Can someone complete assignment?
APA style, double spaced, no less than 3 pages, not including reference page;
In no more and no less than a 3 page, double spaced paper, explore and assess where you see yourself as a counselor as compared to the information about “Characteristics of the Effective Helper”; please include the following characteristics: empathy, acceptance, genuineness, cultural competency, and embracing a wellness perspective. See below for information from the textbook about the listed characteristics.
Please know that no one expects you to have all these things figured out at this point. Becoming a professional counselor is a developmental process and very much an internal process as well. This assignment is really about you looking at yourself honestly and seeing where you are right now. There are no right or wrong answers, nor any “perfect” set of characteristics for the effective counselor!
More than any component, empathy has been empirically shown to be related to positive client outcomes and is probably the most important ingredient to building a successful working alliance (Elliot, Bohart, Watson, & Greenberg, 2011; Norcross, 2010). Understanding our clients, or being empathic,
…means that the therapist senses accurately the feelings and personal meanings that the client is experiencing and communicates this acceptant understanding to the client. When functioning best, the therapist is so much inside the private world of the other that he or she can clarify not only the meanings of which the client is aware but even those just below the level of awareness. Listening, of this very special, active kind, is one of the most potent forces of change that I know.
( Rogers , 1989, p. 136)
Whether one can truly understand the inner world of another has been discussed for centuries and was spoken of by such philosophers as Plato and Aristotle (Gompertz, 1960). However, Carl Rogers (1957) is given credit for bringing this concept to life in the twentieth century. With respect to the counseling relationship, understanding through empathy is seen as a skill that can build rapport, elicit information, and help the client feel accepted (Egan, 2014; Neukrug, Bayne, Dean-Nganga, & Pusateri, 2013). Because empathy is seen as an important personal attribute, as well as a critical counseling skill to learn, it will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 5.
sometimes called positive regard, is another component likely related to building a strong working alliance (Norcross, 2010). Acceptance is an attitude that suggests that regardless of what the client says, within the context of the counseling relationship, he or she will feel accepted. Just about every counseling approach stresses the importance of acceptance (see Neukrug, 2011). For instance, person-centered counseling suggests that one of the core conditions in the helping relationship is unconditional positive regard, or the ability to accept clients with “no strings attached.” Behavior therapists suggest that issues cannot be discussed and goals cannot be developed if clients do not feel accepted by the counselor or by themselves. Solution-focused brief therapy stresses the importance of acceptance in helping to quickly develop preferred goals. Reality therapy suggests that the suspension of judgment (acceptance!) is one of the critical “tonics,” or relationship-building skills. Psychoanalysts talk about the importance of analytic neutrality and empathy in building a relationship in which all feelings, thoughts, and behaviors can be discussed. And even Albert Ellis, not a person typically known for his relationship-building skills, suggests in his rational emotive behavioral approach that clients be shown unconditional acceptance and not be berated for thinking, feeling, and acting in a certain manner.
refers to the counselor’s ability to be authentic, open, and in touch with his or her feelings and thoughts within the context and parameters of the helping relationship. Thus, one may not have all aspects of his or her life “together,” but within the counseling relationship, the counselor is real and seen by the client as being in a state of congruence (feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are in sync). Genuineness may also be related to emotional intelligence, which is the ability to monitor one’s emotions, a quality that counselors and counseling students seem to have more than others (Martin, Easton, Wilson, Takemoto, & Sullivan, 2004). Rogers (1957) popularized the term genuineness (or congruence) and noted that it was a core condition in the counseling relationship, along with empathy and unconditional positive regard.
Research by Gelso (Gelso, 2009; Gelso et al., 2005) suggests that regardless of one’s theoretical orientation, there exists an ongoing “real relationship,” in which the client will see the counselor realistically, at least to some degree. This real relationship has at its core the ability of the client to recognize the genuine (or nongenuine) self of the counselor. Genuineness has been shown to be one more quality that is sometimes related to positive outcomes in counseling (Norcross, 2010; Zuroff, Kelly, Leybman, Blatt, & Wampold, 2010).
If you were distrustful of counselors, confused about the counseling process, or felt worlds apart from your helper, would you want to go to or continue in counseling? Assuredly not. Unfortunately, this is the state of affairs for many diverse clients. In fact, it is now assumed that when clients from nondominant groups work with helpers from ethnic/cultural groups other than their own, there is a possibility that the client will frequently be misunderstood, misdiagnosed, find counseling and therapy less helpful than their majority counterparts, attend counseling and therapy at lower rates than majority clients, and terminate counseling more quickly than majority clients (Chapa, 2004; Evans, Delphin, Simmons, Omar, & Tebes, 2005; Sewell, 2009). Unfortunately, it has become abundantly clear that many counselors have not learned how to effectively build a bridge—that is, form a working alliance with clients who are different from them.
Clearly, the effective counselor needs to be culturally competent if he or she is going to connect with clients (Anderson, Lunnen, & Ogles, 2010; McAuliffe, 2013a). Although some rightfully argue that all counseling is cross-cultural, when working with clients who are from a different culture than one’s own, the schism is often great. Therefore, cross-cultural competence is a theme that we will visit again and again throughout this text, and I will offer a number of ways for you to lessen the gap between you and your client. One model that can help bridge that gap is D’Andrea and Daniels’s RESPECTFUL counseling model, which highlights ten factors that counselors should consider addressing with clients:
R – religious/spiritual identity
E – economic class background
S – sexual identity
P – level of psychological development
E – ethnic/racial identity
C – chronological/developmental challenges
T –various forms of trauma and other threats to one’s sense of well-being
F – family background and history
U – unique physical characteristics
L – location of residence and language differences (Lewis, Lewis, Daniels, & D′Andrea, p. 54)
The RESPECTFUL model offers one mechanism through which you can think about clients as you develop your skills as a counselor. Throughout this book, you will find other ways of ensuring that you have a strong sense of cultural competence.
