Counsel, Heal Thyself

Counselor, Heal Thyself

In this module, you examined the factors associated with effective counseling, which are consistent across all theoretical orientations. You learned about the importance of counselor characteristics such as emotional stability, maturity, sincerity, patience, and warmth. As Seligman and Reichenberg (2014) suggest, “The profile of the effective clinician is, in many respects, comparable to a profile of an emotionally healthy person” (p. 15). Norcross (2010) suggests that counselors who engage in their own personal therapy bring many benefits to their clients, such as the following:

  • Greater empathy toward clients or understanding of what it is like to be a client undergoing therapy
  • A heightened ability to understand feelings and psychological reactions in general as a result of intensively studying oneself
  • Prevention of harm to clients that could be caused by countertransference
  • Prevention of harm to clients that could be caused by burnout or by a therapist’s psychological impairment
  • Decrease in the stigma surrounding therapy

In fact, Norcross (2010) recommends that counselors should be required to seek their own counseling. According to Norcross (2010), programs that train counseling students should require this, and licensing boards should require this before a counselor can be licensed. Meanwhile, in Britain, where mandatory therapy is already in place for counselors-in-training, research findings have been mixed, indicating benefits and risks of counselor’s own counseling (Kumari, 2011).

Tasks:

In a minimum of 300 words, post your responses to the following:

  • Take a position (for or against) Norcross’s recommendation that personal therapy should be a requirement for counselors. Address each of the following:
    • What do you think of Norcross’s recommendations?
    • Do you agree or disagree with the argument? Provide specific reasons.
    • What are the costs and benefits of requiring counseling for graduation or licensure of counselors?
    • What are some ethical issues related to this issue? How does the American Counseling Association’s (ACA’s) code of ethics address this issue?
    • What are some other ways in which counselors can maximize their emotional stability and overall mental health?

Explore your own readiness to become a counselor by taking a test that is similar to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Step II Interpretive Report.
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