Preprogram Essay Joseph (Joe) Johnson Colorado Christian University Preprogram Essay Professional ethics, ones theoretical approach to counseling, and the appropriate integration of faith into counseling play integral roles in ones overall outlook as a counselor. These areas also combine into one cohesive body to formulate ones professional practice statement, which would be given and explained, to all potential clients. I will be examining these different areas, and how they impact my view of counseling. Professional Ethics and Practice Statement Ethics generally describes the collectively agreed-upon correct behaviors within the context of a professional group (Neukrug, 2016, 65). As a counseling student, then an intern, and eventually as a licensed counselor, I am bound by the American Counseling Association (ACA) Code of Ethics. The fact I adhere to this code is something I would have clearly written in my disclosure statement. I would also include that the client is free to discuss any issues with me or my supervisor, and/or may file a complaint against me if s/he feels I violated any of the code of ethics. I would ensure my disclosure statement provides the web address for the ACA Code of Ethics ( because the client has rights. My disclosure statement would also include contact information so the client could file a complaint with the state licensing board if s/he chose to do so. Since I live in Oregon, the client would need to contact Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists, 3218 Pringle Road SE, Suite 120, Salem, OR, 97302, phone (503)378-5499, fax (503)470-6266, and email [email protected] Our text discusses several different models which can be used for making ethical decisions. Because I am a Christian, I choose to approach my ethical decisions from a Christian worldview. From this perspective, ones sense of right and wrong comes from God, even though God gave man free will to choose. I subscribe to this approach because the Bible provides principles governing all problems we (mankind) may encounter, all authority is given to Scripture, and the Bible is where each of these principles begin (Covenant Enterprises, 2007). As Romans 214-16 says For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. (New American Standard Bible) A professional practice statement, often simply called a disclosure statement, is imperative as it outlines what a potential client should expect from his/her counselor, and is part of informed consent. A comprehensive statement begins with the counselors name and contact information, qualifications and certifications, and educational background. If one is an intern and not a licensed counselor, the statement must reflect this to avoid any misrepresentation, and must also include the name and contact information for the supervisor. Membership in any professional organizations can also be listed. Next, I would describe my therapeutic approach to counseling, explaining the method I use, the rationale behind why I use that particular approach, and any other treatments/therapies I may use. Currently, I am leaning toward Person-Centered Counseling developed by Carl Rogers. I believe no matter what the situation is, it is about that person, at that moment, and what s/he is trying to work through. This approach focuses on individualized, specific treatment plans rather than a shotgun approach to counseling. Being able to focus on someones specific needs for an individualized plan leads to more effective treatment for the client. In this section, I would also discuss the potential risks of counseling, such as unrelated issues arising because of being in therapy. I would also be sure to include a section on confidentiality and what it is. This particular section will hopefully help give a potential client peace of mind that the counseling area is a safe space where s/he is able to speak freely. However, there are certain instances when I would be legally mandated to break confidentiality because as a counselor, I am deemed a mandatory reporter. This is where I would state what mandatory reporting is. Oregon Revised Statutes, Title 4-Evidence and Witnesses, Chapter 40-Evidence Code, 40.262, Rule 507, Counselor-client privilege dictates when confidentiality can be broken, so I would have this written out word-for-word in my disclosure statement so there was no room for any doubt. Effective Counselors and Effectual Counseling Neukrug (2016) lists nine qualities that make up an effective counselor. He lists these qualities as empathy, acceptance, genuineness, wellness, cultural competence, the it factor, compatibility with and belief in theory, competence, and cognitive complexity (18). Glenn, Leppma, and Thorne (2015) conducted their own study of effective counselor characteristics, but from the perspective of a clinical supervisor. They wrote that other studies noted characteristics such as empathy, warmth, flexibility, and self-care (30). The six top counselor characteristics, as perceived by supervisors, from this 2015 study were ranked as Active listening skills and effective communication strategies self-awareness, to include biases, values, beliefs, fears, and issues related to countertransference trusts professional judgment and instinct understands clients are ultimately responsible for their own health and well-being understanding of cultural and individual diversity along with the skills, attitudes, and competencies to provide services to all segments of the general public and vigilant in establishing boundaries in personal and professional relationships in order to ensure their objectivity, competence, and effectiveness as a counselor. (2015, 32) Of interest to me is both sources share empathy as a common theme, as well as cultural competence/diversity. Both sources also indicate if one is to be an effective counselor, thereby leading to effectual counseling, one must be able to communicate well with others from all walks of life. This hinges on being able to speak clearly and easily enough to be understood by all, the ability to be an active listener in conversations with clients, and diversity in order to interact with individuals from different backgrounds and cultures. As a counselor, I must also be able to show empathy towards others since I have the responsibility to meet them where they are, accepting them for who they are, no matter what they have done or may decide to do. This also leads to better rapport building in order to work together to set counseling goals, yet remaining flexible enough to deal with the changing needs of the client. I must also be self-aware because personal issues I have may not only conflict with the needs of my client, but can also make me ineffective if Im not properly dealing with my own issues. Counseling from a Biblical perspective. Counseling from a Biblical perspective is an important concept. One who can successfully integrate a Biblical approach can provide Christ-centered counseling without preaching at his/her client. This counselor is an example of living like Christ by listening and learning about their client, valuing their personhood, acknowledging their free will, and offering clients love that only one who is indwelled with the Holy Spirit can give (Wichterman, 2017). Matthew 516 (New American Standard Bible) says we need to be light so others can see the good we do, and 1 Corinthians 111 tells us to imitate Christ. Combining these commands with a Biblical perspective allows counselors to be fishers of men (Matthew 419), reaching as many people as possible (Johnson, 2018). Putting all of these things together. Everything discussed (ethics, disclosure statement, therapeutic approach, and Biblical perspective) play an important role. As mentioned, each is but a piece of the overall puzzle, but together they make up the counseling practice. However, one must remember, the practice is only as good as the counselor. An effective counselor shows empathy, believes in the theory s/he is using, is competent in its application, but also willing to integrate new approaches into his or her usual way of practicing counseling and is a helper who doesnt believe that his or her theory holds the lone truth (Neukrug, 2016, 25). Faith integration allows one to be even more effective as the therapy is now from a Christ-centered perspective, and the counselor is always praying for both wisdom and guidance, for it is God how is truly in charge and holds all the answers. This is the type of counselor I want to be. I want God guiding my sessions and practice because I do not have all the answers, or even about me. I want it to be about how I can use my abilities to help people through their dark times and bring glory to Him. References Covenant Enterprises. (2007). The Biblical and Christian worldview for the 21st century. Retrieved from http// Glenn, M., Leppma, M., Thorne, K. (2015). Clinical supervisors perception of counselor characteristics associated with effective and well-balanced practices. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 46(4), 29-36. Johnson, J. (2018). Theological implications on counselor identity and practice. Lakewood, CO Colorado Christian University. Neukrug, E. (2016). The world of the counselor An introduction to the counseling profession (5th ed). Boston, MA Cengage Learning. Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists. (2018). Contact Us. Retrieved from https// Oregon Revised Statues. (2017). Rule 507 Counselor-client privilege. Title 4 Evidence and witnesses, Chapter 40 Evidence code. Retrieved from https// Wichterman, A. (2017). What is a Christian counselor-A CCU professors perspective. 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