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According to the American Counseling Association, professional counseling is defined as a professional relationship that is aimed at empowering diverse individuals, groups and families to achieve mental health, wellness, education and to accomplish specific career goals. Counselors form an important fabric that is crucial for the success of the American society, and without them, many people are bound to make the wrong decisions leading to low achieves and both physical and mental satisfaction. I interviewed a counselor so as to find out what it means and takes to be a counselor from the horse's mouth. I wanted to answer some questions that would be critical for my success in future. These questions included job responsibilities, credentials, and training of a professional counselor, their job experience and advice they would have to those aspiring to be counselors in the future, future trends in his or her area of counseling and also how and when he or she effectively works with others in the human services profession.
The counselor's job responsibilities, credentials, and training:
Mrs. Beth Adkins, Old Mill Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
Masters of Science degree in Counseling
She is a certified Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
She has a post graduate certificate and she is certified with the National Board of Certified Counselors.
She works in private practice and in Prince George's Community College as a supervisor for the students. She had to earn 60 credits at the master's level. The National Board of Certified Counselors exam she had to take and an ethics after her educational requirements were met (Beth A., Personal communication, February 17, 2018). According the American Counseling Association, one must meet all the certification requirements to be licensed as a professional counselor (American Counseling Association,2012).
Pros and cons of his or her chosen counseling setting:
Future trends in his or her area of counseling:
The future trends is that there is a significant need for counselors. According recent report released by the American Counseling Association, Americans today need more counselling than ever before especially the youth who are getting addicted to drugs like never before (American Counseling Association,2015). Mrs. Adkins state that headhunters are contacting her for addiction and substance abuse therapy. She does not specialize in addiction, she is a general mental health counselor.
What he or she believes are the most important counselor characteristics that influence the helping process:
The most important characteristic that influences the helping process is to have personal chemistry, compassion, connection and a relationship. Also having a good support group of other professionals that can be called on in the time of need is very helpful met (Beth A., Personal communication, February 17, 2018).
How and when he or she effectively works with others in the human services profession:
Counselling techniques greatly vary depending on the client's issues at hand (Thompson,2015). She has to use different techniques depending on the client's issues. She mostly works with clients with anxiety disorders and depression. The techniques she uses are cognitive behavior therapy and for post-traumatic stress disorder, she uses EMDR. For trauma, it is EFT.
Any advice he or she has for you as a professional-in-training:
Gain as much knowledge as you can in school. Explore all possibilities of the profession and make sure that you know what type of counselor you want to be. If it is addiction or substance abuse counselor, learn all you can around that specialty. The ACA offers great divisions in other specialties that you can learn about such as Trauma counseling and spiritual counseling. Attend conferences and partake in webinars, various trainings, and podcasts. Familiarize yourself with the code of ethics. This will help you always when you feel stumped in a situation. You can always refer to the code of ethics for advice. Also, do not be afraid to ask questions and receive feedback re. ethical situations. All counselors need support, and to get a second opinion is best practice for counselors met (Beth A., Personal communication, February 17, 2018).
If you are going to enter into private practice, make sure you have the business acumen to sustain your business. The American Counseling Association gives advice as to possible scenarios of owning a business and the cost associated (American Counseling Association,2012). I am not the best business person. Therefore, I may not always process the insurance and in turn, I may not get paid until very late or sometimes not at all. So, do not let your business languish. Get a business manager if you need to. I asked how come she allows for two-hour sessions? Mrs. Adkins replied that she has been doing it for a long time and she doesn't watch the clock. I allow people to talk until they feel better. My limit however is about 1 hour and 45 minutes and then I will begin to wrap it up (Beth A., Personal communication, February 17, 2018).His or her experience as a counselor supervisor or in receiving supervision:
She is a certified supervisor for the state of Maryland. She supervises students on strategies and approaches at the graduate level. She has also been counseling students at the school for 4 years.
What model or approach he or she utilizes in supervision:
The models or approaches of supervision counselors employ depend on their issues surrounding the clients they handle. Common of the supervision methods may include active supervision through constant visits done by the counselor to access the client or passive visits that may involve accessing client's performance through media such as video calls. (SKOVHOLT, & Jennings,2017)
What characteristics he or she believes are necessary for an effective supervisor and supervisee relationship:
There is a fine line and you have to make sure that you do not cross the line. Issues do surface where you want to provide therapy. But I have to keep the balance. There are ethical guidelines that have to be adhered to. I have to sign off on the hours that the students work. I have to be self-aware understanding my own bias and triggers and be extremely knowledgeable in theories (Beth A., Personal communication, February 17, 2018). According to the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP),counselors must ensure professional conduct with the clients at all times.(Mascari & Webber,2013)
Any advice he or she may offer to a counselor in training:
Don't be too hard on yourself. Don't be nervous about going into this profession. There is plenty of support from other counselors. There are great organizations such as the American Counseling Association that has plenty of resources that you can pull from to assist you along the way. Also, do not take anything personal because it is not about you. Be open to introspection (Beth A., Personal communication, February 17, 2018).
What I learned about your chosen profession from this activity.
The visit to the counselor was an eye-opener. For example, getting to know about the career requirements and the necessary accreditation required to become a certified counselor made me review my grades in school and how I can make myself fit to be a counselor. I also got to understand that being a counselor is a calling as it involves helping people to live better lives. With the knowledge I acquired from this visit, I will accomplish more than I could have done before.
Thank you note
I am really grateful for your time. You have transformed my perception about counselors.You have made my future more promising as I have gotten a clear picture of what I should do in life. Thank you!
Miller, G., Scarborough, J., Clark, C., Leonard, J. C., & Keziah, T. B. (2010). The need for national credentialing standards for addiction counselors. Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling, 30(2), 50-57.
American Counseling Association. (2012). Licensure and certification. Retrieved March, 14, 2012.
Liles, R. G., & Wagner, M. (2010). The CACREP 2009 standards: Developing a counselor education program assessment. Ideas and research, you can use: VISTAS 2010.
American Counseling Association. (2015). The ACA encyclopedia of counseling. John Wiley & Sons.
Thompson, R. (2015). Counseling techniques: Improving relationships with others, ourselves, our families, and our environment. Routledge.
SKOVHOLT, T., & Jennings, L. (Eds.). (2017). Master therapists: Exploring expertise in therapy and counseling. Oxford University Press.
Mascari, J. B., & Webber, J. (2013). CACREP accreditation: A solution to license portability and counselor identity problems. Journal of Counseling & Development, 91(1), 15-25.
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