A counselor engages in the process of paying attention to different clients and offers advice, assistance, and guidance on how to handle their difficulties and psychological issues. Counseling has to do with individuals and relationships in which support, direction, and problem solving is advanced (McCleod, 2013). Counselors help clients to find ways of exploring and discovering the means of leading a more satisfying and resourceful life.
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I contemplated becoming a counselor in my last year of high school education. I did not have the privilege of interacting with a counselor since enrolment to secondary school until the final year. My interaction with the counselor assisted me in choosing my career, avoiding substance abuse, adapting to college life, and developing excellent behavior to be healthy mentally. With this in mind, I esteemed the need to counsel young people who are required to make crucial decisions in their career, relationships, and avoid negative influence by peers. There are dynamics in the world today that present diverse challenges which people may find difficult to handle alone and counseling comes in handy at such times (McCleod, 2013).
A successful counselor should be in a position to pay attention to the clients, communicate effectively, and work with them to devise the most appropriate way of dealing with a difficult situation. Being engaged with clients requires that a counselor creates a difference in their life by first understanding their anxiety and predicaments, and more so developing comradeship so that they can open up to him/her (McCleod, 2013). A counselor should strive to ensure that clients hold on to their dreams, build strong relationships, utilize the skills learned, are relieved from all kinds of pain, and impact the lives of others positively.
To be an effective counselor one requires various attributes that may be possessed while others are learned. Top of the list of the skills that I have is a natural aptitude for paying attention to an individual and expressing my opinions and feelings plainly to another person. As a counselor, I am obliged to admit the client at their present state and relay the acceptance warmly and appreciatively. I can perceptibly feel and envisage what the other person is going through and this may make a client feel well served (Capuzzi & Stauffer, 2016). A counselor may not have solutions to all the client’s problems but should at least possess the skills of problem solving, which I do. In this case, the client can identify destructive thoughts and a behavior responsible for issues encountered and is assisted in changing them. Since counseling requires developing positive relationships, I have relational skills that can help in creating rapport with the client.
The client ought to build trust with the counselor through being offered exclusive attention that is not diverted by personal issues. As a counselor, I can adapt to the needs of clients and change the approach of solving problems other than having a pre-set way of handling them. There is a need for an effective counselor to uphold professionalism and this is possible when personal unmet needs and desires have been identified to avoid conflict with those of the client (Capuzzi & Stauffer, 2016). To cap it all, I am in a position to attend to clients from any cultural, religious, or socioeconomic background. There are some skills not in my possession as a student, which I may need to learn. They include skills on how to communicate effectively using technology where emails can be sent to clients for successful delivery of crucial information or lessons. Moreover, the collection of data on the progress of the counseling program and how to analyze it requires skills that I need to learn as well as being able to communicate to clients and stakeholders in public forums.
My values in the counseling process are meant to uphold honesty, independence, and authority of the client so that I can totally respect human rights and differences existing among individuals and cultures. Respect requires that I admit a client impartially, regardless of the culture they hold or any personal differences. Upon developing acceptance, integrity demands that I do not exploit the client, but observe the physical and emotional limits while providing support. As a counselor, I need to understand the authority of the client in developing the relationship and the vested power of making decisions, thus giving room for self-expression and articulation of their needs and opinions (Pedersen, Lonner, Draguns, Trimble, & Scharron-del Rio, 2015). Observing privacy and confidentiality is essential in the counseling process since there is a build-up of trust by the client while imposition by others is avoided.
When working with clients from a different culture, it is important that I start by identifying the issues for which assistance is being sought, through a culturally acceptable manner that avoids the direct method of receiving answers. My cultural background, cultural ethics, and life experiences make it necessary for me to enable the client value cultural diversity while at the same time maintaining professionalism and competence when delivering solutions to the client’s problems. Some of the ethical considerations for working in a helping profession entail seeking to know more about the client’s culture, valuing cultural diversity, and showing respect for holding certain views and different ways of problem solving so that a bond can be established. Identifying own beliefs that are different from others can help in revealing prejudgments and stereotypical views about clients with a different culture (Capuzzi & Stauffer, 2016). Self-awareness works to help me improve on counseling clients who hold onto a different culture.
I am interested in school counseling in the area of career development as well as helping students socially, psychologically, and academically. This entails providing information on psychological and social issues through such subjects as sex education and seminars on skills development. I look forward to helping students prepare for college life after selecting their careers in addition to assisting them to avoid negative peer pressure. Students should also be counseled on how to arbitrate conflicts amongst peers, teachers, or parents. Maintaining academic standards, the realization of set goals, developing skills on how to improve organization, study habits, and time management, improving social skills, and identifying strengths and interests are other areas I would offer guidance. There is need to bring about professional development in counseling so that the help to students can be more effective. This is by accessing timely and important information relating to counseling and keeping up-to-date with developments in the field (Pedersen et al., 2015). I would also venture into carrying out more research to obtain data that can be used in the formulation of policies involving school counseling.
Some principles guide a counselor in ensuring effectiveness in their work. They entail acting as per the proficient standards, confidentiality, and enabling clients to open up. Counselors are required to engage in that which can be executed freely and impartially, uphold cultural diversity, develop themselves personally and professionally, and maintain a favorable counseling environment.
Capuzzi, D., & Stauffer, M. D. (2016). Counseling and psychotherapy: Theories and interventions. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
McCleod, J. (2013). An introduction to counseling. Maidenhead, England: McGraw-Hill Education
Pedersen, P. B., Lonner, W. J., Draguns, J. G., Trimble, J. E., & Scharron-del Rio, M. R. (Eds.). (2015). Counseling across cultures. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.