Thoughts on Counseling

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My Thoughts on Counseling with Specifics in Cognitive-Behavioral and Family Systems Therapy Jessica H. Dodson
Liberty University

Abstract
This paper covers my personal views on therapy and my thoughts on my most popular choices, cognitive-behavioral and family systems therapy. We start off by discussing definitions of counseling and what makes a good therapist/client relationship. Next, we shift into the ethical matters which should be discussed during the first session which then leads to the theories of counseling I most prefer as well as techniques I would like to incorporate. Lastly, we discuss my personal views from life experiences that could help our hurt me as well as populations I feel I can or cannot treat or work with. I hope you find this enjoyable.

An Explanation of a Definition of Counseling and the Most Essential Characteristics of a Helping Relationship
According to the Miriam-Webster dictionary, “counseling” is defined as “professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes” (Miriam-Webster, 2010). I also believe counseling can be defined in many other ways. Two include the client’s point of view and the counselor’s point of view and the other, Christian counseling which is more complex than the general definition. (Miriam-Webster, 2010). According to Dr. Tim Clinton and Dr. George Ohlschlager, a client views counseling as a relationship between themselves and a trained professional aimed at achieving goals and solving problems that he/she struggle with. The relationship from a counselor’s perspective is that it is a multidimensional procedure with the objective to change thoughts, feelings, behaviors, relationships, and environments by applying skills and knowledge to serve the client(s) best interest in personal growth and maturity. A third definition of counseling is a type of counseling for which I will be practicing, Christian counseling. Thomas Aquinas defines this as the relief of spiritual needs: “Spiritual needs are relieved by spiritual acts in two ways, first by asking help from God, and in this respect we have prayer…Secondly, by giving human assistance…by instructing… (or) by counseling, (which include): instruction, to the mind, counsel for practical action, comfort, for sorrow, reproof and admonition for correction, pardon for sins, and forbearance for those who are weak” (Clinton & Ohlschlager, 2008).

In addition to the general and Christian definitions of counseling there are several characteristics that every counselor, both general and Christian must possess to be effective. In general I believe there are several characteristics that all counselors must possess in some way or another to maintain a healthy relationship with their clients. The counselor must first and foremost have an identity. They must know who they are and what they are capable of. They must be genuine and show authenticity. Being honest with the clients and showing your true self can establish a healthy, trustworthy relationship. A counselor must also show warmth, understanding and positive regard towards the client. Being warm and understanding will give the client a comfort feeling and showing positive regard will show that the counselor is not judging the client. The counselor must also be able to have active and empathetic listening so the client feels the counselor is always present. Knowledge is another important characteristic for counselors. Proper training will ensure a much higher success rate for the clients. Commitment to the client, work and study shows motivation for wanting to help others. Patience is a good quality to possess as well, especially with difficult patients. One final characteristic I find important is the ability to set stable boundaries between the counselor and the client. Unhealthy boundaries can lead to...
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