Professional Identify Number
Section 1: Professional Counselor Role 4
Section 2: Religious/Spiritual Beliefs and Counseling 8
Section 3: Course Experience and Summary 10
Thefollowing is a comprehensive report on professional counseling. Thegoal is to highlight the main areas covered in professionalcounseling, its challenges, rewards, and its importance in society.In addition the report clearly indicates the main ethical issues inprofessional counseling. The report also mentions related fields tocounseling, and clearly points out the main differences.Professionalism is also discussed as well as important traits oneshould possess in order to become a successful counselor, includingempathy, resilience, fairness and trust. The main idea is to haveprofessional counselors who have a whole life, that is, spiritual andsocial aspects, and at the same time remain impartial in carrying outtheir duties as counselors hence making sound judgments. Thus theoverall health of the counselors is emphasized to enable them to beeffective and productive at work. The report is based on primarysources, course experience as well as personal experience.
Professionalcounseling is a therapeutic process that enables individuals overcomepersonal problems and deal better with other life challenges. This isdone by building close professional relationships between the clientsand the counselors. The consultations are often done in differentsessions. Professional counseling is a wide field which entailsindividual, couple, family and group counseling. It is practiced indifferent domains and is a useful tool in many areas, especially ineducation and health care (Neukrug,2014).
Itshould be noted however that the relationship between the clients andthe counselor should be purely professional. The professional shouldnot have any emotional attachment to the clients. Thereforeprofessionalism requires the counselors to be impartial parties, whogive unbiased directions and who guarantee confidentiality.Individuals who are willing to undertake professional counseling as acareer should be ready to maintain high standard ethical conducts.This is because counseling is a high profile career, which can onlybe successful where professionalism is considered. This is importantas it creates a platform in which to build trust, which enhancescommunication [ CITATION Hou12 l 1033 ].
Therole of the professional counselor is to guide the clients to make anultimate decision of their own based on their background and personalexperience. Therefore the role of the counselor is to guide theclients rather than advise them. They should use a helping approachwhich helps the clients understand themselves better as uniqueindividuals. This is an effective way of understanding the root causeof the issue at hand, patterns of behavior and the best way of copingwith the issues. According to Alterkruseet al, (2001), the practice of the professionalcounseling entails, but not restriceted to, the work of diagnosisingand administering treatments for emotional and mental disorders.Their role also pertains treating of disorders such as, addictivedisorders. In addition, they as well offer psychoeducationalpractices that are directed at the prevention of such disorders. Onthe other hand, the proffesionals also offers consultation servicesto individuals, couples, families, groups, and organizations andresearch into more effective therapeutic treatment modalities.
Section1: Professional Counselor Role
Aprofessional counselor has the responsibility of helping a clientfaced with a particular challenge to make sound judgments anddecisions, and deciding on the best course of action. This ishowever unique to the particular issue the client might be dealingwith. The professional counselor should therefore help the client tofind lasting solutions on their own, based on the clients personalexperiences. The professional counselor is meant to gatherinformation regarding the clients’ behavior after interacting withthem. This is done by carefully analyzing patterns of behavior. Fromthe counselor educators point of view, they agreed that, prescence ofa single professional identity would be of numerous benefits and indifeerent ways such as improvement of the efforts to identifyMedicare reimbursement to professional counselors. It would alsopromote the acceptance of a third-party insurance acceptance ofprofessional counselors (Reiner,Dobmeier & Hernandez, 2013).
Professionalcounselors are trained to provide counseling to individuals dealingwith a wide variety of problems. Individuals may have anxiety,depression, anger, sexuality issues, career issues, self esteemissues or relationship issues. Couples may face challenges whether inmarriage or in courtship and professional counseling can help themunderstand each other better for healthier relationships. Familiesmay also seek professional counseling when dealing with certainissues such as grief, sibling rivalry and when seeking effective andefficient parenting skills. This is especially useful to new parentsand those dealing with young adults due to the differences inperspectives, caused by the generational gap. Additionally, groupsessions can be conducted by professional counselors. These areindividuals who deal with similar issues such as substance abuse,divorce or domestic violence, and find solace in sharing as a group.The counselor thus oversees these sessions, steering the group torecover[ CITATION Mem01 l 1033 ].
