The professional counselor actively explores his or her own attitudes, beliefs, and values about spirituality and/or religion.

For more information on the ASERVIC Spiritual Competencies, visit the ASERVIC Website.

Visit these websites for more information on the American Counseling Association or the Virginia Counselor’s Association.

Competency Three

This week’s competency focus is turned inward. Rather than considering the client, this week, we are considering the counseling professional. Competency three covers the self-awareness piece required to be a competent counselor.

Hey, this wouldn’t be a resource in the counseling field if we didn’t talk about self-awareness!

“…actively explores his or her own attitudes, beliefs, and values…

ASERVIC Competency Three

As counseling professionals, we recognize the importance and value of self-awareness, and its importance extends to spiritual competency in counseling.

On paper, self-awareness is rather straightforward. The counseling professional takes time to examine his or her core beliefs and the resulting actions, speech, and habits that these beliefs cause in the life of the counseling professional.

However, in real life, adequate self-awareness often gets difficult quickly. Coming to terms with beliefs that we have, that we might not even recognize can be surprising, and the process of consistently seeking awareness can be draining.

Use this post as a reminder to pursue your own spiritual self-awareness as a counselor at your own pace. If you feel overwhelmed or bogged down, remember to take a break and focus on self-care. Resume the journey when you’re ready, knowing that your own spiritual awareness can promote the client’s individual spiritual awareness.

Working with Clients

When working with clients, it can be argued that honoring counselor self-awareness in competency three is more important than honoring the previous competencies one and two.

Without knowing your own beliefs about spirituality and religion, how might you consider the beliefs and values of another, without asserting your own bias into the counseling session?

The process of awareness of the counselor’s own spiritual and religious beliefs is a premediated choice to honor the client and his or her own spiritual and religious attitudes, beliefs, and values.

What Steps Have You Taken?

If you’ve never considered your own spiritual or religious attitudes, beliefs, and values, consider using this Core Beliefs worksheet from Therapist Aid as a guide to begin the process.

If you are somewhat aware of your spiritual and religious beliefs as a counseling professional, maybe consider them in light of current local, national, or international events, or recent changes in the counseling field.

What opportunities have you pursued to meet ASERVIC Competency Three?

  • Can you identify and explain your own sense of spirituality?
  • What have you recently done to explore your own spirituality and/or religion?

If not, check out some of these resources from the American Counseling Association or get involved with ASERVIC or VA-ASERVIC via membership and events.

More from VA-ASERVIC:

Want to read from the beginning? Check out ASERVIC Competencies Series: Competency One!

ASERVIC Competencies Series: Competency 13

This week, we discuss competency 13, which addresses the specific techniques used within the counseling session. Previously, we have discussed the counselor’s limitations, attitude of acceptance, clinician’s choice of language, recognizing spiritual themes, intake, and diagnosis, but today we get to the meat of the spirituality subject – counseling techniques.

ASERVIC Competencies Series: Competency 12

As we discussed in previous weeks, the client’s spiritual and religious beliefs can directly impact the pieces of the counseling process, such as the intake session, counseling rapport, and diagnosis. ASERVIC Competency 12 addresses how the client’s spiritual and religious beliefs should also affect the goals that the client wants to address.


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