It is interesting how there are a whole bunch of people in the society who claim to be counselors, but in actual fact, they are far from it. From parents to teachers, clerics, bosses at work, Doctors and nurses and indeed anyone who occupies a position of influence have at one time or the other played the role of counselor.
In life, we would all need someone reliable to talk to when challenges come. Someone that can lead and give the right directions when we are not in the position to do so.
What most people do, cannot be professionally termed counseling. It sometimes achieve a desirable end, however a lot of people in authority actually play the role of advisers as opposed to counselors. And it is not unusual for such a person to be upset or feel slighted when their advice are not taken.
The role of a counselor therefore, cannot be overemphasized. Individual in position of influence will all do well in taking basic counseling courses. This way, they will be better positioned to positively influence others to take the right steps.
My orientation about counseling and counselors in general has completely changed during. I am glad I chose to take this course and look forward to changing the world through my role as a counselor.
Over the years, I find that people come to me seeking for advice in marital issues. I attend a youth church, so I (now in my early forties) am one of the few older people in church. Most of these young people would flock to me with what I believe to be the usual teething problems of marriage and all they want is out. By God’s grace I do successfully prevail over them, but I also wanted to be sure I wasn’t misguiding anyone.
I also felt that I was put in that position for a reason, and I might as well make the most of it. I strongly believe that whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well. I wanted to be at my best even when counseling informally. I was sure I was missing out some things and I felt a great need to understand what I was missing out on. I wanted to be the best at what I do and I figured out that there is so much I do not know.
Ultimately, I am glad I enrolled for the course because as soon as I did, I realised how much counseling mistakes I have been making. I am better equipped to counsel younger people now now I was before I took the course.
UNDERSTANDING AND APPLICATIONS:
Without any doubt, each module was carefully put together with the intention to give even a person without any prior knowledge of counseling, a basic understanding about counseling.
The first module; Professional counseling practice introduces the student to the basic concept of counseling, its values, and ethical frameworks. In this module, I learnt about the Dragonfly’s guiding values of counseling. A counselor must have integrity, must be humble, compassionate, must be kind, and must exhibit love and social justice.
I also understand from this module that counselor typically draws on Kitchener’s fours of moral reasoning i.e. personal intuition, ethical guidelines established by professional organizations, ethical principles and general theories of moral actions. I was also confronted with ethical questions such as whose agent is the counselor. And how far a client should be pushed or directed.
Module two basically focuses on Counseling fields and specialization with particular attention to counseling approaches and theories. The Adlerian theory has since become my favorite theory to apply during counseling. I prefer the Adlerian theory because it focuses on the lifestyle and personal value of the client and helps the client understand their usual pattern of behavior and goals.
Modules four to eight discusses in great details different counseling approaches. The Psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive and person centred approaches. The origin of each approach, characteristics, shortcomings and advantages of each approach were explored. Learning the stories behind each of these approaches helped me gain insights into their thinking. The challenges they had and the situations that led to the propagation of each of the theories.
I realised through this study that the psychology and counseling as and academic pursuit, is scientific and therefore findings are never ending.
In module 9, I was introduced to the core skills of skilled helpers. Some of these skills are: empathy, compassion and support among others.
The very interesting Force Field Analysis was also introduced to me in module 9. The Force Field Analysis is a problem solving goal oriented approach to counseling. By helping the client set goals that are achievable within a reasonable time frame, helping client draw up hindering and facilitating forces, and helping clients take action plans, a counselor can guide a confused client to achieving their goals.
Module 10, which is also the final module, is all about The Process of Counseling. The most impactful sub topic in this module in my opinion, is Counseling Vocabulary. Vocabularies such as Empathy, unconditional acceptance, positive regards, genuineness, congruence, confidentiality and accountability are used in clinical and pastoral counseling.
In all, the introduction to a new way of thinking and counseling has added a lot more value to my person, and made me more professional in my dealings. I certainly look forward to learning more.
CONTINUOUS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:
I intend to further pursue my career as a professional counselor. I plan to take more courses in other to broaden my horizon. I plan to take up volunteer counseling opportunities. I will like be happy to see people live happy and fulfilling lives because I was part of their stories.
LIMITATIONS OF THE SYSTEM
In my opinion, the first major limitation I see in the system is the fact that people are not yet very open to talking to therapist and counselors. There are a lot of lay counselors giving misguided advises and misleading people.
Also I understand that people need to make money off their counseling skills after spending so much to undergo the trainings. It would be beneficial however for the institute to organise for volunteer counselors who do not mind working pro bono to attend to people who cannot afford to pay to see a counselor.
With the rate of suicide among out teens and young adults, I think the school system also need to be integrated into the counseling schemes,
For me, this has been a very important learning curve. I can boldly counsel in a professional manner without any fear of error. I am glad I took this course, and I cannot wait for the world to benefit from it.
KOLA – ADEWALE OLATUNBOSUN
COURSE OF STUDY: RELATIONSHIP, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY COUNSELING
Counseling field progress report CFPR is a compulsory prerequisite for graduation at The Institute of Counseling In Nigeria.