Thereare many professional fields which train individuals to assist thosesuffering from non-physical illnesses, including counselors,psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers. Both psychologistsand psychiatrists deal with mental health. Psychology is mainlyconcerned with understanding behavior and mental processes, and isapplied widely in health and learning. Psychiatrists are doctors whospecialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses. Socialworkers help individuals in society deal with everyday lifechallenges, but they are also qualified as mental healthprofessionals. Counseling is concerned with understanding thechallenges of different individuals which is characterized bypatterned behaviors and emotions. Therefore, while other fields maygeneralize case analysis, counseling calls for specialized analysis,recognizing the uniqueness of each case[ CITATION Mem01 l 1033 ].
Dealingwith a wide variety of issues is the daily task of a professionalcounselor and the main reason why I chose it. This professionrequires the counselors to put themselves in the shoes of the clientsdealing with certain issues, and at the same time remain an impartialparty. This is a challenging task which requires the counselor todeal with the next client differently from the previous one,regardless of similarity of issues. Therefore a professionalcounselor gradually develops people skills and acquires wisdomthrough their daily working experience. Professional counseling willpersonally mould me into a resilient individual who can adapt well todifferent situations. More so, I will live a satisfying life byhelping individuals achieve their goals in life (Seiler& Messina, 1979).
Professionalcounseling is a dynamic field. Issues that were considered previouslyas normalcy are now regarded as challenges. Personal issues such asanxiety, depression and eating disorders, as well as maritalconflicts have become more rampant than before. Therefore being acounselor requires one to carry out extensive research so as to learnnew trends in counseling as well as emerging issues in the field andto come up with new ways of counselling which were not in existencepreviously. The future of counseling may encompass the use of moderntechnology to diversify communication between the clients and thecounselors, especially social media. In addition, society shouldconsider collective counseling of teenagers and young adults, so asto equip them with life skills, which will eventually enable them tobe productive adults.
Professionalismis key in professional counseling. To begin with, confidentiality isthe main concern of most clients and therefore should be safeguardedby the counselors. The client should be assured that their secretsare safe with the counselor and that they will not be used againstthem as avenues for judgment. In some cases, professional counselorssign counseling contracts with their clients. These contracts clearlydefine the terms and conditions of the counseling sessions andascertain confidential sessions. In addition, confidentiality goeshand in hand with being impartial. Professionalism requires acounselor to remain neutral on issues and avoid being judgmental.This is especially a challenging task when dealing with couples,family members or groups as opposed to dealing with individuals. Thecounselor should remain unbiased and help so as to guarantee the bestdecision is attained without any party feeling dissatisfied[ CITATION Rei13 l 1033 ].
Secondly,the professional counselor should be qualified so that they areequipped with effective skills. There are several ways in which toapproach issues and these are applied relative to the clients’needs. A professional counselor should therefore be able to assessthe client beforehand, so as to learn how to best approach thesituation so as to find a sustainable solution. Communication skillsare the most useful skills in professional counseling. The counselorneeds to be a good listener, and this is achieved by activelistening. This entails listening and asking questions based on theclients’ account. These questioning skills, encourage them tocontinue opening up as they have a listening partner. This alsobuilds a relationship of trust between the counselor and the client,which is an important tool in the sessions [ CITATION Mem01 l 1033 ].
Thirdly,a professional counselor should be a person of integrity, wellbehaved and with sound morals. These should be reflected by theirpersonal profile and they therefore need to be well groomedindividuals. They should be decently dressed to avoid prejudice fromclients who have different value systems. They should be individualswho are well behaved and who follow the universal code of conduct.They should also be cooperative people who respond appropriately todifferent situations relative to the nature of their work.Professional counselors should portray humanistic approaches indealing with clients. Therefore professionalism requires counselorsto be morally upright individuals who show exemplary behavior insociety so that their counsel remains highly regarded. Occasionally,professional counselors should undergo personal therapy to ensurethat they are in a stable state of mind so as to effectively dealwith others’ problems [ CITATION Rei13 l 1033 ].
