Personal Vs. professional conduct
Before were are mental health professionals, we are humans. Evidence has shown that people have the tendency to form and nurture core beliefs and systems based on their experiences and the environment around them as they grow over time. Counselor are human. Therefore, they come from various backgrounds that inform their values and political stances (Pereira and Rekha, 2017). These forces can influence how a counsellor looks at the patient’s situation. However, as a counselor, it is important that before facing a client, they leave their personal opinions and beliefs of how things should be done and what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Although it is very important, it is easier said than done. Although many counselors say that they are open to accepting anything, it is not necessarily the case and this can compromise the quality of medical attention that they give their clients.
To maintain healthy professional and personal conduct, a consultant should not let either creep too much on the other. Typically, an unhealthy working schedule does not start just like that. It starts slowly and gradually, they will have unhealthy techniques of coping and dealing with the issues they are facing. A counselor should also make effort to understand the backgrounds of the people they are dealing with and their schedules. This will go a long way to inform their actions and hoes they perceives the actions of other people.
Education and professional setbacks
Although research has shown that many people across the globe continue to suffer from mental issues, the mental health industry is still in the process of getting global acceptance and appreciation. In many nations, students find it easier to source out study programs for disciplines such as mathematics, biology and technology. However, when it comes to psychology students and mental health practitioners, it is a challenge to access educational material and secure employment. Although developed countries have developed an equilibrium for mental health practitioners to study and progress academically. On the hand, majority of the population in developing countries are yet to accept that psychological health is key for the health of its people. This has led to a shortage in the number of opportunities. Therefore, people who have studied psychology in such nations may end up not getting employment in spite of how much effort they put into their studies.
Lack of opportunities in developing countries has led to pressure in seeking international exposure. Many students and mental health professional actively look for opportunities abroad and as soon as they get them, they move out of their native homes. Many students who have monetary concerns end up changing their choice of career when they are unsure of the path their lives will take. This can be solved by education members of the community on the importance of psychological / mental health. Once the community member understand and appreciate the crucial role played by counselors, they will appreciate the profession more. Gradually, this will make the profession to be more accepted. It will also encourage members of the community to seek help when they face psychological problems.
Knowing my boundaries
As a counsellor, sometimes I face circumstances that may prompt me to overstep my boundaries and give my clients straightforward answers out of the virtue of humanity. From experience, may feel that some of the problems I am dealing with are straightforward and instead of leaving the client to make the final decision –which may end up being wrong-, I consider giving them concrete answers. However, in some situations, this may not be my part to play in the mental well-being of my patient. My job as a counselor is to facilitate an effective thought process and provide an environment for the people to make their own decisions rather than providing them with first hand solutions. This is because most of these options are very subjective in nature; they may work perfectly well for one person but for another, they may not be viable. To overcome this challenge, I constantly review the code of conduct to remind myself of my role in the recovery process of the clients.
The struggle with diplomacy
Research has shown that many counselors have been blamed for being diplomatic at various points in their careers. Pundits have said that counselors are safe players owing to the fact that they are never required to take a particular side in their practice. In my practice, many clients have posed statements such a ‘you don’t have to be so diplomatic’ or ‘please give me a concrete answer to this question’. It Is unethical for a counselor to involve their opinions and personal biases that may result from their backgrounds when dealing with a client. Seeking validation from one may make them appear to be cold and lacking particular interest in the issue at hand. Clients may not understand that that is just the counselor offering complete acceptance to a person despite their fundamental differences.
Other responsibilities apart from being a counsellor
Apart from being a counselor, I have other responsibilities and issues that I need to take care of. In many cases, I have been assigned tasks that are outside my job description such as providing emotional support for the clients I am dealing with. Although it is good to support and offer assistance to my clients at their times of need, sometimes this assistance is all I end up doing which should not be the case. According to Low (2009), such responsibility should fall in the hands of people within the client’s social group. To overcome this challenge, I encourage my employers to give me tasks that are aligned to my job description. I also refer the clients to close friends and family members for emotional support.
Pereira M., Rekha S. (2017). Problems, Difficulties and Challenges faced by Counsellors, International Journal of Indian Psychology
Low P.K. (2009). Considering the Challenges of Counselling Practice in Schools, International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling