My initial reaction to the media presented in both videos, (Laureate Education, 2012) was hopeful. I think sometimes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, as new counselors, to have all the answers and to know exactly who we are, as professionals and how we would approach any scenario that we are presented with. As such, it was empowering to hear Dr. Marszalek (2012) confirm that its ok to not know what our personal theoretical approach is, and to confirm that this will develop over time, as the result of our experiences, as opposed to us needing to know and understand what our approach is before we have any experiences.
I hope that my personal theoretical orientation finds some stability in the early years of my practice as I both hone in on the area I most want to work in, and as I develop a personal counseling style or approach, however, I also hope that I never stop growing as a professional. I think that it is key that a counselor stay abreast of the latest developments in the field, and constantly make small adjustments in their theoretical orientation to reflect the changes in best practice over time. There are major changes expected in the field in the years to come, and as such, it is essential to client care that my own theoretical approach adapt to align with, or adapt to these changes (Shallcross, 2012).
It really resonated with me that our client’s impact us just as we impact our clients. Dr. Buckley describes a client that began to internally dialogue with himself, through the voice of Dr. Buckley, in order to make better decisions and have better relationships. It was clear that the client’s experience impacted Dr. Buckley, and shaped his theoretical orientation as it relates to how he sees his relationships with the client, and how the client uses that relationship in order to meet their therapy goals. I think that letting individual cases profoundly impact our practice is, in many ways, essential to discovering what our theoretical concept is, and yet, I think we also must guard against allowing a single case to weigh to heavily on our view of who and what we are as counselors. This is perhaps especially true of negative experiences, which can make us doubt our relationships, or ability to connect to clients.
I believe that I personally am at a very early stage of my theoretical development. While I have begun to understand that I have a tendency to relate personally to clients, and rely on empathy and that my value system creates a challenge when working with those who cross certain moral boundaries that I feel strongly about, I know there is a lot about my personal counseling theory and the way I connect with clients that I do not know yet, or have yet to discover. This is because I have worked with clients in a very limited way. To this point, most of my professional experience is theoretical, and tied to study, rather than being hands on. As such, I need to expand my experiences, or have more contact with clients in order to begin really developing my personal approach.
Further, I know that it will take years of experience to truly solidify who I am and what I want to accomplish professionally, and to develop a system by which I orient my counseling approach. As such, I would say that I am only about 10 to 20 % sure of my theoretical orientation, but I am ready, and open to developing my counseling concept as I gain professional experiences.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Course Wrap-Up [Video]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Theoretical Orientations [Video]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Shallcross, L. (2012). What the future holds for the counseling profession. Counseling Today. Available at http://ct.counseling.org/2012/03/what-the-future-holds-for-the-counseling-profession/