Section2: Religious/Spiritual Beliefs and Counseling
Professionalcounseling calls for neutrality in terms of offering guidance todifferent clients. This is governed by a defined code of conductwhich governs the way counselors carry out their activities. However,this does not change the fact that each and every counselor has apersonal background which mould them into who they are. They havedifferent spiritual and religious backgrounds together with differentvalue systems based on the environments they are in. This brings inone of the challenges faced by a counselor daily which is the role ofbeing impartial while giving counsel despite having personalopinions.
Iwas raised up in a strict Christian background which played a hugerole in developing my views and perspectives in life. Christianity isa religion in which one is supposed to have a close relationship withGod, through obedience to His commandments which are spelled out inthe Bible. It is a religion of peace which encourages efficientproblem solving skills without seeking selfish desires. I thereforebelieve in loyalty, faith, humility, companionship and above alllove. These are core values as far as Christianity is concerned.These values call for transparency and integrity while dealing withpeople, regardless of their social status. Therefore, Christianityhas molded me into an integrated individual who believes in doingwhat is right and at the same time safeguarding the interests ofothers (Alvarez& Lee, 2012).
Apartfrom spiritual beliefs the environment and society at large governhow we differentiate wrong from right. Growing up, strong values wereinstilled in me, which helped me define wrong and right. According tome, an act is morally wrong because it conflicts with others’interests. Regardless of whether the act is of benefit to anindividual, it is morally wrong if the act calls for oppression ofanother. And therefore it is a fallacy to justify a wrong byoverlapping oppression with benefits. For example, stealing is wrongbecause it undermines the efforts of the individual who acquired thatasset initially. I strongly believe that society would be a betterplace if everyone did what is right in their respectivejurisdictions, an opinion which may be linked to the utopianphilosophy. Doing right is only a matter of repeated patterns, whichwhen practiced daily become part of normal behavior (Clinton& Ohlschlager, 2002).
Withreference to my religious and moral values, I have strong opinions ondifferent issues. There are several issues which I would particularlyfind difficult in counseling. Same sex marriages for instance, areprohibited in my religion. It would be difficult helping findsolutions to build a union that I believe shouldn’t be there in thefirst place. It would also be difficult to help a married coupleregain their trust after one spouse engages in adultery. In myopinion infidelity in marriage should be a stepping stone for divorcebecause it’s a sign of disrespect for the sacred union.Additionally, it would be difficult to deal with individuals who aresuicidal. This is because I am a strong believer in hard work despitedifficult situations. I would be inclined to think that suicidalindividuals are lazy and weak willed, who choose to give up insteadof trying again.
However,I recognize the importance of being neutral while handling clients’issues as professionalism calls for impartiality in counseling.Therefore, I require great mastery of communication skills so as tobe an unbiased listener, and avoid forcefully or unconsciouslyimposing my beliefs. The needs of the clients come first and theultimate goal as a professional counselor is to ensure the clients’problems are solved. Based on my beliefs as a Christian and a morallyupright individual, I would put the interests of my clients first soas to help them live a more productive life. In addition, I wouldadvocate for forgiveness for individuals who seek a new beginningafter experiencing a certain setback for example sexual or domesticabuse. This is because forgiveness does not justify the act, buthelps the victimized individual to focus on the future and disregardthe painful past experiences.
Section3: Course Experience and Summary
Counselingis a noble profession that can be used as an agent of positive changein society. Difficulties in life have caused members of society todespair and spend most of their time in miserable thoughts whichyield no fruit. This has led to high levels of dependency as well asleading many to drug and substance abuse, and crime. Professionalcounseling can be adopted to change the attitudes of such individualsby changing their ways of thinking. It is important for society tocreate avenues for people to access counseling so that they cancommunicate about their tribulations and can be assisted in findingthe way forward so as to be productive and innovative individuals.Counseling is also a very rewarding job. As much as there are manychallenges linked to counseling it is a rewarding and satisfyingcareer, where counselors solve real life problems. Finding solutionsto these painful patterns gives the counselors, great satisfactionand creates lasting bonds between the clients and counselors[ CITATION Hou12 l 1033 ].
