The field of counseling is growing at a steady rate, as seen by applying for the job in different environments, including educational institutions. Importantly, counseling entails the skillful and ethical use of relationships to foster an individual’s emotional acceptance, self-knowledge, and growth. In this respect, professional counselors encourage people to make proper use of their resources to bolster their development (Corey, 2015). Thus, the counseling profession seeks to unceasingly influence people to be resourceful to lead satisfying lives. The relationships involved in the counseling profession depend on the unique needs of the individual seeking intervention. The needs revolve around developmental problems, decision-making issues, coping with a crisis, managing emotions, developing knowledge and personal insights, and relationship issues. Thus, this cohesive essay discusses the various aspects of the counseling career.
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Special education counseling specializes in the aspect of psychotherapy in the school setting with an emphasis on facilitating the prosperity of special needs students. The advice applied in the educational setting focuses on reinforcing the functionality of support and intervention systems that meet special needs students and their families (Corey, 2015). The support and response structures implemented by special needs counselors seek to enhance students’ achievement.
The mental health specialty of special needs counseling focuses on improving students’ well-being with mental disorders (Erford, 2014). Over the years, mental health counseling has received significant consideration in various education systems as more learning institutions integrate the national education standards, training, and clinical practices. Professionals in this field execute their functions from a wellness approach that underscores the essence of efficient performance of the body, mind, and spirit—experts in the specialty focus on combating suffering, dysfunction, and mental illness.
I chose the field of special education counseling owing to my interest in fostering the improvement of learning experiences among students from different backgrounds, especially those subjected to vulnerability. In this regard, my mental health specialty seeks to assist students with psychological issues in acquiring relevant skills that would improve the quality of life. As such, I find my profession as a good course to pursue.
The educational requirements for special needs counselors usually vary from the ones held by counselors outside the educational setting. In this regard, a bachelor’s degree in special education is critical for one to perform as a special needs counselor. A master’s in school counseling is considered a final qualification in special needs counseling, and thus practitioners should pursue it (Corey, 2015).
In the United States, special education counselors make an average annual salary of $45,975. General school counselors make an average of $56,040 annually. Experts specializing in mental health counseling can make an hourly average of $16.62 (Erford, 2014). The employer could give professional bonuses, among other incentives, to bolster motivation.
The roles of counselors depend on the environment in which they operate. The role of social and emotional counseling is to facilitate the academic success of students by providing necessary services and interventions. Assessment and the individual needs of students influence the therapy applied (personal communication, 2016). The counselor plays the role of assessing and validating the needs of the school team. Moreover, the counselor is expected to collaborate with other professionals outside their working environment and other agencies.
A counselor is usually beneficial to the client by devoting efforts towards improving their mental well-being. The mental health services and interventions bolster the customer’s performance with regard to their professional, educational, and daily life routines (personal communication, 2016). Thus, counselors promote the overall wellness of clients by improving their mental health. An exceptional counselor needs to possess excellent communication skills. A good counselor also needs to showcase empathy in their practice. Additionally, a good counselor should demonstrate outstanding interpersonal skills to streamline their relationship with clients. It is also important for a counselor to have excellent organizational skills.
The social and emotional counselor identifies the group modality of practice as his favorite. Serving clients with similar needs in a group situation is intriguing. The group pattern offers the instructors an opportunity to apply their leadership skills. According to the interviewee, sharing in a group setting bolsters the resilience of clients (personal communication, 2016). The interviewee’s theoretical orientation is the cognitive-behavioral theory (CBT). The approach helps clients to understand that all the behaviors that they portray are learned. Therefore, considering the actions that affect patients’ daily routines negatively streamlines the interventions and services applied. The interviewee has a professional background in the areas of children with developmental disabilities as well as mental illnesses. The interviewee likes the kids’ niche as he finds it easy to work with the population. The need to support of education influenced the interviewee to specialize in school counseling.
