. A life care plan is perfect for that! Expert witness and testimony services are available as well.

I am here to help you help your client!

Call me ~ Amy Botkin at  515-282-7753 or shoot me an email message at vocresources@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you. Thank you for reading! Good luck with your legal work. Do you want to really know that you love your job as an attorney?  Here’s a link to an assessment titled why-do-you-do-your-work-you-may-be-in-love that can help you find out!

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

Working on a Litigated Case Involving Work & Disability? A Job Analysis Can Help!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Are you working on a litigated case involving work and disability? If so, I believe a job analysis can help you and your client, and in many ways!  A job analysis involves the process of gathering and recording objective data about a specific job.  

Image result for data

Capturing what the job is all about helps to evaluate what an employee does, why the work is done, how the work is done, results of the work, the skills, knowledge, and abilities required to perform the work, and the context in which the work fits into the organizational structure.

And, as an analyzing kinda person, I’ll find direct connections to ways of the trade, and possibly record direct comments from incumbents or a worker who knows what’s going on!

JA

A Job Analysis is helpful in many ways. Plus they’re fun to perform!

A complete analysis involves visiting the job site to witness the job being performed and interviewing supervisors and employees  about the accuracy of existing job descriptions. (And that’s a story in itself!) It sure can be an interesting tour and communication experience! 

For me to find out what actually takes place on a pertinent day to day basis (without being there obviously because I have my own job to do), consulting with management and incumbents of the job along with digital video recording (right!), if helpful, allows for a critical analysis of the parameters of performance at a work place, including common physical demands of duties of a job. And trust me, a video can produce some humor too when’s it’s needed  at work! 

Image result for humor job

Once the job analysis describing the critical duties of the job, an evaluation of the work environment is completed, and a report written is prepared and presented, there, hopefully will be a greater understanding of the essential functions of the job. And to each person the job can be functionally different. Right yes, so it just depends on how one goes about doing it!

JA Matrix

This understanding allows me as a vocational expert to make recommendations for reasonable accommodations and to testify to the efforts of the employer to provide reasonable accommodations.

Need help with a litigated case involving disability and work?

I help with plaintiff/claimant and defense cases! I’m not one sided!  Call me, Amy E. Botkin, to discuss your client’s claim.

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * lcpresourcesplus.com * 515-282-7753  * VocResources@msn.com

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

Want to Buy Some TIME From Me…a Consultant and an Educator?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You’re a good attorney, and you care about the people you represent. You’re busy working on cases and spend a lot of time on time. In fact, you even buy TIME! And, I’m writing to help you make a more comfortable TIME purchase from me, a consultant who is also an educator!

MoneyTime

I fully realize attorneys buy TIME

Time – Because you bill by the hour (and so do I), I promise to help you be more productive and, thus, more successful by providing value laden services.

Pinky SwearI promise to always respect your time.

 

Information – Because I totally understand why you HATE looking stupid (and so do I), I will provide accurate information that you want or need.

Pinky SwearI promise to always ensure you have a good reason for working with me.

 

Money – Because saving money and making money are the goals for almost every law firm (and for every consulting firm too), I will effectively use all the resources available to help with your case.

Pinky SwearI promise to be accurate and fair with my billing.

 

Education – Because lawyers always need continuing education (and so do I) to maintain your license, I am available to present to any group that would benefit from learning about my work and rehabilitation consulting. In addition, as I’m a well-trained educator and counselor, I can help you and your client in many ways throughout the case and onto trial, where my educational background is useful in front of a jury.

Pinky SwearI promise to bring new light to your litigation strategies.

 

Time on HandsHow much TIME would you like to have on your hands, especially when working on a complex case that has to do with work and disability? So there it is!  But wait, there’s more:

I, Amy, promise to Always Be True at My Core, Apple Butterflybecause that’s all I have ever had and have ever needed and I’m willing to share what I know is true.

Enjoy a piece of quality fruit (I love organic apples) and then give me, Amy E. Botkin, a call to discuss your case. I’m here to help you help your client! 515-282-7753

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

Thanks for Thinking of Me! Why Wait to Place Me Into Action?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I enjoy consulting with attorneys. It involves learning about your questions; then using my expertise to provide an answer or two!  The fact is consulting work involves extraordinary amounts of mental processing.  Let me tell you, my brain gets a lot of action and yes, I work out a lot physically, too! 

I don’t know about your specific style of learning or pattern of thinking is (give me time!), but for me, when I accept a case assignment, I don’t want to feel rushed about researching and finding solid answers to good questions.  No, I meant to write great questions, those formed to help you with answering your client’s difficult problems, surrounding certain situations, while considering all necessary detail.

In my eyes, “problems” are opportunities in disguise. Something “thinks” it needs a solution. The thinking could be well thought through or it could be downright faulty, and that’s why education becomes a consulting strategy.  A good way to look at a problem is to compare it against an opposing problem and ask, which “opportunity” presents first? Will there be an order that makes sense? Is it really a problem or just defined as one? 

For every problem under the sun, there is a solution or there is none. If there be one, think til you find it. If there be none, then never mind it!” ~ LeGrand Richards

My problem solving approach develops as the research is gathered relevant to the situation. How a situation is defined is just as important in the problem equation, considering virtually every situation can be defined in more than one way. Because of this fact, tremendous opportunity to educate becomes available, and negatives turn into positives resulting in the implication of how one feels and acts toward the situation!

I find that pulling too quickly for an answer or a fact won’t turn up the best results.  Pulling carefully yet relentlessly on the stem/root system will produce reliable, intact, organic results to share with others.  Through testimony, I can educate others on how to understand the specific facts I gathered and why they are important to this case, facilitating the information and helping them to “figure out” their own solution.

Thanks (as Eeoyre says) for thinking of me!  Please contact me to get me involved early in the proceedings. Do so before you plant any seed, and I’ll help with preparing and weeding the ground, the hard part of the action! Even if you only need a file review, I can offer recommendations. And, we’d be better off to a good start!

I believe it’s always healthy to think of the humor in most situations. Truly, our emotions will benefit. Contact me at 515-282-7753 to discuss your case needs, and learn about my consulting style and policies. Again, thanks for thinking of me and for reading! 

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