The professional counselor continuously evaluates the influence of his or her own spiritual and/or religious beliefs and values on the client and the counseling process.
This week we cover the fourth competency and consider how our own values affect the client whom we serve. Like the third competency, the fourth also requires self-reflection and evaluation of personal spiritual, religious, and ethical beliefs and values.
“…continuously evaluates the influence of his or her own…values…“ASERVIC Competency Four
Specifically, competency four emphasizes the nature of counselor self-reflection. While one must initially take the step to understand his or her own spiritual and religious values, this understanding and reflection is continual.
The progression and journey of evaluating our spiritual, religious, and ethical beliefs highlights the changing nature of individuals, and the societies and cultures that we live in. Just as the world around us changes, we must accommodate and assimilate our beliefs and values to have a more thorough and robust worldview.
We must continually consider how our worldviews affect others, specifically our clients.
Working with Clients
Competency four specifically considers the effects of the counselor’s beliefs on the progress of the client in the counseling setting. Unlike competency three, competency four explores the influence of the counselor on the other.
When working with clients, we must be aware of how we are affecting the counseling process, including but not limited to what we choose to say and not to say, our body language, and what we use in our counseling space. Each of these items can be affected by our beliefs and values.
Maybe you have your degree displayed in your office – does your choice in university convey certain ideals? Maybe you revert to a closed posture when the client communicates ideals you disagree with – what does this shift indicate to the client? Maybe you choose not to address the client’s spirituality – have you neglected to consider its importance in the client’s life?
What Steps Have You Taken?
Take time to evaluate the influence that your personal spiritual, religious, and ethical beliefs have on your counseling style, theory, and tangible practice. Consider which clients might be affected negatively or positively from your interactions and how your own sense of spirituality might change the counseling climate.
What opportunities have you pursued to meet ASERVIC Competency Four?
- Can you identify how your current beliefs affect your clients?
- What have you recently done to explore your own spirituality and/or religion?
More from VA-ASERVIC:
Want to read from the beginning? Check out ASERVIC Competencies Series: Competency One!
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.
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.
This week, we focus on ASERVIC Competency 11: diagnostic planning. Throughout the past ten competencies, we’ve discussed how a client’s spirituality, religion, and ethical values can affect the counseling process, specifically in all areas, from intake to termination. One of the more controversial parts of the counseling process – diagnosis – is no different.