The interviewee enjoys his career. The resilience of clients contributing to their recovery makes the job enjoyable and satisfying. The interviewee advises one to pursue the counseling profession if they have a genuine interest in solving other people’s problems (personal communication, 2016). Moreover, patience and readiness to face daily challenges are key aspects that influence the counseling profession.
Effective counseling practice is crucial for promoting the professionalism of the field. As such, Borders et al. (2014) authored the article “Best practices in clinical supervision: Evolution of a counseling specialty” to demonstrate the counseling profession’s essential skills. Apart from identifying the necessary skills Bradshaw, Waasdorp, and Leaf (2012) provide an overview of the counseling profession in the educational setting through a journal article titled “School counseling outcome: A meta‐analytic examination of interventions.” The synthesis of the two articles to gain a comprehensive understanding of the counseling profession is relevant.
Borders et al. (2014) underline that teamwork between the counselor and the client is crucial owing to the relational approach embraced in counseling practice. Further, the instructor’s commitment and the resilience of the patient are critical in fostering the improvement of the latter’s thinking and behavioral patterns. Therefore, the counselors should apply the particular skills necessary for facilitating the efficiency of counseling practice.
Borders et al. (2014) argue that listening is a crucial skill that a counselor should possess. Effective listening facilitates the grasping of valuable information provided by the client. Further, Bradshaw et al. (2012) suggest that listening, as an aspect of communication, shows that the counselor is interested in learning about the client’s problems. Moreover, excellent listening skills streamline the assessment phase of therapy.
Besides having exceptional listening skills, a counselor needs to ask open questions (Bradshaw et al., 2012)). Open questions in the intervention process allow the client to clarify or explore thoughts affecting their wellness. Open-ended questions enable therapists to gather in-depth information regarding the factors that negatively influence the patient’s mental balance.
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According to Borders et al. (2014), a counselor should also demonstrate empathy when dealing with a patient. The essence of empathy is that it shows a level of understanding regarding the issues affecting the client’s wellbeing. Additionally, empathy is a crucial skill since it ensures that both the expert and the client share their emotions regarding a problematic way of thinking or behavior. Apart from empathy, Bradshaw et al. (2012) emphasize that the counselor needs to display lots of genuineness. The feelings of the counselor regarding the issues undermining the wellbeing of the client should be authentic. Faking emotions shows that the instructor is not concerned about enhancing the health of the patient.
Counselor’s self-disclosure is also a fundamental skill that reinforces the relationship between the therapist and the client (Borders et al., 2014). The counselors need to provide information about themselves to the patient to create a good rapport with them. The approach improves the relationship as well as communication between the client and the psychotherapist. Counselors should also demonstrate the skill of unconditional positive regard when dealing with clients (Borders et al., 2014). Patient-centered therapy requires the expert to accept and support clients despite what they say or do. The skill is integral in fostering the effectiveness of a humanistic approach to intervention.
A demonstration of the identified skills contributes to job satisfaction among counselors in different specialties. Job satisfaction is one of the key elements that influence the productivity of a counselor or psychotherapist. In this respect, most counselors identify the ability to empower clients to develop skills necessary for their recovery as primary efforts that create job satisfaction (Bradshaw et al., 2012). The accomplishment realized after helping clients identify solutions and apply them to improve their well-being fulfills most professionals in different counseling areas.
In addition to empowering clients, the ability to influence the realization of a positive difference is among the outcomes that foster counselors’ satisfaction (Borders et al., 2014). For instance, experts in marriage and family therapy (MFT) identify the ability to repair broken relationships as one of the most satisfying outputs of their interventions and services. Further, social and emotional counselors pinpoint the capacity to help clients regain their self-esteem, manage their emotions, improve their relationships, and avoid committing suicide as satisfying.
