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Professional Identity

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Professional Identity

Key philosophies of the counseling profession

People experience difficulties in various stages of life, the struggle to deal with these issues can lead to anxiety, depression, irritability and even addiction. Mental health counselors view these problems as normal challenges rather than medical-based mental illness. The counseling process involves identifying and assisting individuals who are in such a condition. The emotions do not just happen from the dark unconscious but from the way one perceives the world around them. These emotions can be changed through critical examination of the individual's self perception and the way an individual apprehends the world, as well as one's position in the world. There are basic philosophies that every mental health counselor who is trained and competent follows in diagnostic and treatment procedures. The philosophies and techniques which are followed must be in consistent with counseling's humanistic roots (MEMHCA, nd). These philosophies are interdependent to each other.

Many counselors in the training usually start with a lot of idealism and unrealistic expectations of their role in the field. This usually leads to low morale, job dissatisfaction, low self esteem and lack of interest in their clients. The counselor supervision is necessary as it bolsters counselor's resilience to avoid burnout, this will facilitate ethical, professional and even personal growth. To avoid burnout among the trainees, there are recommended preventive and remedial measures to deal with the problem. There is need to inform the trainees of additional tasks that may stress them. The tasks mainly increase during internship; they may have administrative tasks, prepare comprehensive examinations and how to look for employment. The supervisors should try to identify early signs of burnout, address the symptoms and promote wellness. The counselors in training should be trained on how to take care of themselves and their clients (Thompson, Frick &Trice-Black, 2011).

The wellness model is the best approach in solving problems emanating from emotional and personal issues. The mental health counselor in this case identifies the character of an individual such as emotions, intellectual capacity, physical, social, occupational and spiritual. Through these aspects, individual's strengths and challenges are identified then the strengths are nurtured. In this model, formal diagnostics is taken as a single aspect in overall personhood of the individual (MEMHCA, nd).

Characteristics of an effective professional counselor

The main purpose of counseling is to help a client cope with a problematic situation and be in position to make effective and vital decisions on certain issues which are problematic to them. In order for this to be achieved there are characteristics that a counselor must embrace to be affective to his clients. The counselor must understand human behavior in relation to client's social and cultural settings. This is necessary as individual problems will be understood in relation social and cultural circumstances. The purpose of the entire counseling process is to attain growth-oriented change in the client that will be satisfactory to him/her. Behavior change is the easiest to observe and this is a sign of reduced emotional distress levels meaning the counselor is effective to the client. The relationship between the counselor and the client must provide growth. There are elements in a relationship that encourage openness by the client. These include treating client with respect, empathy, there should be genuineness with the client, there should be self disclosure, acceptance of the past and the future and there should be concreteness. The communication should be in respect to the client's rights to transform and show them care (Sadhuji, 2011).

Self disclosure and self confrontation are important to the client during the counseling process. Disclosing personal information will help the counselor understand the client's world. The communication is mainly verbal although at times it may be non-verbal. Counseling process is an intensive working experience, it requires attentive listening, absorbing the information and coming up with a plan for treatment. This means that the counselor requires substantial energy. There is professional ethical conduct that is necessary in counseling; these are set by relevant professional associations that sets required parameters (Sadhuji, 2011).

There are also the qualities that a counselor must poses in order to be effective to his clients. A counselor should be skillful in reaching out so as to be effective. This will help the client to communicate openly and honestly. They should also inspire feelings of trust and build confidence in their clients. This will make the client to feel free in sharing personal details without fear of being intimidated. They should also take into consideration their actions, feelings and their ability to motivate their clients. They should also like and respect themselves in order to avoid using others to satisfy their needs and instill fear in their clients. The counselor should communicate in a caring and respectable manner and having knowledge in a certain area will be of great value to the client (Sadhuji, 2011).

A counselor should understand the behavior of their client and try not to impose judgments to them; also they should have deep understanding of human behavior. Ability to reason systematically will help them to understand different social, cultural and political settings of their clients and the influence it has to their clients. The behavior patterns of the client should be well understood so as to establish the weaknesses and strengths of the client.

Comparison of professional counseling associations

American Mental Health Counselors Association and The Association for Addiction Professionals are some of the organizations in United States which focuses on training counselors and educators. Their main aim is developing professional counselors with qualifications and strong background. The NAADAC represent more than 75,000 counselors on addiction, educators and health care professionals who deal with addiction related cases. The members are specialists in prevention of addiction, treatment, supporting individuals on the recovery process and educating them. NAADAC has 44 affiliate members whose goals are creating healthier people, families and communities, this is through preventing, intervention, giving meaningful treatment and supporting recovery. They give their services to private and public centers such as hospitals and community-based health organizations. They advocate high quality and latest science



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