The fact that thecounseling work brings with it some intimately individual situationsbetween the counselor and the clients, self-awareness is essentialfor a qualified counselor who wants to thrive in his or her work.Being able to self-reflect is an important tool in such a profession,and as an expert, it helps me in developing self-awareness, as wellas being an important instrument in getting detached from therelationship established with the client. My ability as a counselorto interact well with colleagues, clients, organizations as well asthe Society as a valuable tool in developing a breeding ground forreflections, and thus understanding of self and the environment. As acounselor, my ultimate goal is to see that the help I give a clientmeet their needs and is helpful towards their healing. Therefore, itis important for me to maintain a level of professionalism as well asforge a good relationship with the clients to provide room for theclient to trust enough to open up entirely since it is only that Ican comprehend their problem thoroughly and provide an amicablesolution.
Self-Awarenessand Personal Motivations
Over the years,and owing to the scholarly research, self-reflections as well asinstilled family values have played an important role in not onlybecoming aware who I am but also becoming comfortable with mypersonality. To a large extent, being an African-American male havedirectly impacted how I relate with others and how I go about mydaily life. Though diverse, my community gives a lot of emphasis onextended family and kinships, religion as well as spirituality.During slavery, many family ties were broken as men, women andchildren were taken away from their families and taken so far awaythat even after the slavery it is hard to trace and reconnect withthe lost families.
These people hadto readjust to their new environment and create new ties, whichcreate a sense of belonging that ease the past as well as currentoppression still being inflicted upon the African-Americans. Beingfully aware of my history, family ties as well as the sense to helpothers become self-aware and self-reliant impacted directly on mychoice of profession. As a counselor, I can interact with people fromdiverse backgrounds and with varied problems, helping them overcometheir fears and heal. This has been possible because I’ve been ableto develop high-level self-esteem from close kinships and familyties.
As a counselor, Ishould be in a position to help my clients through every problem thatthey are facing, be it physical or emotional. However, as a humanbeing and especially as an African-American male, there are someemotions that I am naturally uncomfortable with, and which I feel aclient should not bring up in a treatment session. For instance, I amquite uncomfortable with extreme emotional outbursts as well asdiscussions on sexuality. From my background, children, andespecially boys are supposed to be strong and persevere any painwithout showing any burden. These traits are instilled by any meansnecessary, be it spanking, threats or food denial. As a result, allmale grow up knowing that they are not to have any emotionaloutbursts or associate with people who do. The same applies todiscussions on sexuality, which parents avoid like the plague, andwhich children are not allowed to talk about with anyone. However,with time and gaining experience should allow me the time to becomfortable all these kinds of emotions, so as to be able to help myclients through any emotional turmoil that they are dealing with.
Level of Progress
Being brought upin a troublesome neighborhood where people undergo all kinds ofproblems on a daily basis has instilled in me the sense ofperseverance and patience. Additionally, the fact that I understandthat people are different and everyone deals with problems in adifferent way should be able to help me be appreciative of thoseclients who have quick treatment progress and be patient with thosewho take longer to show the same. The most important thing is toensure that I incorporate treatment strategies that are helpful tothe clients in the long run. Any progress is an indication that thetreatment in on course and will be fruitful eventually.
Transference isfeelings that manifested through feelings of platonic or familiallove, negative emotions such as bitterness or anger, as well as asexual attraction towards the client. The fact that the therapistprovides a listening ear to the depressed client is enough reason forsuch feelings to develop. These are very normal feelings that theclient or the therapist should never be embarrassed about. Instead,as a counselor, I should be able to draw attentions to such feelingsso as to explore them and try to find solutions for the same. Themost important thing is to help the client bring these feelings tolight and the more we discuss them will assist the client inrealizing that they might have been just reactions from pastrelationships that fade away with time. In a case that these feelingsbecome intense that they hinder treatment progress, I should be ableto advise the client to try another therapist. I should be able tomaintain a professional attitude throughout the process to be able tohelp the client without compromising the client-counselorrelationship in any way.
Countertransferenceis also an issue that impacts a lot in the therapy sessions, in thecase that a therapist refers personal feelings to the client. It isimportant to note that the challenges that I have come acrossthroughout my lifetime are likely to trigger some feelings towards aclient experiencing the same problems. The most important thing is torecognize these feelings and strive to deal with them amicably andnot let them impact the treatment process. These feelings manifest invery many different ways, and I need to be vigilant and recognizethem for what they are to help deal with them. Furthermore, beinggentle and kind to the client helps in gaining their trust andopenness, this is good towards treatment progress.
Flexibility,Being Gentle and Accepting
Clients come fromdifferent backgrounds and have different problems, which needsvarying levels of indulgence and treatment strategies. As atherapist, I should be able to be as flexible as possible to be in aposition to deal with every problem in as unique manner as possible.Additionally, I should be able to listen to the client in an openmanner as possible and should not be judgmental in any way sincedeveloping an attitude towards the client is not useful in drawing uptreatment.
My level ofself-awareness has helped me understand my challenges and the factthat I can never be perfect. With that in mind, I should be open tosupervision and accept help from the experienced professionals. Forinstance, knowing that there are issues I am not comfortablediscussing with the clients give me room to consult experiencedcounselors who could teach me ways of overcoming such challenges, andit is through these forms of learning that help me grow as atherapist. I am not in a position to help my clients if personally, Ihave unsolved issues, to such issues would eventually impact on myability to help my clients.
Testing and TheirImpact
Personally, Ihave learned from experience that some things are never what theyseem. Having seen many of my peers and neighbors drop out of trainingto pursue other things after being forced into such decisions byrelatives and people who were convinced that such were the perfectchoices, I understand the benefit of helping one make their decisionsas opposed to making one for them. With that in mind, I can neverforce a client to make a choice based on a test result. Though testsare important in helping a client in identifying what is good forthem, they should never be used in making a decision for the same.
Having acceptedthe fact that I cannot be perfect and all-knowing, I should be opento consultations with other colleagues and experienced counselors onissues that I do not comprehend properly. There is always a risk ofproviding a risky, ambiguous solution to unsuspecting clients,especially on ethical issues that need specific considerations.Though I might know all the ethical standards of my professions, itis never enough for all the ethical issues that might present itself,and the best solutions for such scenarios is to consult with otherpeople for a better understanding. Jumping to conclusions withoutanalyzing all the possible scenarios can be harmful in givingsolutions to clients.