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Introduction to the Counseling Profession

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to the Counseling Profession"— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to the Counseling Profession
Chapter 5 Self-Care and Self-Growth: A Professional Responsibility

2 Chapter Topics Counselor Wellness and Impairment
Holistic Approach to Wellness Cognitive, Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual Wellness Challenges to Counselor Wellness

3 Introduction Many counselors find that maintaining a positive balance
“Beyond ethical and competent practice, counselors are charged with fostering personal development. Personal development includes attention to self awareness, self care, and personal growth.” Many counselors find that maintaining a positive balance between personal development and professional standards can be challenging. Sadly, this seems to be grounded in the fact that many counselors tend to invest much more time and energy in taking care of others than in taking care of self.

4 Counselor Wellness and Impairment
“Counseling work can be demanding, isolating, sometimes devalued, require attention to ethics and asks that we remain empathically attuned to clients’ stories, which may have a powerful impact on us. We give of ourselves physically, cognitively, emotionally and spiritually and at what cost?” Mental and physical health are essential to maintaining competence as much or more than knowledge and skills. Wellness is not simply the absence of illness, but rather an outcome of consistently acknowledging and resolving life challenges throughout the life span.

5 Counselor Wellness and Impairment
“Wellness is a result of living life with purpose and achieving one’s potential whereas being impaired means being unable to attain one’s potential or to perform to the best of one’s ability.” Therapeutic Impairment Therapeutic impairment occurs when there is a significant negative impact on a counselor’s professional functioning which compromises client care or poses the potential for harm to the client. Impairment may be due to: Substance abuse or chemical dependency Mental illness Personal crisis (traumatic events or vicarious trauma, burnout, life crisis) Physical illness or debilitation

6 Counselor Wellness and Impairment
Therapeutic Impairment Counselors who are impaired are distinguished from stressed or distressed counselors who are experiencing significant stressors, but whose work is not significantly impacted. Similarly, it is assumed that the impaired counselor has at some point had a sufficient level of clinical competence, which has become diminished as described above. All counselors fall somewhere on this continuum between well and impaired.

7 Holistic Approach to Wellness
“Archer, Probert, and Gage (1987) stated that wellness is ‘the process and state of a quest for maximum human functioning that involves the body, mind and spirit’ (p. 311).” Wellness includes professional proficiency and personal growth, which is reached through cognitive, emotional, physical, and spiritual well being. Each of us is a system made up of many parts. If any one of those parts is not working adequately, all of the parts suffer.

8 Holistic Approach to Wellness
“Necessary preservation of your time and energy requires a cognitive component of self-talk, which serves as your internal Global Positioning System (GPS).” Cognitive Wellness Strategies for maintaining cognitive wellness includes: Monitoring Negative Self-talk Setting Limits Maintaining Boundaries Engaging in Meditation Engaging in Effective Time Management Maintaining an Optimistic Attitude Maintaining Financial Wellness

9 Holistic Approach to Wellness
“Emotional wellness can also be called mental health. In the most basic sense, it refers to your ability to handle emotions in a constructive way in order to enable you to maintain a positive emotional state.” Emotional Wellness Strategies for maintaining emotional wellness includes: Maintaining a Positive Self-Image and Self-Esteem Striving for Emotional Stability Developing a Support Network Maintaining Satisfying Relationships Engaging in Personal Counseling Utilizing Relaxation Techniques

10 Holistic Approach to Wellness
“Physical wellness is the active and continuous effort to maintain the optimum level of physical activity and focuses on nutrition, as well as self-care and maintaining healthy lifestyle choices…” Physical Wellness Strategies for maintaining emotional wellness includes: Maintaining a Healthy Diet Engaging in Routine Health Checkups Maintaining Emotional Health Maintaining a Healthy Level of Exercise Practicing Yoga

11 Holistic Approach to Wellness
“Spirituality is typically represented by a broad perspective that reflects the need for transcendence and connectedness, while religion is a view which incorporates the tenets of specific faith traditions. It has been suggested that spirituality is “what individuals find sacred in their lives, what is most important to them at the essence of their being.” Spiritual Wellness Strategies for maintaining emotional wellness includes: Search for Your Own Meaning and Purpose in Life Understand Your Own Beliefs Develop an Individualized Belief System Understand Your Own Biases Toward Spirituality and Religion

12 Challenges to Counselor Wellness
“Counselors have a responsibility to refrain from causing hurt, strive to help others, and pursue professional excellence. The susceptibility to impairment in their professional lives that can undermine their therapeutic efficacy includes the crisis of counselor impairment, which is often a result of secondary trauma, occupational stress , and burnout.” Burnout Burnout has been defined as “physical and emotional exhaustion, involving the development of negative self-concept, negative job attitudes, and loss of concern and feelings for clients.” Burnout is an “occupational hazard that not only affects the counselor, but also could contribute to a diminished ability to act in a manner that promotes the well being of others.”

13 Challenges to Counselor Wellness
“The concept of vicarious trauma means that hearing the details of the traumatic experiences of your clients may affect you on a personal level. For example, it can impact your perspective on the world.” Vicarious Trauma Changes in interpersonal relationships are also common in counselors suffering from vicarious trauma. This could mean that you become withdrawn within the relationships in your personal life, but it could also mean that you are no longer capable of meaningful therapeutic connection with your clients.

14 Challenges to Counselor Wellness
“Another area that may affect counselor wellness is work related issues such as the counselors’ job satisfaction. Mental health counselors report that when there is confusion about their role or really large caseloads, this has a negative impact .” Work Environment There are things that can help counselors function effectively and maintain a positive attitude about their work. These behaviors are knows as career-sustaining behaviors (CSBs). These behaviors include “maintaining a balance between professional and personal lives, maintaining objectivity about clients, reflecting on positive experiences, participating in continuing education and avoiding undue responsibility for clients’ problems.”

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