In need of a 250 word response/discussion to each of the following forum posts. Agreement/disagreement/and/or continuing the discussion.
Original forum discussion/topic post is as follows:
Identify one of your core values (e.g. spiritual/religious, end of life, cultural, sexual)
and show how this value could either encourage or interfere with the effectiveness of counseling.
Demonstrate how you might handle a situation in which your values differ from those of the client.
forum post response #1
Core values are the fundamental beliefs that are upheld by a person or organization. These values can vary between each person and have the potential to cause conflicting opinions within the counselor/client relationship. One of my personal core values that I feel could interfere with the effectiveness of counseling is sexual orientation. I am completely acceptable of homosexual individuals, but one area of sexual orientation that I do not agree with is gender identity. In my own personal opinion, you are born as a male or a female. Whatever anatomy in which you are born with is how you legally identify, and it should not be considered differently.
In relation to sexual orientation, I identify myself as a straight female. Therefore, if I was required to counsel an individual who identified themselves as homosexual, I may possibly find it rather difficult to fully relate to them. Although I am not against homosexuality, the fact still remains that many people are, and this can cause my client to feel as though they are not accepted by society. Because of this, I feel as though I could not relate to them in that aspect.
In relation to gender identity, if I was required to counsel a male who identified himself as a female, we would obviously not see eye-to-eye on this topic. This could be rather challenging because I would have to put my own values and attitudes about the issue aside. It could potentially be difficult for my client as well because they may not feel comfortable disclosing their identity to me.
Furthermore, as a heterosexual counselor treating a homosexual/transgender client, the risk of breaking the ethics code associated with discrimination is rather high. The ethics code from the American Counseling Association (2014) in which the topic of discrimination falls under states that behaving unfairly to a specific group of people is considered to be unethical and unacceptable (Corey, Corey, Corey, & Callanan, 2014). If at any point the client felt as though I was judging them based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, it could negatively impact the counseling sessions and possibly my career.
Counseling those who have a different viewpoint or understanding on sexual orientation and gender identity can be rather challenging. Often times, counselors tend to have negative personal reactions, lack of empathy, and decreased understanding with clients who identify as homosexual or transgender (Corey, Corey, Corey, & Callanan, 2014). One of the most effective ways to prevent discrimination and/or voiding the ethics code that is associated with it is to change personal attitudes and assumptions about the sexual orientation and identification of others. This task can be rather difficult for the counselor but is crucial. If a counselor projects any judgmental attitudes towards the client about their sexual orientation/identification, it can cause a lot of personal harm. The American Psychological Associations Division 44 (APA, 2000) developed a set of guidelines for therapists who work with LGBT clients that prohibits unfair discrimination toward individuals based on their sexual orientation (Corey, Corey, Corey & Callanan, 2014). Based on these guidelines, a counselor is required to acknowledge how society can negatively affect clients and also address four areas of understanding. These areas include 1) the attitudes towards LGBT and the issues associated with it, 2) concerns within relationships and with family members, 3) the diversity within the LGBT community, and 4) the training and education that is required to work with clients who identify as LGBT (Corey, Corey, Corey & Callanan, 2014). Following these guidelines can help when faced with a situation in which a counselor’s values differ from a client.
Overall, putting your own values aside when counseling those whose values differ from yours can be a challenging task to complete. Taking the time to practice positive language about such topics is critical to the outcome of each counseling session. For instance, a counselor should make every effort to ensure that what they say to their client does not come across as prejudice or judgmental. Also, showing empathy and understanding towards the client can help them to feel more comfortable disclosing personal information pertaining to sexual orientation.
Forum post response #2
I hope everyone is having a great week. This week we were asked to reflect on our own core values. We all have values and beliefs, which shape our thought process, decision-making, and how we interact with others. This topic is very serious and important for counselors, but believe it or not, the topic pertains to other careers as well. In my current job, I need to ensure that my own biases based on my values and beliefs do not taint my analysis. I could potentially provide wrong information, which could have a negative impact for military actions. I say this not to detract from the question, but to iterate how I make every attempt to be cognizant of my own views and minimize how it influences my work. Moreover, I make sure to not let it affect my relationship with my co-workers. I have people from all different backgrounds—socioeconomic, political, cultural, religious, etc. I attribute my ability to look beyond people’s differences to my life experiences. I was an Air Force brat and had the opportunity to live overseas most of my life. From an early age, I comprehended the importance of understanding and respecting other cultures. I appreciate what makes us all unique and I love continually learning about new perspectives.
As I mentioned, I view myself as an accepting person, but there is one area that I struggle and that is gender roles. This value is embedded in many cultures for positive or negative. Personally, I feel the days where women should be submissive to men are over, but if we look across cultures that is not the case. I’m more understanding of people from pre-1980s generations because I know it can be difficult to change a belief, which is so ingrained. So taking my strong value and applying it to a counseling scenario, the question is how would I refrain from allowing my value of gender roles to interfere with the counseling session? I know this would be challenging for me, especially if the reason the client was seeking help was related to gender expectations. I would script my questions ahead of time in order to make sure the questions are not contaminated by my values and are focused on the client’s problem. Our course book provides beneficial recommendations as well, which include engaging the client about his or her values and see if he or she is living in such manor, and learn the meaning of his or her values. The focus of the counseling session is on my client and there are certain counseling theories I could employ, which are optimal for maintaining the focus on the client.
Forum post response #3
This week’s forums engage us within our own core values such as spiritual/religious, end of life, cultural or sexual. Values can be viewed as the beliefs an individual holds, they can transcend situations, guide our selection of actions, as well as guide how we interact and engage with other individuals. Like our lesson mentions this week, it is imperative that we take into account our own personal beliefs and values, and manage them, this is because our own personal beliefs and values can have a severe impact within the counseling process.
Spiritually/Religiously this is one core value I identify with most. These two topics can be very complicated from a therapeutic standpoint and view. According to our readings, Spirituality encompasses moral, ethical, and existential problems which may not be viewed within a religious context. Discussing this from the standpoint and view, I have always been a firm believer in not forcing my own spirituality or religious values upon anyone, not even my own kin. Everyone is their own individual, there should be no need to force what I view as appropriate spiritual and religious core values on to any other individual. This core value can be very encouraging because often times it may be these exact core values that can cause the problems for an individual. As these core values are encouraging, they can also be the strength and support of an individual. From an interference standpoint and point of view, ethically my own spirituality and religious core values cannot be the same as the individual’s, therefore causing a barrier between them and I, causing difficulty within the effectiveness of our counseling sessions. Also, if as a counselor, I am not able to place my own spiritualty and religious core values aside from the individual’s, then I am not able to fully provide the services the individual needs.
If presented with a situation where an individual’s core values differ from my own, my goal to handle this would be to place my own values aside. I would want to provide a sacred space for the individual, so they know and understand that I am remaining unbiased, non-judgmental, and that I am acting in their best interest. I would start with a full disclosure with the individual, this would provide a healthy therapeutic relationship. This would hopefully lead to value exploration with the individual. Value exploration provides the chance to engage and interact with the individual, allowing I as a counselor to identify or clarify any values that may differ, and how these values may help assist in working with the individual.