SAGE Journal Articles
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Jennings, L., Goh, M., Skovholt, T. M., Hanson, M., & Banerjee-Stevens, D. (2003). Multiple factors in the development of the expert counselor and therapist. Journal of Career Development, 30(1), 59-72.
Expertise in counseling and therapy is both desirable and elusive. Increasing our knowledge about expertise in counseling and therapy enhances understanding of the role it plays in our profession. This understanding has the potential to improve the training of counselors and therapists. Yet expertise in counseling and therapy appears to be a multifaceted and dynamic concept needing further definition and description. In this article, we outline challenges faced trying to describe expertise in counseling and therapy and present research-based factors that contribute to developing expertise in counseling and therapy. Important factors include: experience, personal characteristics of the counselor and therapist, cultural competence, and comfort with ambiguity.
Questions to Consider:
- These authors point out that there is no “gold standard” or universally held definition of an experienced master counselor. Given that ambiguity, how will you know when you have ceased to be a counselor in training and are ready to assume the role of experienced counselor? How will you know when you are sufficiently experienced to assume a supervisory role? Are you measuring in years? Number of clients? Diversity of Experiences? Or…something less tangible?
- What personal characteristics do you associate with professionalism? Have you evaluated yourself on these characteristics and processed your evaluations with your supervisor?
- What does the term “rage to master” mean when discussing your journey into your professional role? Do you have this motivational quality? Do you need it?
This study explored the mechanisms at play as new family counselors are learning to apply a systems approach. A qualitative case study was used to investigate the experiences of nine family counseling interns over two semesters of internship through the lens of constructive developmental theory. The findings extend our understanding by providing students’ accounts of the ways by which disequilibrium preceded development when accommodation was stimulated, and the outcomes when assimilation occurred. It also generated data about positive emotional response to clients that is new and intriguing and which may impact developmental growth. Implications for counselor education that incorporate developmental considerations are presented.
Questions to Consider:
- These authors point out that adult learning involves the evolution of new and more complex forms of awareness for organizing experiences, which is an advancement in an individual’s level of cognitive development. Following this description, internship experiences are a necessary component of training. Does this rule also apply to your early years as a new professional? How will you challenge yourself to continue growing in cognitive complexity beyond your formal graduate training?
- Summarize the concept of cognitive developmental theories (CDT), and explain their applicability to your movement through your graduate training program, field placement sequence and first professional position.
- Explain the role of disequilibrium in your development as a professional counselor. Discuss the importance of disequilibrium with your supervisor.