Counselors use motivation, management, communications, and relationship-focused methods to understand effectively the people they seek to motivate or help. To carry out their work successfully, they often develop a unique counselor approach, style, philosophy, and theory. There are diverse styles, approaches, and philosophies that help the counselors to unlock mysterious human qualities like leadership, motivation, and empathy (Nelson-Jones, 2000).
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A human being can be described as a social being, and he faces many challenges during a life transition, including physical and emotional needs. Improper censuring and catering of these needs have adverse effects on a person’s life, as it could easily lead to drug addiction (Abadinsky, 2010).
This paper will look into the role of drug addiction in my life. This will give room to a study of counseling theories and ideas as illustrated by a counselor who is helping me to overcome the addiction. The paper will seek to develop an understanding of thinking styles, personality traits, and theories that are important for counselors in improving the knowledge of motivation and behavior to help others. This will be evaluated through my feelings towards the counseling style and approach taken by the counselor.
Summary of the Session
The session aimed at investigating how important the counselor’s role was in improving my cognitive behavior. The role of the counselor emerged as a solution to my drug addiction problem though I did not think that he possessed the relevant expertise. I, therefore, took the role of the client to enable an in-depth investigation of the topic. This contributed to improvements in the counseling practice with implications on the soundness of a counselor as the solution to my drug addiction.
The soundness of a counselor as the solution, however, was only felt when my approach and the counselor’s approach worked with a neutral impression that prevented distress of the negative outcome that normally result from the interpersonal differences. During the counseling session, I managed to achieve this by working with my counselor in making sure that our direction was influenced by the relevant questions, and by prioritizing issues that were of utmost importance. The overall plan was a good experience for me, as the cooperation between the counselor and I enabled me to understand myself and define the direction that I should move to achieve my life goals.
A Discussion on My Feelings Before, during, and After the Session
Before I discussed with the counselor concerning my drug addiction, I had a feeling that the counselor would criticize me. I felt that the people who were victims of drug addiction stand to be accused, mistreated, and should therefore be corrected in a blaming manner because they depict irresponsible behavior. However, this was not the case because the counselor based his objectives on meeting my social needs and wants, instead of first trying to diagnose the problem of addiction.
The counselor did this by creating a good avenue for open communication, and he never criticized me. This, in turn, helped me because I felt that the counselor understood clearly my social needs, including the need for affection. Therefore, during the counseling session, I was able to receive the advice given by my counselor because I felt that the counselor does not aim at criticizing me, but he aimed at accepting me the way I am.
More so, I felt that my conversation was acceptable in the presence of my counselor since he was able to accept all forms of verbal speeches including slang language, and I was, therefore, able to communicate with him effectively. Donati & Watts (2005) affirm that accepting all forms of communication plays a critical role in demonstrating social acceptance towards a person in need. The counselor also improved the way I felt about my parents as well as my teachers, as he developed a good attitude towards the role of parents and teachers in my life.
After the session, I felt that I had achieved much because I engaged myself in active participation, and hence recognized my full potential. I felt that I did not only achieve my full potential by holding a counseling program with the counselor himself, but I also gained a positive attitude towards matters relating to the community.
In achieving a positive attitude, I felt that I was in a position of recognizing the relationship between the society and myself; I felt that I was able to define my circumstances freely since this would help me in promoting my responsibility to the society. I also felt that the use of verbal skills used during the counseling session enabled me to think critically, as it created room for a brainstorming session with the counselor (Donati & Watts, 2005). I, therefore, felt that the engagement with the counselor was a success since I attained diverse skills, which helped in improving my life goals.
Identification of Key Skills Used By the Counselor and an Analysis of Their Impact on Me
The counselor opened the session by observing punctuality, as this aspect provides more time in selecting an appropriate topic to dialogue and provide me with the appropriate feedback. Before interviewing me, it was worthwhile to make a schedule for the meeting as well as ask for the permission of a tape recorder. This played a critical role in ensuring the validity of the counseling session.
McLeod (2010) supports this as he claims that seeking permission before holding a counseling session serves as an avenue for achieving qualitative information for a counseling session. I, therefore, asked for permission of recording the conversation to avoid receiving biased feedback from my counselor. The counselor preceded by stating the overall schedule of the program. Beforehand, the counselor had created an environment that eliminated disorganized, chaotic, unsafe, as well as anxiety-producing interactions with me.
More so, the counselor had created an environment under which I was able to exercise my judgment and free will, as he did not limit the amount of freedom and independence as I answered his questions; instead, he determined the most acceptable behavior that would result to working cohesively with me. He did this by taking into account the values of my community as well as taking note of the traditions of my culture before coming up with an action plan. More so, the counselor endeavored to determine and assess the most rewarding method that will benefit me; hence, he demonstrated good counseling skills (Egan, 2010).
The counselor was endowed with diverse skills, and therefore took an approach that was guided by the fact that behaviors of human beings are influenced by their shortcomings (Turner, 2006). This implied that human beings tend to be moving toward the future by being influenced by subjective goals that are attributed to their past failures. The counselor came to this conclusion after asking me, “Were you addicted to drugs due to lack of physical and emotional needs?” This question helped in explaining the fact that we all strain to achieve superiority through goal setting. Self-defeating tendencies and discouragements, however, can result from unattainable goals, and this can easily influence someone to engage him/herself in criminal behavior, suicide, or drug abuse.
