Nowadays, the effectiveness of counseling services is defined by a large number of factors that demand close attention from a professional advocate. First, it is not only the communication abilities and spectrum of approaches in their arsenal that can constitute counselors’ competence. After all, counselors are subjective human beings who tend to have their own beliefs, prejudices, and stereotypes regarding particular races, genders, age groups, or religious followers. Subduing personal subjectivity might take much effort and self-control, but professional counseling should be excluded from any manifestations of bias (Granello & Young, 2018). This is why advocates should adopt self-reflection and identify the attitudes and stereotypes that were insisted upon them as a result of the socio-cultural impact.
These ideas laid at the very foundation of the practice adopted by T. J. Sweeny – an uncompromised leader of modern counseling. Sweeny started his career as a counseling practitioner in the 1960s and since then managed to turn an unauthorized activity into a full-scale licensed profession (Kress & Barrio Minton, 2015). He also takes the credit for the creation of CSA – a professional body that aims to serve as “both a recognition society and an aspirational model to promote excellence in the sole, unifies … professional counseling” (Kress & Barrio Minton, 2015, p. 116). Nowadays, CSI plays an immense role in the development of the counseling and education of new specialists.
However, passive self-reflection might not bring adequate results without a true counselor taking a deep dive into the “unknown,” “scary,” or “weird.” Granello and Young (2018) recommend specialists to embrace the ever-changing, diverse world through the educational process, “exposure to other cultures”, reading, training, and participation in volunteer projects (p. 338). The point of these activities is to develop a cultural competence – an essential property lack of which makes a person inapt to perform counseling duties. Due to T. J. Sweeny’s attentive consideration, similar events and activities are promoted in CSA, allowing young practitioners to achieve excellence.
Along with internal aspects, the crucial role in the quality of the service belongs to several external issues. For instance, the decision of who should be allowed to attend the counseling session is one of the most important and would particularly affect the final results of a specialist’s work (Granello & Young, 2018). The counselor should correctly assess the initial complaint he is given to decide whether the counseling session would be more beneficial with the involvement of other people or the individual alone. The approaches while dealing with individuals, couples, groups, school classes, families, and multi-families should also be differentiated by the needs of the target client, and with attention to the specific goal, the counselor tries to achieve. The success or failure of counseling practice might depend on other factors like professional specialization or the environment where it takes place.
As for my preferences in counseling work, I would like to choose the path of a career counselor. I believe that this specialization presents endless opportunities for me to find new clients, as many people are dissatisfied with the choice of career they made years ago. I am also sure that such service would be especially helpful to the youth who, on the opposite, have not yet decided what to do in life.
Granello, D. H., & Young, M. E. (2018). Counseling today: Foundations of professional identity. Pearson.
Kress, V. E., & Barrio Minton, C. A. (2015). Thomas J. Sweeny: A visionary leader and advocate for the counseling profession. Journal of Counseling and Development, 92, 114-118. Web.