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Hi Vixens :)This is definitely a question for AV. My supervisor at my current workplace (where I have worked for over a year as of September) says she may not be able to give me a "professional" reference, but a "personal" one.

Some background. I work as an independent contractor for a non-profit here in Connecticut. I am a Life Coach for at risk young adults ages 17-21 who are on probation and struggle with emotional and mental disorders, as well as substance abuse. Along with their therapists, we all assist them getting their lives back on track post juvenile detention or prison (age depending).

I took this job because like many in the therapy field, the course of my own life events and personal experiences have led me to have a strong passion for psychology and belief in therapy and mental health services.

I also took this job because it was a good foot in the door to the field of mental health. I knew it would help me clarify my job path, and help make me a competitive candidate for graduate school. I've taken this job very seriously (of course) and have gotten feedback from the clients, therapists, and two supervisors that they feel I've been doing a great job and am a good asset to the program. Including the one I am posting this about...

I need the letter because I am applying to graduate school. My supervisor who I have worked with frequently, and directly for the past year said she may not be able to provide a "professional" reference with the use of the company's name on the reference letter...

The schools that I am applying to do not want a personal reference, they want a professional one. She claims this has something to do with HIPPA policy. My friends who are teachers were saying that makes no sense. What does everyone else do in the many jobs and professions that deal with client confidentiality/HIPPA when they need a professional work reference?

I could easily go on about the many frustrating and flighty experiences I have had with my boss. Sidenote, 4 amazing therapists left because of her. So, I'm not sure if she is just b/sing me on this one.

I will just about die if I've spent over a year there and will not be able to get someone to vouch for my capabilities at thi

I know that some companies have a no reference policy when an employee leaves the company, but thatís not the case here. Also, I'm not quitting, I am just applying for grad school.

Any suggestions or insight on this?

edit: also, the reason why this reference from my job is so important is because this is my only experience in mental health in the traditional and professional sense so far. I have an English major, poli-sci minor, real estate license, worked various wine jobs, but those are not applicable. I'm applying for a psych mental health nurse program. They highly value community work, and any job experiences working one on one with people. My current job is just that.


Thank you for reading all of this as always beloved AV<3<3

s job. She would be my strongest reference naturally because she is my supervisor for one, and the case management director for the program.

When I left our meeting today I was pretty floored. Never in a million years would I think asking her for a reference for grad school would be an issue.

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    This is certainly odd (and most unprofessional) behaviour on her part.

    A couple of questions:

    1) It is crystal clear to her that you're not leaving the position? That, in fact, you're looking to go to graduate school so that you can be better and more qualified to do the job you already have?

    2) Is it clear to her what the scope of this professional letter is? You're not looking to get a letter which spills specific details about specific cases., just a general recommendation.

    Sometimes it pays to have a sample letter ready. You can give a digital copy to the supervisor to give her an idea of what you're looking for, letting her know that she is more than welcome to re-write it so that it's in her own voice. This way you've done the heavy lifting of writing the thing, and she can see you're not looking to fly the coop.

    So something along the lines of this:

    "Barbara Lastname has been a reliable, dedicated, hard-working Life Coach here at the Connecticut Youth Organization (or whatever it's called) for the last 18 months. In that time, she has dealt with at-risk youth on a one-on-one basis; these youths are on probation and struggle with emotional and mental disorders, as well as substance abuse. Along with their therapists, Barbara, the CYO staff and I assist these people getting their lives back on track post-juvenile detention or prison.

    "As Barbara's immediate supervisor, I can attest to the fact that Barbara consistently deals with our clients with empathy and grace, and always with an understanding of the personal and societal barriers they face. She works diligently to ensure that they have access to the various supports available to them, and has been a real asset to the CYO program.

    "I believe that Barbara would do well in masters-level studies, and that the knowledge, insight and experiences she would gain in your program would be of enormous value not just to her, but also to the CYO and to the clients we serve. I am happy to recommend her for admission to your program.

