When I first read the explanation of the assignment, I immediately thought of what my parents had instilled into me at a very early age. They would always say that God put us here on this earth to do a job and that was to help others and love each other. That really never made a lot of sense to me until I started working in the non-profit world over twenty seven years ago. I realized then that my parents had taught me to believe that every human being on this earth deserves to be loved and to be happy in their lives. I believe every person should be treated with dignity and respect no matter what their situation is. I believe that your family should come first in all aspects of your life and that each of us make conscious decisions everyday that mold our lives into what they are. I also believe that there is good in everyone, sometimes they just don’t know it. The values I live by go along a lot with my beliefs in that by putting my family first and having that closeness with people I love and care about, makes me the person I am today. This started with my parents and my grandparents that are now deceased to my husband, children and grandchildren that make up my life now.
My values were planted at a very early age and have grown and matured as I have. My grandmother and mother were instrumental in teaching me and showing me that every person we meet has value and should not be dismissed. From a very early age I learned that helping others was expected of me and not just something that I could do if I wanted to do. I attended Sunday School and Church with my family on a regular basis and the Christian values and principles that I was taught parallel with what I was learning at home. These things have always been a part of my life and I hope I have instilled them into my children and can be that inspiration to my grandchildren that my grandmother was to me. I believe that every person you meet has love and goodness within them but events in their lives may have tarnished their outlooks.
As a counselor I hope that when those people come to me that I can help them find their way back to loving themselves again. My grandmother always said that your character speaks volumes about you. Also my mother’s special saying to all of us was, “The Golden Rule”. If everyone followed that one thing, Do unto others as you would have them do to you, this world would be a much better space. It sounds so simple but many find it very difficult to abide by. I find myself sometimes having a hard time following this but have found that when I do let myself I am usually blessed by the outcome. I see my character as a reflection of my beliefs and values that I have learned and nurtured from my family and church as I grew up. This along with following my mother’s advice and using the Golden Rule are the basis for most of my decisions and have become a valuable resource to me throughout my life. These beliefs along with the values that my family taught me that were important, integrity, honesty and respect for others, have brought me to where I am today.
They are the roots to my tree of life. I recall a book that my mother would read to me as a child, “The Engine That Could”. She would always tell me after reading it that I could do or be anything I wanted if I would just believe that I could. Just like that little engine, I find myself repeating the saying, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, whenever I let doubt come into my mind that something cannot be accomplished. I use this in all aspects of my life. I also read that story to my children and my children. I truly hope and pray that they will use that thinking in the decisions they make throughout their lives. It has worked for me! I tell them the same thing that was told to me, that anything is possible, you just have to work hard at it and believe that you can do it. My father also had a huge impact on what my values and beliefs are as an adult. My dad worked many hours at two jobs so that my mom could stay home with us kids, which meant he was not around a lot.
The time he did spend with us was very special. I remember a time in Jr. High when I was struggling with my weight and how people perceived me. He would tell me, “You are what you believe”. If I believed what people were saying about me then I would become that person and if I believed I could do something then I would accomplish it. You cannot just let life happen. You have to know what you want and believe that you can have it. Then you set goals and work hard to get there. By doing all these things I have mentioned you form your own unique and special personality that shines because of your values and beliefs. My philosophy of counseling is that when working with a client you need to think of them as a whole person and that to help them in any area you need to include what they need for mind, body and spirit. All three of these are important areas to explore because you never know where the problem stems from that they are coming to you for.
You must integrate life meaning into your counseling. You have to work within the beliefs of the client and respect where they are coming from. You treat each client as though they were your only one. As my mom would say, treat them like you would want to be treated. Be willing to listen and change whatever methods you are using to meet the needs of the client. There are many reasons that a client comes to you hurt and broken. It is up to me as a counselor to find out where that hurt is coming from and help the client figure out how to fix or change that area of their life. I think I would draw techniques from many models of therapy. I think that the most important thing is to develop a good relationship with the client. Then let the client choose how their own values will guide their behavior. I see myself as being flexible, versatile and having a genuine interest in helping the client. This is all based on how I was raised and truly believing that everyone has good within themselves and really want to be happy.
You just have to be willing to understand the world of the client and respect where they come from. The theory of counseling that comes closest to my way of thin king and my philosophy would be a combination of the Adlerian Theory and the Cognitive Behavior Therapy. The Cognitive Behavior Theory deals a lot with a person’s belief system and hands on types of therapy. This fits well with what my style of counseling would be because of my belief that what you learn early in life effects everything you do unless you choose to change it. I like this theory a lot because it is an active, structured therapy. Therapy is a learning process, acquiring new skills and maybe a new way of thinking. At the same time this therapy is also very present-centered. Everyone has a past but there is nothing you can do to change those things that happened throughout the year.
I believe that this therapy allows the client to gain insight and actively practice changing their lifestyles if needed. The Adlerian Theory leans towards the importance of life goals. It challenges the client to make goals and accomplish them in a variety of ways. One of the key values that I had growing up was that you decide what you want, set goals on getting there and then work hard to make it happen. Anyone can do this if they really believe they want to change. This therapy stresses that all humans are motivated by social interest and one must deal with what life deals you. The difference is in how each person deals with this. This therapy uses the techniques of gathering family history and looking at the life experiences of the client. I believe that you are shaped and made up of those experiences. They are important to who you are.
I also like that this therapy is one built on joint responsibility, mutual trust and respect between the therapist and the client. There is a true emphasis on equality and not one where the therapist is better than the client. This works very well with the collaboration idea of the Cognitive Behavior Therapy. I think that you need both the past and what is happening in the present to be able to look at what your problems are and figure out how to deal with them. I am sure that I would probably pull other techniques out of other types of therapy but I see myself staying true to the two above and using them in some type of combination. They seem to work best with my way of thinking and my personality. If I am comfortable with the style of counseling that I am using then my client will be the one to benefit in the long run.