Embracing a Wellness Perspective
Counselor stress, burnout, compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatization, and unfinished psychological issues can all hinder the counselor’s ability to have a working alliance (Lawson, 2007; Norcross, 2010; Puig et al., 2012). Such concerns can prevent a counselor from being empathic, lower the ability to show acceptance, lead to incongruence, and increase countertransference, or “the unconscious transferring of thoughts, feelings, and attitudes onto the client by the therapist” (Neukrug, 2011, p. 50).
Counseling students, and counselors in general, all need to attend to their own wellness by embracing a wellness perspective if they are to be effective counselors. One method of assessing your level of wellness is by examining what Myers and Sweeney (2008) identify as the “Indivisible Self.” This model views wellness as a primary factor composed of five subfactors and takes into account an individual’s context. The factors (creative self, coping self, social self, essential self, and physical self) and contexts are described in Table 1.1.
Abbreviated Definitions of Components of the Indivisible Self Model
The sum of all items on the 5F-Wel a measure of one’s general well-being or total wellness
The combination of attributes that each of us forms to make a unique place among others in our social interactions and to positively interpret our world
Being mentally active, open-minded; having the ability to be creative and experimental; having a sense of curiosity, a need to know and to learn; the ability to solve problems
Being aware of or in touch with one’s feelings; being able to experience and express one’s feelings appropriately, both positive and negative
Belief that one can usually achieve the goals one sets for oneself; having a sense of planfulness in life; being able to be assertive in expressing one’s needs
Being satisfied with one’s work; having adequate financial security; feeling that one’s skills are used appropriately; the ability to cope with workplace stress
Being able to laugh at one’s own mistakes and the unexpected things that happen; the ability to use humor to accomplish even serious tasks
The combination of elements that regulate one’s responses to life events and provide a means to transcend the negative effects of these events
Activities done in one’s free time; satisfaction with one’s leisure activities; having at least one activity in which “I lose myself and time stands still”
General perception of one’s own self-management or self-regulation; seeing change as an opportunity for growth; ongoing self-monitoring and assessment of one’s coping resource
Accepting who and what one is, positive qualities along with imperfections; valuing oneself as a unique individual
Understanding that perfection and being loved by everyone are impossible goals, and having the courage to be imperfect
Social support through connections with others in friendships and intimate relationships, including family ties
Social relationships that involve a connection with others individually or in community, but that do not have a marital, sexual, or familial commitment; having friends in whom one can trust and who can provide emotional, material, or informational support when needed
The ability to be intimate, trusting, and self-disclosing with another person; having a family or family-like support system characterized by shared spiritual values, the ability to solve conflict in a mutually respectful way, healthy communication styles, and mutual appreciation
Essential meaning-making processes in relation to life, self, and others
Personal beliefs and behaviors that are practiced as part of the recognition that a person is more than the material aspects of mind and body
Satisfaction with one’s gender; feeling supported in one’s gender; transcendence of gender identity (i.e., ability to be androgynous)
Satisfaction with one’s cultural identity; feeling supported in one’s cultural identity; transcendence of one’s cultural identity
Taking responsibility for one’s wellness through self-care and safety habits that are preventive in nature; minimizing the harmful effects of pollution in one’s environment
The biological and physiological processes that compose the physical aspects of a person’s development and functioning
Engaging in sufficient physical activity to keep in good physical condition; maintaining flexibility through stretching
Eating a nutritionally balanced diet, maintaining a normal weight (i.e., within 15% of the ideal), and avoiding overeating
Systems in which one lives most often—families, neighborhoods, and communities—and one’s perceptions of safety in these systems
Social and political systems that affect one’s daily functioning and serve to empower or limit development in obvious and subtle ways, including education, religion, government, and the media
Factors such as politics, culture, global events, and the environment that connect one to others around the world
Growth, movement, and change in the time dimension that are perpetual, of necessity positive, and purposeful
SOURCE: Based on Wellness Counseling: The Evidence Base Practice; Journal of Counseling and Development, 86, p. 485.
You may want to complete an informal assessment on each of the factors and context to determine what areas you might want to address in your life. For instance, score yourself from 1 to 5 on each of the factors, with 5 indicating you need to work on that area most. Then, find the average for each of the five factors. Next, write down the ways that you can better yourself in any factor where your scores seem problematic (probably scores of 3, 4, or 5). You may also want to consider how the contextual elements affect your ability to embrace a wellness perspective.
Finally, although many avenues to wellness exist, one that must be considered for all counselors is attending counseling themselves. Undergoing counseling can help counselors:
attend to their own personal issues
decrease the likelihood of countertransference
examine all aspects of themselves to increase overall wellness
understand what it’s like to sit in the client’s seat
It appears that counselors and other mental health professionals understand the importance of being in counseling, as 87% of helpers have attended counseling (Orlinsky, Schofield, Schroder, & Kazantzis, 2011).
However, some counselors resist the idea, perhaps for good reasons (e.g., concerns about confidentiality, feeling as if family and friends offer enough support, or believing they have effective coping strategies) (Norcross, Bike, Evans, & Schatz, 2008). So, have you attended counseling? If not, have you found other ways to work on being healthy and well?