Okay, well this is the first time I have put myself out there like this, but hey-- if you read this you care--so that's good. Anyway, I am going to give you the rough (telling you--rough) draft of part of one of my papers. I have to write this paper about my values and how I am going to intergrate them into my practice as a counselor. So enjoy, leave comments if you have suggestions or thoughts... have fun.
Value One: Independence and Autonomy
As this first semester of attending graduate school to become a school counselor has gone by I have thought quite a bit about the values I hold dear and how I can apply them to my faith as well as to my future career. One of the values I have wrestled with the most, as it may be the most important to me, is my value of autonomy. Autonomy to me means that each individual is free to choose how he or she lives his or her life. It is In the past I thought this value was contradictory to Christian faith in that Christians live the “right” way while others do not. I am finding that my openness to others’ experiences may not be such a hindrance to my faith, however, and in fact it is possibly one of the most important values I can hold to be a good counselor.
Because of my value of autonomy I have always had a hard time understanding the verse John 14:6 in the Bible where Jesus states, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me” (New International Version). It is hard for me to comprehend that a devoted Hindu in India could end up in hell while I go to heaven because I was blessed to have easy cultural access to the “true” way to Christ. As I have grown in my faith, however, I have learned that part of my value of autonomy comes from the understanding that I don’t have to fully comprehend how Christ can be the only way. I am thankful that I don’t have to because my God is bigger than my view of the world and understanding of it.
I place a high amount of value on people making their own informed decisions, and I don’t believe it is my place to judge other’s beliefs and behaviors as right or wrong. This does not mean I am a relativist, however. I believe that there is truth and that Jesus supplies that truth. Instead of trying to convince others to agree with my religion or see things the way I do, I like to point to the love and truth of Christ wherever I see it. In his book, Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell (2005) describes an outlook on faith in Christ that is very similar to mine:
I don’t follow Jesus because I think Christianity is the best religion. I follow Jesus because He leads me into ultimate reality. He teaches me to live in tune with how reality is. When Jesus said ‘No one comes to the Father except through me,’ he was saying that His way, His words, His life is our connection to how things truly are at the deepest levels of existence (p. 83).
As a counselor I will come across people with very different backgrounds and beliefs than my own. It will be my ethical duty to treat all people with dignity and not push my own culture or values onto them. The American Counseling Association ethics codes states, “Counselors are aware of their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, and avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals. Counselors respect diversity of clients, trainees, and research participants” (A.4.b., 2005). My value of autonomy relates closely with what I am to do as an ethical counselor in respecting differences.
Then I go into dilemmas I may come across as a counselor and how I will resolve them, a little boring so I cut it out.
BTW: I think Rob Bell is awesome.