Professionalcounseling is also a challenging task to counselors, for each andevery case calls for different analysis. In addition, manyprofessional counselors have multiple sessions each day withdifferent clients. Therefore, there is a need for them to reflectupon themselves so as to have enough content for their clients.Counselors should find ways of refreshing themselves so that they arein the right state of mind to handle clients. They should also readwidely, so that they are up to date with what is happening aroundthem and also to learn about emerging issues in society. They shouldalso find inspirational figures to communicate with so as to ensurethey maintain their social welfare. Supervision is also highlyrecommended so as to ensure that the counselors are conducting theirduties faithfully. Personal therapy is also important because itenables counselors to learn patience in carrying out their duties. Italso enables them to gain personal awareness so as to learn how tomanage personal issues.
Beinga professional counselor gives one the opportunity to exploredifferent avenues. This is because professional counseling providesone with a platform with many options. A counselor may opt togeneralize their services or specialize in a particular field ofchoice. One may choose to work with children, in education, healthcare and in the corporate world where individuals are aggressive intheir careers. Counseling also allows one to venture into marriageand family therapy. Therefore, this course has opened a new window ofopportunities for me to explore in the journey of becoming aprofessional counselor.
Additionally,to be a successful counselor, one needs to be patient andconsistently hardworking. Many confuse the role of a counselor tothat of a caring friend or family member. However, counseling is aprofession which not only requires one to be intelligent, but alsoconfident, in terms of approaching situations. Professionalcounseling requires one to carry out extensive research thus muchreading is required so as to accurately assess the mental conditionsof clients. More importantly, this reading should continue after thecounselors have left school because up to date information is of theessence.
Counselingcomplements my character in so many ways. To become a counselorrequires one to be integral and this is a trait that is inborn to me.I regard highly the principle of being trustworthy and doing what isright even without supervision. Professional counseling requires onenot to disclose the issues discussed with clients to any otherperson, except when required by law. I strongly believe in beingtrustworthy because I am also seeking a good legacy. This works to myadvantage in my quest to become a renowned professional counselorbecause confidentiality is the central ethical concern of anypotential client (Roach& Young, 2007).
Secondly,I am an empathetic person in nature and my strong Christianbackground has grounded me into being humane. Therefore, counselingwould give me an opportunity to work on the well-being of society atlarge by identifying individual difficulties and finding all thepossible solutions. I am also honest, a trait that goes hand in handwith being empathetic. This is because the client should be able tolearn the truth so as to learn from mistakes and to identify errorswhich may have led to certain habitual behaviors.
Thirdly,and most importantly, I am of respectful character and this is animportant virtue in counseling and other related professions. Respectcovers a large domain in this field. This is because the counselorsshould respect their clients, work, ethical code of conduct andthemselves. Once respect is in position, all the other ethical issueswill subsequently fall into place and will ensure smooth running ofaffairs.
Professionalcounseling is a lucrative career that is challenging and equallyrewarding. For one to qualify as a professional counselor they mustdisplay empathy, fairness, courage, humility and sincerity. Thesetraits are important in building confidentiality and trust betweenthe counselor and client. High levels of intelligence and wisdom arerequired in order to maintain high standards of professionalism. Theimportance of counseling in society cannot be overemphasized. This isbecause society is more productive and innovative when individualsare in a sound state of mind. This is the reason why counseling isbecoming a dominant field and is fast gaining popularity.Traditionally, counseling was only for those in asylums sufferingserious mental illnesses. However, today that mentality has changedand people have embraced counseling as a way of keeping their mentalhealth in check. Schools, hospitals, prisons, rehabilitation centersand corporate companies are among the sectors that have opened newventures for counseling. Therefore, counseling is an important factorin society and can used as an important tool to steer society intopositive thinking thus leading to overall development of all sectors.
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