Professional identity is the results of a developmental process that facilitates individuals to reach an understanding of their profession in conjunction with their own self-concepts, enabling them to articulate their role, philosophy, and approach to others within and outside of their chosen field (Brott & Myers, 1999;Smith & Robinson, 1995). The process of building a Professional identity should include building strong relationships with colleagues and mentors who are devoted to learning and teaching one another through continuing education by attending educational conferences and joining professional organizations.
The key characteristics of a counselor can be summarized as; Patience – a counselor has to provide patience when interacting with clients during sessions because everyone moves at their own pace while in therapy. The need to release negative feelings and move forward towards positive change can vary by client. Good Listener – counselors spend a large amount of time listening to their client’s stories and feelings, as counselors you have to be comfortable with providing this time while reading between the lines. Compassionate – your client should feel you care about them and have compassion for their issues.
Although your life’s path may have been different compassion can result in a positive outcome. Nonjudgmental – while providing therapy a counselor will encounter many different types of people who will disclose their most intimate deep dark secrets which can include things such as criminal or sexual behavior. A counselor must communicate positive feel back while withholding judgments. When encountering people of different cultural backgrounds, Counselors must refrain from pushing their personal cultural view/values on them. The counseling process should take place in a safe and intimate environment.
Research-Oriented – Research is an ongoing process it does not end upon completion of your degree it only begins. A counselor has to stay current on research in order to help their clients. Empathetic – A counselor should have the ability to share and understand the feelings of the clients. As a counselor you should be able to understand the situation from the client’s point of view in order to address the concerns effectively, being empathetic doesn’t mean you agree with a person it means you understand their point of view.
A counselor should maintain objectivity when dealing with empathy because there is a thin line between helping the client and harming the counselor. Discrete – A counselor has to provide confidentiality in order to gain the clients trust when disclosing their most intimate secrets. Encouraging – A large amount of clients seeking counseling are struggling with finding hope in their lives. It is the counselor’s primary job to instill hope when there is none. Self-Aware – In order to have an effective therapeutic relationship a counselor should be aware of their own weakness, insecurities and fears.
This will allow the counselor to keep his/her feelings out of the sessions. Authenticity – It is very important that a counselor displays his/her true self when working with clients because they will not open up if they feel you are not being genuine. What positions professional positions Masters of Counselors graduates hold? Well, that can be a very broad spectrum that involves many different avenues of counseling. As a master’s of counselor graduate the duties can differ depending on what you specialized studies you may have.
One of the professional positions that an individual with a Master’s degree in Counseling may hold is working as a school counselor whether it is grade school or high school they can provide counseling in the area of social, career, personal and educational issues. One of the main objectives of these counselors is to help students reach their full potentials. In the occupational outlook handbook it states that; they may also overlook programs for career education. More often than not, school counselor’s work toward assisting students with problems related to their social and academic life as well as other unique needs.
(Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Ed. ). A professional who holds a Master’s degree in counseling my also chose to have a career as a Vocational counselors. They may also be referred to as a career or employment counselors. These counselors offer counseling services in places other than the school setting. Their main objective is to help individuals with career choices, examine an educational background, employment history, skill and abilities, personalities and other aspects to help them.
Additionally, career counselors may offer support services to people who have lost their jobs or experiencing career change issues (Baxter, 1997). Another career choice for an individual with a Master’s Degree in counseling may hold is a Rehabilitation counselor. This counselor assists people with social, personal and vocational issues resulting from disabilities such as people born with emotional and physical disabilities. A key part of a Rehabilitation counselor is to evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of an individual, providing vocational and personal counseling and proving case management.
The occupational handbook says that Rehabilitation counselors are often dedicated toward improving an individual’s potential to lead an independent life (Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Ed. ). Mental health counseling is another opportunity that can be held by a Masters in counseling graduate. Their role as mental health counselors is to help individuals, groups and families who have emotional and mental health problems. The Mental health counselors deal with issues relating to anxiety, trauma, depression, substance abuse and addiction, and grief.
They can also help in community outreach programs. Mental health counselors may work collaboratively with people mental health professionals like psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, clinical social workers and even school counselors (Baxter, 1997). Masters in counseling graduates may also work as Family and Marriage therapists. They provide counseling to families, couples in a group or private setting In order to provide therapeutic measures for emotional and mental problems, therapists make use of family systems principles, theories and techniques.
This helps in transformation of people’s behaviors and personal views as well as promoting communication among members of the family to prevent conflicts. Therefore marriage and therapist may work at group, individual, couple and family levels. Emphasis on understanding the symptoms portrayed by clients and their level of communication with different settings they are exposed to (Collison, 1996) Upon receiving my Masters of counseling degree I would like to pursue the career path of a Marriage and family Counselor in order to help struggling families who have disconnected due to emotional and social concerns.
By taking this path I will have the opportunity to establish myself in the counseling community, build relationship with colleagues and work with a wide variety of people to gain experience and knowledge before I begin my private practice. Another path I would like to pursue after graduating with my Masters in counseling degree is a high school guidance counselor. Choosing this path will allow me the opportunity to work with the youth of today who are struggling with academia, social, emotional, and behavior issues.
Masters of Counseling graduates can work in a large arena of settings because of the extensive amount of education and training they receive during their graduate studies. Upon receiving my graduate degree I would like to obtain a position as an onsite Therapist for a Group Home Facility. I choose this setting because I have worked closely as a Supervisor with Therapist in this setting and I see the potential to help these children help themselves.
I have reviewed several career choices as a Masters of Counseling graduate and I also find working as a guidance counselor in a high school setting would be another way to help youth help themselves. In both of these setting in my opinion there is an opportunity to provide tool for young people to obtain in order for them to make positive changes in their lives. Counselors who hold a Master’s Degree in counseling may work in a variety of different settings which are determined by the chosen specialty counseling area. School counselors mainly provide support and counseling services in a school setting.
They may either have designate offices or may opt to work in classrooms. Other counselors such as vocational, career, family therapist and rehabilitation counselors may work in the form of a private practice, day therapeutic programs, in hospital settings or organizations dealing with community health. Several counselors work in an office setting, where they can freely see and interact with clients. Most counselors may often be required to give their services in communities setting (Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Ed. )