Self Awareness

Counselors deal with wide diversity of cultures, religion, language, lifestyle, and values of people. In order to counsel effectively, a therapist must recognize his own value systems to have respect for human individuality and freedoms of choice. When a counselor assesses his own strengths and weakness, he can begin to positively assist the client in developing alternatives for problem solving.Who we are is a direct result of our strengths and weaknesses, our drives and personalities, our habits and values. Many of us are not inclined to spend time on self reflection. Even when personal feedback is presented to us, we are not always open to it because honest feedback is not always flattering. Self awareness can improve our judgment and help us identify opportunities for professional development and personal growth… “Counselors with well developed emotional self awareness are more effective intuitive decision makers. Intuitive qualities create a “gut feeling” or a “sense” of what is best. This can help guide in the counseling sessions for a more effective approach.” (The role of Stress and Negative Emotions in Occupational Crisis, 2002). How competent am I as a counselor? What are my strengths and weaknesses?

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The American Counseling Association (ACA) emphasizes the value of counselor self awareness in order to accurately appraise one’ skills and boundaries of competence (ACA, 1995). Self assessing one’s performance is important to answer these questions and determine the scope of practice. Counselors are also human beings with needs, values, feelings and biases. Unless I know myself, I will not understand my clients. Unless my own bias’s, prejudices, personal interests and emotional vulnerability, are understood, I will not be able to understand why my clients behave or react as they do. To effectively assist clients, I need to know myself well and continually work for self assessment and personal development. (Prince, 2010) Self Awareness enables the counselor to be honest to self and to the clients. It also helps to avoid unethical behaviors. As a counselor I should be assessing 1) Competence: This would involve expanding my knowledge and skill through learning, practice and research. 2) Power: -to avoid using my position and skills to dominate. 3) Intimacy: I need to be balanced and welcome the relationship

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