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Professional counseling entails creating a professional relationship that enables different groups, families, and individuals to achieve career goals, education, wellness, and mental health. Additionally, professional counseling can be said to be the application of human development, psychological or mental health principles through systematic intervention, behavioral, affective or cognitive strategies in an aim to address pathology, career development, personal growth, and wellness. Professional counselors usually work with their clients on professional ways to overcome personal challenges and obstacles that they are encountering in their day to day activities. The main aim of counseling being to empower the client so that they can properly deal with a difficult life situation, make rational and well-informed decisions, experience personal growth and reduce stress.
Counseling has been undergoing changes over the years. In the 21st century counseling as a profession has been significantly influenced by technology and globalization. Professional counselors are made to adjust to these two factors so as to get close to their clients and create a good relationship. One of the current trends in counseling is offering counseling services of therapy through various technology platforms. Development in technology has allowed counselors to reach their clients more easily using various tools. For instance, a client and a counselor can communicate through a video chat or by email. Also, various search engines help clients in identifying the best and most appropriate professional counselors. Technology also allows counselors to write and publish online articles that can be accessed anytime by the client and help them in solving various problems they may have. Additionally, technology also allows counselors to reach a large number of people since it a worldwide platform.
Diversity and sensitivity is another trend in counseling. As globalization continues to grow, the society is becoming more populated with people from all backgrounds. The diversity of physical disabilities gender identity, spiritual religious orientation and culture are some of the major issues today's professional counselors have to consider and gain in-depth understanding if they are to remain effective in their therapy. Another current trend is ecosystemic mental health counseling which utilizes narrative and storytelling during therapy. Moreover, it explores language and linguistic systems of a patient or the client.
Counselors have various professional associations that they can benefit from services offered such as credentialing. These associations also may give opportunities for the counselors to gain continuing education credits. Additionally, some associations can provide insurance to the professional counselors who have registered with them. By using online platforms and magazines, these professional associations usually update the counselors on the new laws and policies regarding counseling profession. There is a various association of counselors that exists. The largest association being "The American Counseling Association" that is usually not limited to any type of professional counselor. This association is composed of other professional associations such as "American College Counseling Association, Association for Child and Adolescent Counseling, Association for Humanistic Counseling, Association for Adult Development and Aging" among others (Nugent & Jones, 2009). Another counseling association is the "American Association of State Counseling Boards" (Nugent & Jones, 2009). Counselor credentialing that is certification and licensing is key to becoming a professional counselor. Certification is of two types, that is state certification and voluntary certification. State certification is mandatory by law ensures that professionalism is maintained in the field of counseling. Licensure of counselors gives them the legal right to practice. It is done to protect the public and track the development of the counselor. Licensure differs from state to state.
Nugent, F. A., & Jones, K. D. (2009). Introduction to the profession of counseling. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Merrill.
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