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Counselors as Companions and Ethics in Human Services Essay

In this article the counselor states: “I found that when working with such clients, my role as counselor is more akin to a special type of travel companion who is willing to understand and respect the process of walking along a sacred life path. This is the only way I can effectively help a client explore the deeper dimensions of the self that are being challenged. As the hero’s companion I must be willing to share in the client’s pain as well as new, and oftentimes unexpected, discoveries.” (Halstead, 2000) The counselor learned that he needed to be a companion not a guide. He also learned that no matter how hard a situation is or no matter how many times someone tells you that you cannot do something, if you have the willpower and want to, you can overcome anything you encounter on life’s journey.

As the counselor, we must show the client that we are there for them and not tell them what they should be doing or how they should handle a certain situation. In the future, I feel the counselor will be more supportive of the decisions his clients make. As a counselor, we may sometimes feel that the client should do something one way and try to push them towards it but in the end the client really does know what is best for them. There are so many people like Steve in The Hero’s Journey, who are told they will never be able to do something and they work hard, overcome every obstacle thrown their way and prove everyone wrong.

I believe that everyone we come in contact with changes us in one way or the other. I believe everyone has a story that can help the next person. I have a best friend who called me one day and was telling me about this girl she knew who had lost everything, kids, house, car, job, everything someone can lose, she had lost it. My best friend starts telling me that this girl had turned to drugs, prostitution, living on the streets and had also mentioned suicide a few times. My best friend told me that she felt like if this girl was to hear my story then it would help her so I told her to bring this girl to my house. They get to my house and I immediately wanted to cry because when I looked at this girl, I seen what I looked like eleven years ago.

She was about 5’11 and maybe 100 pounds, her face was sunk in and you could tell she had not had a shower in a long time. I got her something to eat and drink and then told her my story. I told her about how I was raised Pentecostal by my grandmother who taught me right from wrong. I never wanted for anything growing up and had a family that loved me just like she did. When I turned 18 years old, I started doing drugs, prostitution, being beaten almost on a daily basis by a man who I thought loved me, being rapped on several occasions, almost killed three different times, dying from a drug/alcohol overdose but the doctors were able to bring me back, being sent to prison while I was pregnant for something I didn’t do, having my son in prison and losing custody of him and how I turned my life around when I got out of prison.

While I am telling my story to this sad and lost girl, she is crying the whole time and I know it is because she is just a younger version of me. I was told that I would never be anything but a failure at life and would never amount to anything but looking at my life now, you would never know that I had went through any of that unless I told you. Today, this girl has her kids back, a beautiful home, making about $50,000 a year, a husband who truly loves her and she says it is because my story gave her the strength she needed to turn her life around.

When we got done that night, she looked at me and said, “Thank you for sharing your story with me, it has given me the hope and strength that I have been looking for to turn my life around. I wanted to end my life and just be done with it all.” That night she promised me she was not going to stop fighting and she didn’t. So yes, I believe with all my heart that most people you come in contact with change you in some way.

Steve states in the article that, “I really grew up because of all this. Before the attack I was going nowhere. Now I have a direction.” (Halstead, 2000) His challenges gave him a greater sensitivity to others needs who were recovering from strokes and brain injuries. (Halstead, 2000) I believe that having a counselor who believed in him also helped Steve to not give up. Steve had been told by doctor after doctor that he would always be limited to things he would be able to do. Having just one person tell him that he could do anything he put his mind to, gave him the extra push he needed to overcome those limitations the doctors had given him. I feel that both Steven and the counselor benefited from this relationship.

When Steve’s psychiatrist called the counselor, I do not feel the psychiatrist had a right to discuss Steve with the counselor without his permission. I do feel the counselor did right by not going into details about his sessions with Steve and waited until Steve returned to school to speak with him about it. However, when the counselor seen that Steve was depressed and thinking about suicide when he received his fall semester grades, the counselor had a responsibility to Steve to seek help from someone else. In the Ethical Standards for Human Service Professionals it states that “if it is suspected that danger or harm may occur to the client or to others as a result of a client’s behavior, the human service professional acts in an appropriate and professional manner to protect the safety of those individuals.

This may involve seeking consultation, supervision, and/or breaking the confidentiality of the relationship.” (National Organization for Human Services, n.d) If I ever have a client that is thinking about suicide, I will talk to my supervisor and ask for his help in coming up with a plan to help my client, maybe ask my supervisor to sit in on a session with me and talk to the client as well.

Because of the personal nature of their work, human service workers at all levels are held to a code of ethics that protects the rights and dignity of clients and establishes standards of practice. (Sessoms, n.d) The National Organization of Human Service ethical standards places a responsibility on human service workers that have for their clients, the community, colleagues, employers, the profession and the human service worker themselves. The National Association of Social Workers approaches ethics through a core set of values, which include service, dignity and worth of the person, social justice, integrity and competence. (Sessoms, n.d)

Halstead, R. W. (2000). FROM TRAGEDY TO TRIUMPH: COUNSELOR AS COMPANION ON THE HERO’S JOURNEY. Retrieved from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.lib.kaplan.edu/eds/detail?vid=2&sid=5b062172-ddf2-4c9d-a107-d6387c05f54b%40sessionmgr198&hid=115&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#db=aph&AN=2768884 National Organization for Human Services. (n.d.). Ethical Standards for Human Service Professionals. Retrieved July 5, 2014, from http://www.nationalhumanservices.org/ethical-standards-for-hs-professionals Sessoms, G. (n.d.). Code of Ethics for Human Service Workers. Retrieved July 5, 2014, from http://http://work.chron.com/code-ethics-human-service-workers-8132.html

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