Professional Identity and Careers Paper
July 2, 2013
Professional Identity and Careers Paper
When one thinks of a counselor, what ideas come to mind? To advise, to instruct, to counsel? My reaction to counseling in my early days in the profession was to receive guidance from a professional when I did not have the answers myself or when I felt “stuck” with a problem in my personal life that I felt I could not solve. What did I wish to get from seeing a counselor? The question depends on what aspect you are seeking guidance or counsel in your life. The question changed when I began to pursue a career in counseling. The question became “Why do I want to be a counselor? Who do I want to serve? What is it about me that feels that I can be effective at helping people change their lives? The questions continue and Im still seeking my “identity” in terms of this profession. What are the characteristics of a counselor/ What are their varied roles? . This paper will explore the domains of the counselor and the paths I have chosen to pursue to further my interest in this dynamic field. “Most counseling students, even the most skilled, must come to an understanding of the profession and the skills involved in being a counselor before they can actually become a counselor. For all of us, it is a lifelong process” (Journal of counseling and development, 2006 p. 116. Vol. 84). When thinking about the characteristics of a counselor, I think about the qualities I would seek in a person that I would like to have as a friend or confidant: Patience, empathy, a good listener; conversely, well versed and skilled in their area of expertise, life experience and ethics/values. Counselors work closely and intimately with individuals and have to maintain appropriate boundaries while balancing the ability to establish trust and empathy. “ An effective counselor is one who works with clients to produce a positive outcome, a positive change in the client's perception or experience of themselves or a reduction in adverse symptoms. (Henderson 2013).
There are various types of counselor positions to choose from. In short, counselors can be found in almost any field. I will explore 4 different counselor roles: Rehabilitation Counselor, Marriage and Family Counselor and Substance Abuse Counselor and School Counselor. What they all have in common is the ability to be able to diagnose, assess and treat individuals that are experiencing complex challenges in their lives. The Rehabilitation Counselor focuses on helping individuals suffering from a disability or impairment that was present at birth or that occurred at some point of their life. The disability can be physical, mental, cognitive; efforts to guide the individual towards achieving their goals and improving their quality of life through the use of assessments, case management, goal setting and treatment are often utilized by the counselor. The counselor can provide career counseling, job analysis, collaboration and consultation with other systems. Practical interventions are also applied to help the Client overcome barriers to improving quality of life and that may be a contributing factor towards rehabilitation success. Today's Marriage and Family Counselor work with a dynamic population that consists of stepfamilies, single-parent families, childless families and gay families (Wetchler, 2002). The marriage and family counselor area of focus is on the family dynamics and how to improve family function. The challenge for counselors is determining a strength based approach to working with families and couples that may need premarital counseling, marital therapy, divorce counseling, family therapy, or individual counseling. One thing that the marriage and family counselor profession has in common with other professions is that, “professional group within the behavioral sciences has laid claim to working with couples and families. Professionals...
References: Haight, M. G., & Shaughnessy, M. F. (2006). An Interview with Samuel T. Gladding: Thoughts on Becoming a Counselor. Journal Of Counseling & Development, 84(1), 114-119.
Henderson, D. A., & Montplaisir, B. F. (2013). From Good to Great: Examining Exemplary Counselor Development. Journal Of Counseling & Development, 91(3), 336-342. doi:10.1002/j.1556-6676.2013.00102.x
Wetchler, J. L. (2002, March). Couple Therapy and the 21<sup>st</sup> Century. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy. pp. 1-3.
Sales, A., & ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Student Services, G. C. (1999). Substance Abuse and Counseling: A Perspective. ERIC Digest.
Huey, W. C. (2011). The Revised 2010 Ethical Standards for School Counselors. Georgia School Counselors Association Journal, 18(1), 6-12.
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