    "Please don't hesitate to contact me at supervisor@cyo.org if you wish to discuss this matter further.


    Yours truly, etc."


    You can see if she'll agree to that. Personally? I think the HIPAA regulation thing is bunk. She's just nervous about writing the letter. Maybe she thinks she'll lose you ... or maybe she's simply not very good at letter writing!

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    Kal wrote: This is certainly odd (and most unprofessional) behaviour on her part. A couple of questions: 1) It is crystal clear to her that you're not leaving the position? That, in fact, you're looking to go to graduate school so that you can be better and more qualified to do the job you already have? 2) Is it clear to her what the scope of this professional letter is? You're not looking to get a letter which spills specific details about specific cases., just a general recommendation. Sometimes it pays to have a sample letter ready. You can give a digital copy to the supervisor to give her an idea of what you're looking for, letting her know that she is more than welcome to re-write it so that it's in her own voice. This way you've done the heavy lifting of writing the thing, and she can see you're not looking to fly the coop. So something along the lines of this: "Barbara Lastname has been a reliable, dedicated, hard-working Life Coach here at the Connecticut Youth Organization (or whatever it's called) for the last 18 months. In that time, she has dealt with at-risk youth on a one-on-one basis; these youths are on probation and struggle with emotional and mental disorders, as well as substance abuse. Along with their therapists, Barbara, the CYO staff and I assist these people getting their lives back on track post-juvenile detention or prison. "As Barbara's immediate supervisor, I can attest to the fact that Barbara consistently deals with our clients with empathy and grace, and always with an understanding of the personal and societal barriers they face. She works diligently to ensure that they have access to the various supports available to them, and has been a real asset to the CYO program. "I believe that Barbara would do well in masters-level studies, and that the knowledge, insight and experiences she would gain in your program would be of enormous value not just to her, but also to the CYO and to the clients we serve. I am happy to recommend her for admission to your program. "Please don't hesitate to contact me at supervisor@cyo.org if you wish to discuss this matter further. Yours truly, etc." You can see if she'll agree to that. Personally? I think the HIPAA regulation thing is bunk. She's just nervous about writing the letter. Maybe she thinks she'll lose you ... or maybe she's simply not very good at letter writing!

    Hi Kal!

    A very big THANK YOU!!!

    Truly, thank you as always for your thoughtful responses and time.

    I just read it to my sister and we think your very well done blueprint proves the point that it can literally say the most professional concise to the point stuff and be more than effective and what I am looking for.

    Which is why I just wonder with her sometimes about stuff... I talked today with my friend (who got me the job, worked there for a long time, and has since left) and she said she's *soOoO* not surprised that my supervisor had this reaction. She also said she knows from experience and working there that the HIPPA thing was b.s.

    My friend said that she along with the other ex-therapists ultimately felt that my supervisor's underlying deal for being passive aggressive, is that she doesn't want to see anyone move up, forward, anything in the company. Too bad lol, and coming from a bunch of therapists I'm going to say that they are probably right.

    And yeah there is literally no reason she has to include client detail (and she knows I know that! As all we ever talk about is HIPPA policy etc. It's naturally a frequent topic in the office!)

    To your questions

    1. Yes. I met with her in person yesterday for our usual meeting and I made it very clear that I am not leaving. The grad program that I am applying to doesn't start until next fall 2018. We talked about the letter for more than 5 minutes, which is a long time for us to spend on anything (other than a case). I told her very clearly that the grad school wants professional references, not personal.

    And 2. I realized I mentioned it above, but yes, I made it clear it's literally just to vouch for my time and capabilities while at this job.

    Anyways, all that being said, I called two of the other therapists I used to work with today and they both said they'd be happy to write letters for me. So I have that as a back up plan, and it probably couldn't hurt in general to have them.

    If my supervisor comes through, I will use hers as hers would be the ideal and strongest reference. I am going to email her your blueprint to give her a boost. I agree as well that it can be hard for people to know exactly what to say at times which I understand so I think it's smart to do anything I can on my end.

    ****thank you*****again

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