Overcome Barriers, Essay Example
Helping Counselor Trainees Overcome Barriers to Seeking Help
It is an obligation of counselors to maintain their mental, physical, and spiritual wellness. As professionals when help is needed it is their obligation to seek that help. The same holds true for trainees. How can one profess to be able to counsel someone in need, if they do not seek help when needed. To do so would be hypocrisy. The ACA Code of Ethics (American Counseling Association (ACA) (2005)states that trainees must be alert to signs of impairment and seek professional help if warranted.
Despite the encouragement trainees get regarding seeking counseling, when needed, very little is actually known about whether they get the counseling or not, and if they do how this counseling helps in their professional lives. At a time when for many, money and time are scarce trainees are faced with some of the most stressful situations of their lives. Some may feel it a sign of weakness if they seek help. Some other factors that enhance the need for counseling during graduate studies can be academic, emotional, and relational.
The demands that are put on trainees can put a toll on their emotional and physical well being. While all agree for the need for trainees to have counseling available to them, there are many barriers to obtaining that counseling. The two most prevalent reasons per this article appear to be lack of time and costs associated with counseling. There are other barriers such as stigma associated with getting counseling, trust issues, and fear of disclosing personal information may also impede a trainee from seeking help.
Studies have suggested several options to overcome the barriers for trainees needing professional counseling. To alleviate the barriers associated with financial limitations or insurance limits it was suggested “faculty members contact area mental health agencies and private practitioners to find out whether pro bono or sliding scale fees exist” . On-site trainees have access to the universities counseling center. When time restraints is the barrier an off-site trainee is less likely to travel to campus to seek counseling. A solution suggested for this dilemma was to have an off-site or satellite counseling center with a professional counselor available. To install trust and diminish the stigma associated with seeking professional counseling faculty should pay close attention to how the messages they share with the trainees about actual clients or case studies is delivered. They should refrain from using sarcasm or jokes when talking to trainees about these cases. It is also important for educators to self-disclose something about their personal history regarding therapy.
I agree with what McCarthy stated in this article pertaining to the need of trainees to have counseling available. By taking advantage of counseling during this stressful period of my education can only be beneficial in alleviating some of the stress factors that I am experiencing today and make me a better counselor in my professional career. I would hesitate to seek any counseling at the university counseling center due to fear of a fellow classman seeing or discovering my need. I would not want it to be seen as a weakness, therefore I would prefer to take advantage of an off-site facility if/when services were needed.
My professional reaction to trainees seeking professional counseling mirrors the ACA ‘s statement that “states that trainees must be alert to signs of impairment and seek professional help if warranted.”. Professionally I feel trainees should take that one step further and also be watchful of fellow trainees and when circumstance warrant, encourage them to seek help. Sometimes due to denial or other factors one may not see the need in oneself, but a fellow classmate can see more clearly the need. Fleckenstein (2003) was quoted as saying “We wear a hard shell of self -preservation that does not allow us to recognize the dangers of our insecurities”.(p.34) It is our duty and obligation as professionals to help each other when and as needed.
McCarthy, John (2008) Helping Counselor Trainees Overcome Barriers to Seeking Help.The Journal of Humanistic Counseling; Spring
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