Anxiety in Masters Students in Counselor Education Programs Term Paper

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Anxiety in Masters Students in Counselor Education Programs

The Counseling Education programs are "designed to train counseling graduate students by allowing them to enhance their knowledge of counseling theory and techniques through direct client interaction, observation, and professional consultation. Counseling services are provided to student volunteers and are conducted under the supervision of faculty members. Counseling sessions may address personal difficulties, enhance personal development, and explore educational or vocational interests. More specific topics with which counselor-trainees may want to be familiar with are: interpersonal and roommate relationship issues, self-esteem, grief issues, and study skills/test taking skills" (Counseling Laboratory Manual, 2005).

Like all important steps we take in life, a Counseling Education program for Master students can develop situations that are causing a more or less acknowledged presence of anxiety. Students who engage in these programs have to cope with a big responsibility on the other people's life in their near future, so the problem of anxiety should be seriously considered and regarded as a normal and expected one.

As discovered in some studies, "fear of failure was one of the causes of anxiety" (Pan, Wei & Tang, Mei, 2005). A student who gets into this level of education has a high level of expectation from himself and he will not be pleased with common results, as these can be, in his mind, a reflection of his future career and achievements.

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Anxiety disorders, as described in an article, can implicate "more than just "nerves"; they are medical conditions marked by feelings of intense discomfort, panic and/or fear that arise with no clear cause and interfere with daily life" (Anxiety and Panic Disorders). Reasons that can induce anxiety are multiple, as explained below: "Anxiety disorders can result from a single factor, the interaction of many factors, or no apparent reason at all" (Anxiety and Panic Disorders)

Term Paper on Anxiety in Masters Students in Counselor Education Programs Assignment

The practicum experience is the beginning of the student's possibility to try in real life what he had learned and see, for the first time, how he can manage this new situation. "The practicum experience provides students [...] the opportunity to apply counseling techniques and skills to the actual client setting. Counselor-trainees will be assigned clients and conduct counseling sessions." (Counseling Laboratory Manual, 2005).

For becoming a good and professional counselor, a student has to conform oneself to the experience of being himself a client: "An essential requirement for freshmen is to experience what clients encounter when they establish a therapeutic relationship and work with a counselor. To fulfil this experience, students are required to have a minimum of six counselling sessions as a client with a counselor of their choice before they finish Practicum" (DSU Counselor Education Program Student Handbook, 2006)

Practicum, if seen from the perspective of an anxiety danger situation, can take out from students' life some really stressful issues, as follows: first time opportunity to practice their learned theories and to see how this profession is suiting them, being a counselor's client first, realize and analyse the perspective of their own clientele in the same situation and putting in a balance the good and the bad qualities of the counseling session and the actual background. However they deal in practicum with the wish to achieve the status of perfect students, therefore anxiety is a part of it and, in its normal limits, can raise some questions and realities that can be very useful for their future professions.

Another anxiety reason during an education program comes from the supervision sessions. "Supervision provides counselor-trainees with both peer and professional consultation. That is, in addition to being observed by a faculty member, trainees will also be observed by other counseling graduate students. Feedback given in supervision is intended to help trainees to become better counselors; therefore, it is important to learn to accept constructive feedback. Try to implement the suggestions given during supervision in future counseling sessions. Supervision sessions are designed to help students learn. Thus, all students involved in supervision are encouraged to ask questions. Counselor-trainees are NOT expected to be free from errors. Nevertheless, remember to keep a positive attitude and a sense of humour; these will help you deal more effectively in stressful situations and help you maintain perspective" (Counseling Laboratory Manual, 2005). As perfectly explained above, feedbacks received in supervision are for the student's best interest, positive or negative. Anxiety we can find here at the students who think they already know all they have to do and who don't want to hear negative opinions about their work. But supervision's main role is to improve what you are already good about and to learn more on the parts where some errors are made. The best way for learning and improvement is to be open to all kinds of opinions and methods and to chose, in the end, what proves to be the best.

Starting the internship can bring more reasons for uncontrolled anxiety. "Prior to internship placement, students are apprised of choices in placement locations. Students are required to complete the 100-hour field experience (General Internship) in an approved location of their choice. This experience allows students to broaden the skills necessary for counseling specialized populations and provides an opportunity to become familiar with more diverse populations" (DSU Counselor Education Program Student Handbook, 2006). Getting in contact with an unfamiliar place and new kinds of experiences, with different types of people and personalities, is not an easy matter, especially if, as a student and person, you do not have yet all the necessary resources to impose yourself as a professional and to truly trust your capacities as a counselor.

The final exam is a must on all programs and courses that are preparing professionals, especially in the counselling field, where interacting and responding is a huge responsibility and the students have to be prepared for all kind of situations. "In order to evaluate the student's progress and to provide appropriate feedback so that the student may evolve into a professional counselor, the student's progress is monitored through a series of evaluations in different stages of the program. Each student is evaluated by a committee made up of counseling faculty and may include the Division Chair. Evaluation of the student's potential for mastering the necessary skills include, but are not limited to, interpersonal communication skills, personal and professional attributes, personal and professional growth, basic counseling skills, and the understanding and demonstration of academic knowledge in the field of counselling" (DSU Counselor Education Program Student Handbook, 2006). The final evaluation is the most important for all students, and that is why anxiety is very common in exams. The fear that they will not pass this final test, especially if they had tried hard and had had good results over the program, causes anxiety symptoms, at many students

All the steps for becoming a counselor in the Master Students Counselor Education Program are important and necessaries, even if some students would prefer to skip some of them and to get directly to the end of the program. Anxiety, as I said, shouldn't be a reason of failure for this kind of program, but a way to improve it and take the best from it. "These activities are essential for all counselors, a belief viewed as a professional obligation as well as an opportunity for personal growth. To this end, the program and its faculty are dedicated to maintaining a psychologically safe and secure atmosphere wherein all students can experience individual growth, intellectual stimulation, and develop both professional knowledge and technical expertise. Faculty commit themselves to continued professional development and the establishment of sound and ethical mentoring, teaching, supervisory and consultative relationships with students" (DSU Counselor Education Program Student Handbook, 2006).

Anxiety, being such a known disorder in the students, has to be treated if it exceeds the limit of the normal, this normal limit being the point when it starts to take control of someone's life and actions. "Fortunately, anxiety disorders are highly treatable. The vast majority of individuals with anxiety disorders who receive proper treatment experience significant improvement. The most common treatments for anxiety are psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two" (Anxiety and Panic Disorders)

In order to forefend anxiety and to improve anxiety symptoms, a multitude of studies have been made and teachers have developed their own new programs to come into the help of their students.

One of the methods of preventing anxiety is the active coping. "Active coping is a vital factor that leads individuals to successfully cope with stressful situations (Kumpfer, 1999). Although coping has been studied extensively, researchers have not reached a consensus on the nature of coping. This study aimed to explore the nature of active coping. The term active coping [...] refers to coping style that is characterized by solving problems, seeking information, seeking social support, seeking professional help, changing environments, planning activities, and reframing the meanings of problems" (Li, Ming-hui) Even if this study has discovered that active coping is not a stress result, it is a great way to keep track of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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