Counseling practitioners also realize the satisfaction of working with particular client groups (Bradshaw et al., 2012). For instance, some counselors enjoy working with children, while others prefer dealing with adults. Bradshaw et al. (2012) allege that it is important to note that pursuing a specialty should be influenced by the preferences and interests of the expert to a considerable degree for the sake of bolstering satisfaction at work.
The therapeutic relationship between the counselor and the client creates a level of job satisfaction among therapists in various counseling specialties (Borders et al., 2014). Some experts view a broad engagement with customers who need their services as a meaningful interaction with another human being. The engagement leads to clients who have experienced adversities of vulnerability trust the counselors. The trust creates a sense of fulfillment among counselors (Bradshaw et al., 2012).
The counseling profession is exciting since it offers an opportunity for an expert to create a relationship with clients to help them overcome behaviors or thoughts that undermine their well-being (Malott, 2012). As such, the realization of the purpose of the counseling work requires the expert to set professional goals. The goals play an integral role in guiding the delivery of services and interventions to the client.
Promoting the health and wellbeing of clients is one of the primary goals of my profession. Importantly, improving students’ mental health in the educational setting is crucial for enabling such a client group to attain academic success (Gladding, 2012). The promotion of the clients’ health requires me to put in place measures that curb the educational setting’s distress. The measures include the implementation of appropriate services and interventions. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment reveals that one of my strengths is that I apply reasoning in my counseling processes. Engaging in innovative decision-making processes is an integral aspect of promoting the mental health of students.
The prevention of dysfunction and disorders is also one of my primary goals as a professional counselor. Notably, curbing the emergence of emotional, behavioral, and social dysfunctions and mental health illnesses is one of the primary objectives of my career. Prevention is one of the most important roles of mental health counselors (Gladding, 2012). The MBTI assessment unearthed that I have an attribute of using past experiences extensively to guide the present actions and future engagements. The skills are integral in supporting the prevention of dysfunction and disorders owing to the knowledge gained in the field. In this respect, the realization of the goals requires developing relationships with clients that influence them to apply skills necessary for improving their mental health.
Treating clients with dysfunctions and disorders is also my goal as a counselor. I aspire to treat the clients in a way that empowers them. I engage clients in identifying solutions that would work best towards the improvement of their well-being. Efficient assessment of clients’ problems before applying treatment is necessary for managing disorders and dysfunctions (Malott, 2012). The MBTI assessment suggests that I tend to use emotions in determining my decision-making approaches. Thus, I need to apply logical thinking to support the attainment of a consistent approach to assessing problems faced by clients.
I seek to execute my profession ethically. The ethical dilemmas that emerge in my work line require the use of ethical standards to make decisions. I would facilitate the realization of the goals by performing my moral duty and upholding clients’ rights and privileges. The MBTI suggests that I apply judgment actively compared to perception when in a dilemma. Therefore, the ability to consider ethical principles would foster the integration of moral decisions in my counseling practice.
The counseling career is right for me. The willingness to engage with patients to improve their well-being is meaningful to me as a prospective counselor. An assessment of my strengths and weaknesses through the MBTI platform shows that I have a personality geared towards making a positive change in the lives of people under crisis. Therefore, I believe the counseling career suits my interests.
Borders, L., Glosoff, H., Welfare, L., Hays, D., DeKruyf, L., Fernando, D., & Page, B. (2014). Best practices in clinical supervision: Evolution of a counseling specialty. The Clinical Supervisor, 33(1), 26-44.
Bradshaw, C., Waasdorp, T., & Leaf, P. (2012). Effects of school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports on child behavior problems. Pediatrics, 130(5), 45-61.
Corey, G. (2015). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. London, UK: Cengage Learning.
Erford, B. (2014). Transforming the school counseling profession. New York, NY: Pearson Higher Education.
Gladding, S. (2012). Counseling: A comprehensive profession. New York, NY: Pearson Higher Education.
Malott, K. (2012). Multicultural counselor training in a single course: Review of research. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 38(1), 51-63.