The belief that one can make a difference is an important attribute of an effective school counselor. I want the opportunity to be a part of children’s lives in a powerful way, to be there for students and to listen. I want to help children utilize skills that I have taught in a manner in which they are independent enough to live a full and productive life. Growing up in today’s society is very challenging and I want to be a participant in helping provide encouragement during challenging times and help students realize they are not alone. I want to help students find solutions to their problems in a safe environment that is free of judgment.
I feel like I have many attributes to offer as a school counselor. I am a great listener, as counselors spend a significant amount of time listening. I truly feel I have compassion for people of all cultures, races, and ethnicities, although I may not relate to every issue that is shared with me, but I will practice empathy. I am a very genuine and a trustworthy person. I am research oriented and enjoy reading books and journal articles to stay up to date on counselor knowledge and my personal growth. I possess self-awareness and know my own fears, insecurities, weaknesses, motivations, and values.
I want to guide young adults to make good decision to better their future. I want to be an advocate for students. In addition, I want to assist all students with their emotional, social, and intellectual growth. Also, to impart specific skills and learning opportunities in a proactive manner. I want to ensure all students that they can achieve school success through academic, career, and personal/social experiences.
Having empathy or being empathetic is a personal strength when it comes to being a school counselor. Being empathic allows me to have the ability to “feel” and understand what my students are experiencing at a deeper level. Being empathetic to the situations of others promote another one of my characteristics, which is trust. While trust can take time and must be earned by building a rapport with my students and getting to know them on a personal level, trustworthiness can lead to open communication between students and myself. Allowing students to share their conflicts and me helping them find a resolution. I consider myself a good listener, which is another personal strength in counseling. Good listeners do not interrupt. Good listeners allow people to share their feelings and thoughts uninterrupted. I feel a good listener not only hears but also understands what a person is saying, thus being able to give effective feedback.
Every person is unique. This uniqueness is what makes the human race so interesting. However, because of so many variations of personalities sometimes are uniqueness can cause miscommunication or difficulty in interacting. One such personality trait in my own personal life that might cause a barrier is lack of exposure to a variety of cultures. Another barrier is my tendency to be an over-achiever; I find it difficult to relate to people unwilling to put an effort to reach their goals. Thirdly, coming from a Christian background I will make a conscious effort to accept all students regardless of their own personal values.
I have been attending school for the past two years and have accustomed myself to time management when it comes to my family, school, and my job, but that was one of my biggest hurdles in pursuing my degree. Another challenge is the expense of a Masters degree. I was able to obtain grants for my Bachelors degree but was unable to for my Masters. Again, being an over-achiever can cause undue stress when I continue to push myself to get perfect grades.
Section B. My Personal Values, Biases, and Worldviews.
Honesty is at the core of my value system, hard work, accountability, determination, and diversity are a few of my other values. Some of my personal biases are religious in nature. I have a firm moral code that I base right and wrong. For example (e.g.), I believe in opposite-sex marriage and in Pro-life. My worldview is Christian in nature. I have always viewed America as the greatest nation in the world but, I also have respect for other views that contrast with my own personal beliefs. My values, biases, and worldviews can a have a great impact in being a counselor. The values I possess have helped form me into a happy person, always looking on the bright side. I want to make an impact in other people’s lives by bringing out the positive in them.
My values/biases have not really changed over time. I grew up in a firm moral family and that has continued throughout my adulthood. As I have matured, I have learned to appreciate the diversity of our country’s culture. I realize that not everyone’s life looks like mine and that is okay.
My values will impact my counseling by allowing me to be honest with my clients. By being a hard worker and having determination, I will give a 100% of myself to my clients in defining what is best for their situation (even if that means extra hours of research or consultation with other professionals). Accountability allows my clients to know that I take the responsibility of their care very seriously. I also value diversity, I will do my best to be a multiculturally competent counselor and make my multi-cultural students feel comfortable and cared for in our sessions.
If I allowed it, my Christian values/worldviews could impact someone from a different culture. As a trained counselor I am well aware that I am not supposed to push my values or worldviews on to my clients. By understanding my own cultural beliefs and values I will be able to understand others. I will work to understand how my values and worldviews may interfere with providing the best service to my clients. I will develop cultural competence and try my best to deliver appropriate services.
My experience working with a diverse population is limited to African American, Native American, and a few Hispanic students. I feel competent working with these culturally diverse students. I have gained an awareness and sensitivity to these different cultures. I welcome the challenge of working with some other different cultures.
Section C. Counseling theories I espouse to use:
I have a feeling that I will find myself being an eclectic counselor. As I am continuing to expand my knowledge in the counseling realm, I believe it would be inaccurate for me to point to one or two counseling theories. Although, I am a supporter of client-centered/person-centered and choice therapy. I feel the client should take an active role in his or her treatment with the counselor being nondirective and supportive. I also feel that each student should perceive that they have control over their own lives and behavior, not focusing on early childhood experiences as an excuse for behavior, but emphasis aspects of their life that they control. I realize that one approach will not be suitable for everyone, but these are theories I plan on practicing. I feel that the client-centered or choice theory will work well with school aged children as they focus on what they can choose and can control. Using client-centered therapy for schools age children will help increase their self-esteem and help their self-awareness. As a counselor I will show my genuine concern and interest for each student and support them by helping them realize that every person can be a success and help them achieve to their highest potential.
Section D. Avoiding Burnout: Self-care.
I feel there are several strategies to avoid burnout. I have worked hard to achieve self-efficacy within myself and believe that I can help control burnout with having a feeling of accomplishment when I achieve a meaningful goal or task. This helps me to experience less stress in challenging situations. I realize that your place of employment can be stressful if you do not feel like you can be yourself, or you feel you are not appreciated. I work in a great school system with great supporters that create a more rewarding and engaged workplace. This in itself will hinder counselor burnout. If I sense signs of burnout I will seek assistance and attend to my symptoms.
As I reflect on this writing I am realizing that my love for children is the main reason I want to pursue this career. I want to help foster the feeling that every student can be anything they want to be and achieve their highest potential. I realize students come from a variety of environments and cultures. I want to be competent in counseling each student that enters into a session with me. If I do not feel 100% competent in dealing with the situation I will research and consult with other more experienced professionals in my area. I want to be the best I can be in helping young people overcome obstacles in their lives and help them realize that they have the resilience to be able to overcome them.