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The counselor tried as much as possible to understand accurately my point of view to avoid escalating resistance, and hence improved my self-efficacy in understanding the discrepancy between my actual behavior and my ideal behavior. The counselor also made a point of listening reflectively to elicit motivational statements from me and examined both sides of my ambivalence. In his examination, the counselor employed a philosophy that the function of counseling is to guide the clients on their journey of self-exploration in which they seek to increase their level of self-understanding and self-awareness (Egan, 2010).
He, therefore, avoided acting like an expert in my life by trying to dispense advice to me on what I should be thinking, feeling, and doing; instead, he encouraged me to use a reflective approach that helped me to form a basis for a thorough investigation of why I became a drug addict.
The counselor found a strength-based counseling theory as the most useful theory in my life. He, therefore, worked with me to find out what was going on in my life by focusing on the past and present successes, and using them to address the challenges that I faced as well as the challenges that I may face in the future. The counselor demonstrated proficiency since he used a style of behavior change counseling developed by Miller called Motivational Interviewing (Grisham, 2005).
This theory is directive, client-centered, and seeks to establish an atmosphere in which I became free, and he was able to solve my problem in the direction that I wanted. I realized this after asking my counselor, “How ready are you in tolerating the indifferent behavior that I possess due to my drug addiction?”
Also, I was able to gain the ability to switch through the different types of my counselor’s questions as he enabled me to use a reflective approach, and this helped me to form a basis for a thorough investigation of behavior resulting from addiction issues. This taught me that engaging myself in a user-friendly counseling exercise grants the counselor an opportunity of advancing his insight into counseling me, and hence he was able to acquire a better understanding of my behaviors, and this, in turn, helped me to achieve my life’s objective.
A Description and Analysis of My Overall Experience, and Response to the Session
By taking the position of a client, I am confident that the success of the counseling program was facilitated by the presence of an open-minded counselor. The open-minded counselor handled the counseling program in a user-friendly manner, as he commences by asking the relevant question that took into account attaining a smooth transition into the ideal cognitive behavior. This helped me to accomplish an insight into the new cognitive behavior due to the good relationship that I developed with the counselor.
Even though the relationship between the counselor and I was an important experience, several activities that were involved with the practice were faced with many challenges. Egan (2010) alleges that the major conflict between a counselor and a client relationship involves personal development during the counseling session. However, the counselor was able to demonstrate personal development by creating an opportunity that enabled him to analyze our interpersonal differences.
Also, I was able to gain the ability to switch through the different types of questions by first being enabled by the counselor to use a reflective approach, as it helped me to form a basis for a thorough investigation between my actual behavior and my ideal behavior.
This taught me that by engaging myself in a user-friendly counseling session, the counselor gets an opportunity of advancing his/her insight into personal counseling skills, and hence he can acquire a better understanding of my behavior. This, in turn, helps me to achieve the desired cognitive behavior by using a reflective approach (Egan, 2010). The reflective approach can be beneficial to a person willing to develop cognitive behavior since it facilitates the achievement of one’s life goals.
The overall experience further helped me to gain good standing with the rest of the community members, as the counselor first assessed the degree of my drug addiction, and he then examined the level of the risk factors in the community. More so, the counselor was more visually focused than solution-focused; therefore, he was aware that the processes of changes are the processes of development, and they arise from continuous interaction of diagnostic process (Egan, 2010)
The fact that every client is unique makes counseling challenging and stimulating to the counselor. With this point of view, the therapeutic technique and strategy that should be applied differ from one counselor to the other depending on their viewpoints and their client needs. Effectiveness in counseling therefore calls for the counselor to have good skills in designing their theoretical methods to suit the client (Nelson-Jones, 2000). Counselors should seek to establish a client-centered philosophy that creates a good client environment and develops an alliance with the client to realize personal growth. This will go a long way in improving the quality of life for the clients.
From my point of view as the client in this counseling session, the session served the role of providing me with a revelation of drug addiction issues in a comprehensive way, as I came across other aspects of the topic that were useful in my life.
The information provided to me by the counselor focused on different ways of protecting me from the addiction. This information provided me with the information that I was able to relate to; hence, it further enhanced my understanding of life, as it further improved my understanding of the topic. Also, my counselor was equipped in the various fields of the study, and this made him completely explore the topic. This enhanced my curiosity; hence, I was able to do thorough research in an attempt of developing more knowledge on the topic.
Abadinsky, H. (2010). Drug use and abuse: A comprehensive introduction (7th ed). Independence, KY: Cengage Learning.
Donati, M., & Watts, M. (2005). Personal development in counsellor training: towards a clarification of inter-related concepts. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 33, 4, 475-484.
Egan, G. (2010). The skilled helper: A problem-management and opportunity-development approach to helping (9th ed.).Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.
Grisham, M. (2005). Personal Philosophy of Counseling. Web.
McLeod, J. (2010). Case study research in counselling and psychotherapy. Los Angeles: SAGE.
Nelson-Jones, R. (2000). Six key approaches to counselling and therapy. London: Continuum.
Turner, J. H. (2006). Handbook of sociological theory. , New York, NY: Springer publishers.