Project #2

For Counseling Foundations COU500 51 FA13

Submitted to Dr. James Dalton Freed-Hardeman University In partial fulfillment of course requirements

Fall 2013

Personal Beliefs

By JMA September 23, 2013

Freed-Hardeman University Memphis, TN



I have always had a genuine interest in helping others. When I look back at my childhood, I can remember being concerned about the elderly, homeless, and people that were quiet and shy. I always carried this thought in the back of my head: " they just want (need) someone to talk to" and for some reason I always felt guilty for not approaching these people because I believed I could have helped them if I would have tried. Obviously I wasn't educated on theories at the time and didn't know what to say, but I had this interest in wanting to "be there" for them. I can positively say that my childhood experience has had a significant impact in the development of my philosophy of "helping” people. However; education and training will help me to become a better counselor. Culture is defined as the beliefs, values, and norm people of a particular group share. One aspect of training culturally competent counselors is making sure they are aware of their own culture and how it has shaped their beliefs and values. The beliefs and values individuals have define how they see the world and what they view on being important. The cultural identities I feel most comfortable are European, Hispanic, and Islamic cultures. Due to my varying jobs, I have had the pleasure of meeting and making lifelong friends with people from these cultures. I have learned various traditions from these cultures and interacted with their families. Embarking in the field of counseling, I am very excited to meet people from differing cultures. I believe meeting and learning from others cultures will make me a well-rounded counselor. As an inspiring counselor, my personal philosophy is counseling is an exploration of what is getting in the way of someone’s happiness. Those interferences to happiness can be old patterns that no longer serve us, a lack of fulfillment, self-judgment, or behaviors that are keeping us from feeling good about ourselves. Counseling explores these interferences and helps the person remove obstacles to happiness so he or she can go on to lead a happy and fulfilling



life. Effective therapy requires that the therapist exhibit respect, authenticity, genuineness, empathy, acceptance, and unconditional positive regard. These qualities are at the heart of therapy and facilitate a healthy connection that allows true healing to occur. I will work very hard to cultivate and nurture a loving, authentic, accepting, non-judging and empathic stance with my clients. It is my hope that the acceptance and positive regard the client will feel in my office will eventually become internalized and he or she will begin to feel more positive towards themselves. I will not view myself as the healer. I believe that it is the client who heals him or herself. I will merely be the facilitator. I will not provide solutions or answers. I will assist my clients in finding their own answers. It is my job to help make the answers explicit. To help my clients identify, develop, and mobilize their own resources to successfully solve their problems and meet the challenges of life in a healthy and functional manner. It will be my job to create a safe place in which people can explore themselves. Counseling deals with a wide range of clinical problems that are treated by counselors. These problems are not limited to; child-parent problems, individual problems, death, marital problems, anxiety, and depression. For families with one member who has a serious physical or mental illness, family counseling can educate families about the illness and work out problems associated with care of the family member. After a death in the family, there will be a number of emotions to handle. Counseling is important because it provides families with the skills and strategies they need to manage life together in a healthy way. Negotiating differences and resolving problems are another challenge for most families. Counseling gives families the tools they need to gain perspective and work on ways to establish healthy boundaries during conflict. One popular old adage that’s always struck me as particularly stupid and harmful is, “People don’t change.” Although everyone has ingrained personality traits, we aren’t held



captive by them. Believing that we can’t change encourages us to accept our weaknesses. How many people with substance problems claim they aren’t capable of stopping? It’s much easier to continue a harmful behavior when responsibility is placed on an outside force like genetics or an “addictive personality”. Saying people can’t change is the same as saying people can’t learn. When you learn something new that knowledge fundamentally changes you. Each piece of information adds to your personal database, creating additional resources to draw on when interacting with the outside world. We face the same temptations to engage in negative behavior, but we also build a body of experience that tells us the reward isn’t worth the penalty. The population that I am most interested in servicing is clients that have mental disabilities. Mental health counselors work with individuals, families, and groups to address and treat mental and emotional disorders and to promote mental health. They are trained to address a wide range of issues, including depression, addiction and substance abuse, suicidal impulses, stress management, problems with self-esteem, issues associated with aging, job and career concerns, educational decisions, issues related to mental and emotional health, and family, parenting, and marital or other relationship problems. Within my family, I have an aunt that is Manic Depressive, Bipolar, and has an addiction to gambling. I desperately want to help her, however I know there is a great possibility I will not be able to. I feel that if I work in the mental health field, and is able to help someone fight their demons, I would have made a difference in someone’s life. Being a counselor, you have to have an open mind about everything and anything that may come your way. Counselors are people that you can go to, to help you with any problem. On the other hand, every human being has there own type of prejudices. These prejudices can stop you from helping someone that truly needs your help if you hold a prejudice



against them, or something that they have done. A bias that I hold that might make it difficult for me to objectively counsel with a certain client would be if my client was pedophile or sex offender. If a client came to me that was a pedophile, I would have a very hard time trying to understand them and also, finding a solution to their problem. At this time in my life, I am strongly against helping pedophiles find a solution to their problems, because someone who lives the life of a pedophile only deserves a place in jail. The world is a very scary place for a child, but to have people who sexually abuse children for their sexual pleasure, have some serious problems. As hard as it might be to not help the client, it is my duty to counsel them no matter what, I cannot allow my bias get in the way. Sex offenders commit different levels of crime, and if I put all sex offenders in one category, I may not be able to give the client treatment they need. To work with people and make them feel as if they matter is a calling and not something that I choose to be good at. I have the ability to be personal, friendly, and I am willing to go the extra mile for anyone asking of my help. I have the ability to relate to people and understand his or her level of understanding. The skill I hope to gain from Freed-Hardeman University is the ability to put my biases aside, so I am able to help every client that I may encounter.

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