Monday, May 27, 2013

Proper Therapy for All Populations

     A reoccurring theme in counselor education is the subject of abstaining from giving treatment based on a client's past behavior.  This includes religious affiliation, race, sexual orientation, or even crime.  I'm not sure that a counselor who discriminates due to these has any right to call himself or herself a counselor.  I think that it shows the counselor's hand fully to make a distinction thusly in clients and shows a counselor who must deal with his or her own issues before engaging clients of any kind.  As counselors, we are there to model correct behavior to not only clients who we directly serve, but also the general public.  If we show discrimination, does this not put a bad face on counseling as a whole?  We should be there for anyone, not just those who society (or even we as counselors) think is worthy of our time and efforts.
     I can see two immediate holes in this argument.  Counselors should not enter into contact with anyone who we do not know how to serve.  This is obvious as "do not harm" meets "best practices".  That being said, I think, to a point, that common factors can control for clients who are "outside the norm," whether that be religion or any other demographic.  Unless the client is entering counseling specifically for religious guidance (he or she should most likely not be in therapy, then), the client should be accepted and therapy should take place.  The other hole has to do with counselor safety.  If the counselor doesn't feel safe with a specific client for whatever reason, therapy itself would be a stunted mutation of itself, and would do neither body any good.
     This entire entry comes from the thought that counselors, to a degree, are, or must have the ability to be, blank slates, only giving an opinion or interjecting their own beliefs when it is deemed 100% appropriate and beneficial to the client.  While I do not specifically enjoy the image of a true Freudian psychoanalyst sitting as a true blank screen on which a client is supposed to transfer his or her own feelings or thoughts, I think that the feeling behind the idea gives it credence.
     I'm not sure how I feel about "compartmentalizing" either . . .  This practice seems hazardous at best and almost distracting and detracting from the counselor's attention on the client.  Having to bind off a section of the psyche in order to function seems oxymoronic to me and leads me to believe that the counselor just needs some counseling himself or herself.

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