Term Paper: Counseling Naturally Therapeutic Person

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Counseling naturally therapeutic person is one who, by a natural response to those in pain, empowers them to realize their own healing potential lies within them, and never in the one who is helping or giving advice." -- Jaquelyn Small, 1993

The counseling relationship allows the patient to find support when the world seems "crazy." The counselor attends to the issues that patients bring in whenever they find anxiety is keeping them from living life with a feeling of satisfaction. Counseling helps show those who seek counseling that they have inner strengths and abilities to manage all their challenges. Counseling is a unique relationship in which the Counselor's job is to hold up a mirror for the client to see himself or herself in. We all have experiences in which we can't see things about ourselves without a mirror.

The counselor has learned ways to hold the mirror different ways, so that the patient can see themselves from angles from which they have never observed themselves, doing so in a caring and skillful way, as they have studied how to do so for many years. Yet the counselor and patient work as a team to make positive changes in the client's approach to life. This is something that a friend cannot do, a medical doctor does not try to do, nor can other "helping services" do this, as their emphasis is on healing other aspects of the body.

The relationship between the counselor with a supportive mirror and the patient is valuable in itself. Genuine caring and connecting with a feeling of closeness develops between the counselor and patient, born of trust. Yet the counselor must maintain objectivity, with no self-disclosure, in order to concentrate on the growth of the client, and to allow the client to grow toward being autonomous and independent (What 1)

Counselors must face issues related to interpersonal style. They must be non-judgmental and never reveal either the issues faced by the client or the incidents within which the client has acted. Counselors may have personal values, beliefs and behaviors, but in a professional role, the counselor leaves these behind in the counseling setting. One's beliefs may help one choose which area to work in or what approach to take within that area of counseling.

Counselors may serve in various settings. Advice columns in the newspapers or on the internet are not intended to take the place of direct professional mental health services but rather to provide insight into various problem situations and possible helpful resources and interventions (Hoy 1). Services assisted by art, crafts and other activities are utilized by counselors in settings from public community to private venues. Services maintained by large corporations hire professional counseling staff to help employees relate to each other and to prevent employees' personal problems from interfering with their productive output. Counselors may also work in settings such as Inpatient facilities, Employee Assistance Programs, Health Maintenance Organizations, Community Mental Health Centers, Consulting Companies, Schools and Head Start Centers, Social Service Agencies, Universities and Research Centers, Courts and Prisons, and in private practice.

Counseling uses technology in practice and education of both counselor and patient, presenting research in human information processing. Technology attempts to connect information and its application to current counselor education and practice. Technology impacts the counseling relationship and the teaching process of counselors by augmenting counselor education, training and supervision in innovative ways (Jencius 1).

The Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines counseling as "professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes." Testing, interviews and collection of case history data are all made easier by the application of contemporary technology. Video camcorders and other recording devices help participants and counselors in group therapy or other research venues integrate objective components into the experience. Wireless Internet on laptops, CDs, interactive DVDs and digital cameras are also utilized in research and counseling sessions. Client intervention may be easily done by taping and then reviewing incidents that are better understood when viewed by patients and counselors later. Ethical concerns are loss of privacy through recording and the possibility of the devices interfering in the atmosphere established by counselor and patient (Condic 10).

In groups, counseling professionals can help evaluate our communication. The participants in group therapy begin learning about how to communicate and how they will communicate in a healthy way outside of the group. Communication becomes an unconscious, automatic pattern that is difficult to change and involves practice and not just learning but un-learning the old familiar ways.

Communication is the healthy way of getting our needs met and stating our dislikes:

When effective communication is not used or learned, people learn unhealthy tactics to cope and meet their needs, such as: non-verbal, passive-aggression, isolation, acting out, verbal aggression, passive/placating, numbing - "I don't care," and depression. Getting needs met by other than counseling can have personal and social consequences. (Good 4)

Poor communication and having emotional needs met by other than professional counseling can damage current relationships and prevent new ones, or create unhealthy patterned relationships: co-dependent, enmeshed or distant. It can become a part of our identity - who we believe we are: depressed, passive, numb, angry, or aggressive. Basically, it can prevent healthy growth.

Group counseling may involve groups, large and small, professional or informally formed. The stages in group dynamics are, in addition to preplanning, dependency, conflict, cohesion, interdependence, and termination. These stages are often called "forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. " the responsibilities of those involved in groups are that members should "agree to keep each others' confidentiality, not attack each other verbally or physically, to actively participate in the group process, and to speak one at a time." These are the ethical standards of the Association for Specialists in Group Work. (Gladding 6).

Vocational or career counselors help people with personal problems that affect the workplace, just as educational, vocational and school counselors help with career and educationsl counseling.. Working hand-in-hand with the school vocational counselor, the Career Counselor provides testing for education, training, work history, interests, skills, and personality traits. Utilization of statistics, as well as face-to-face sessions, in an attempt to determine what would be the best career for an individual, determining their aptitude and/or skills, will help the facilitator outline possible jobs for each individual (Counselors 6)

Spirituality is combined with counseling in a church setting, or related spiritual choices, such as holistic, versus non-theistic or exoteric stances. The spiritual counselor often introduces the problem of evil into the counseling sessions, with various theories of what evil may be: metaphysical, natural or moral. Biblical or theological theories may be introduced, along with the elements of suffering, guilt, Job and Judeo-Christian traditions. Spirituality may include AA's twelve steps or the individual counselor's own personal approach to life. Spirituality includes so many choices in today's world, that summaries of past "spiritual" methods cannot encompass them. Faiver, Ingersoll, O'Brien and McNally have authored a book on most of these approaches that is valuable for anyone looking at counseling and spirituality (Faiver, et al.)

Counseling may utilize subjective activities to assist in analysis and expression of feelings, such as painting, crafts, imagery, hypnotherapy, music, writing (especially in journals) Bibliography and play, among others. Dance or movement and reading are also ways of bringing groups into contact with their own thoughts and expressions of them in other than everyday communication.

School counselors help students focus on academic, personal/social and career development so they might achieve success in school and are prepared to lead fulfilling lives as responsible members of society when they graduate. "Today's school counselors are vital members of the education team. They help all students in the areas of academic achievement, personal/social development and career development." Every state has different requirements for certification and continuing education. A successful and effective school counselor in either elementary, middle or high school are a necessary part of a school's staff, aiding educational leadership teams and providing valuable assistance to students (NCES 4).

Counseling in the mental health and private sector is perhaps the best known types of counseling. There are several approaches to counseling: cognitive, behavioral, psychoanalytic, Adlerian, person-centered (Rogerian), Gestalt and brief therapy, among many others. Each counselor has their own way of approaching counseling. The eclectic approach combines many of these, using a common sense approach to helping others by tailoring therapy to the specific needs of the patient. Once the counselor has a good knowledge of all these approaches, that counselor may choose to combine several or have a combination of two therapies with one client. Even if this is done, the eclectic approach is criticized for using the counselor's basic practice more than others, even if that counselor knows other therapies well. Solution-based therapy may be the best combination of therapies, as it may approach solving a specific and basic problem of the patient through therapy known to work on that particular problem. Ethics… [END OF PREVIEW]

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