Columbia College Clinical Counseling Programs Admissions Essay N. Parks
As I evaluate my past and look towards my future, I realize that I did not choose the counseling field, instead it chose me. As a result, the experiences that have led me to this career choice have also made me an advocate for U.S. military soldiers suffering from Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, sexual assault and suicides/suicides attempts. In addition, my reason for seeking a graduate degree in clinical counseling is due to my desire to work with troubled teens, particularly those from military families. Because the study of clinical counseling incorporates the study of other disciplines such as psychology, sociology and the sciences as a way to understand the person as a whole, this graduate degree, along with a licensure, will best prepare me in the profession as a clinical counselor. Consequently, obtaining this degree will allow me to better understand the client’s functions within their environment. When I first began my journey in becoming a counseling professional, my intentions were always to practice as a clinical counselor within the military community (military families and military civilians). This is because too often this population is forgotten or ignored; mainly because public attention is not placed on military families and the civilians who work within this community. Like any other community, the military community is also affected by abuses, and individuals suffer from the same family issues and problems as other communities. As a result, there is a great need for clinical counselors within this community. As a service member for over eighteen years, I understand the many social issues Soldiers struggle with and how these issues can affect their lives, family members, or the people who work with them. It was Segal (2006), who stated that the military is a relatively neglected area of study within sociology. He further explained that this neglect is, “partly due to anti-military views of many socialists especially feminists and the lack of knowledge of military organizations” i.e. how these operate (25). His explanations, though true in some aspects (particularly the latter), have caused most to not study or probe the many social issues such as, sexual harassment/assault among Soldiers, to include spousal abuse and child abuse within this very important social institution. Some of the key experiences from my work that can prove vital to me becoming an effective clinical counselor; these include personal and performance counseling, managerial and leadership skills which can enable me to be a more competent and aggressive counselor who is capable of standing her ground when advocating for her clients. In looking at theological approaches; these experiences have also allowed me to better understand how some of these approaches relate to counseling. For example, the Critical Theoretical Approach (CTA) which involves examining and critiquing literature and society (Critical Theory, 2009), draws from knowledge across social sciences that help guide the clinical counseling practitioner on principles that will protect against a biased representation and overgeneralization of a particular population or issue. The theory defines the importance of evidenced based documentation, while understanding that there must be observations concerning the population targeted at the time of study. While the Critical Theoretical Approach works well to explain the issues of the military population I wish to work with, the Strengths Based Perspective addresses the method in which the client’s interaction should be modeled. For example, within this population it is important for me as a clinical counselor to offer an experience that does not resemble the biases and assumptions that are usually encountered when working with female soldiers. In...
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