Among the many issues facing the school counseling profession are the following three:
1. Professional title
- Some professional in the field are prefer to be called guidance counselor, while an increasing number prefer the term school counselor.
- A major trend in education is the demand for accountability and evaluation.
3. Prevention versus remediation
- A growing trend in the field of counseling is the focus prevention instead of remediation. In the past it was not uncommon for counselor to have interaction with students only after some crisis had occurred. There is now a shift for school counselors to intercede prior to any incidents and to become more proactive in developing and enacting school wide prevention plans. The school, community and families are requesting assistance in preventing students from being involve in many difficulties, such as:
Ø Teen pregnancy
Ø Substance abused
Ø School violence
Ø Child abused
- Has been defined the fourth force in psychology, one which complements the psychodynamic, behavioral and humanistic explanations of human behavior.
- “A wide range of multiple groups without grading, comparing or ranking them as better as or worse than one another and without denying the very distinct and complementary or even the contradictory perspective that each group brings with it.
Four dimension of cultures, (Hofstede, 1984)
Ø Power distance
Ø Uncertainty avoidance
A number of generic counselor characteristics are necessary, but not sufficient, for those who engage in multi-cultural counseling. To be effective, a counselor must be able to:
1. Express respect for the client in a manner that is felt, understood, accepted, and appreciated by the client.
2. Feel and express empathy for culturally different clients.
3. Personalized his/her observations.
4. Withhold judgment and remain objective until one has enough information and understanding of the world of the client.
5. Tolerate ambiguity.
6. Have patience and perseverance when unable to get things done immediately.
Multi-cultural counseling requires the recognition of:
1. The importance racial/ethnic group membership on the socialization of the client;
2. The importance of and the uniqueness of the individual;
3. The presence of and place of values in the counseling process; and
4. The uniqueness of learning styles, vocational goals, and life purposes of the client, within the context of principles of democratic social justice.
Multi-cultural awareness continuum (Locke, 1986)
Ø Was design to illustrate the areas of awareness through which a counselor was go in the process of counseling a culturally different client.
Ø Is a linear and the process is development, best understood as a lifelong process
Levels of Continuum that the counselor must pass
Ø Awareness of ones own culture
Ø Awareness of racism, sexism, and poverty
Ø Awareness of individual differences
Ø Awareness of other culture
Ø Awareness of diversity
Ethnics and Regulations of Cyber-Counseling
Cyber counseling or Web counseling
Ø Has it is called by the national of the certified counselors (NBCC) is defined as the practice of professional counseling and information delivery that occurs when clients and counselors are in separate or remote locations and utilized electronic means to communicate over the internet.
What are the critical issues in Cyber-Counseling?
1. Truth in advertising-does the site delivery what is promises?
2. Confidentiality and privileged communication-are your transmissions safe?
3. Duty to warn-is the cybercounselor able to discern when a person is a threat to self or others, and what is the cybercounselor’s obligation?
4. Competence-is the cybercounselorcompetent and licensed? What protection exists for the counselee?
5. Dual relationships- a predator-type of cybercounselor could use the internet to take advantage of counselees, or to arrange subsequent meetings.
6. How does a counselee know that the assigned homework or specific directions are valid for the type of problem presented?
7. Some cybercounselors may do inadequate pre-screening of potential counselees.
8. There may be a lack of cybercounselor knowledge of the circumstances or culture of the client.
9. The anonymity of the counselee may be problematic for the cybercounselor.
10. Fee structures vary-how does a counselee determine a fair price?
11. Is the counselee actually receiving advice from the person who is on the web page? In the next counseling how does one verify this?
State Regulations and Cyber-Counseling
Similar to telemedicine, the issues of licensure and jurisdiction arise, except those counseling boards have not begun to address the problem. A client who obtains counseling services via the internet from a counselor license in the same state has recourse to that states regulatory board for any violations against either the state code or standards of practice. However, if a client has a complaint about the counselor license in another state, it is unclear in which state to register the complaint. As indicated earlier, state medical boards have addressed this issue, but not in a uniform manner.
Other Salient Issues
1. Many colleges and universities are now offering distance courses and degrees via internet.
2. When using the web for information purposes, how does one discern the validity of the information gathered, particularly that information which is health related.
3. As technology becomes more sophisticated and more accessible, will video conferencing become a standard, just as phone calls are now, not just in regular communications, but in cyber counseling as well?
4. Will the poor and undeserved be part of the technological advances, or will they be increasingly left behind?
5. Data on counselors who have been sanctioned should become easier to access via states ‘website, and therefore, the public protection factors should increase.
6. Telemedicine has not yet solve the issue of being license in one state and operating via internet in others; cybercounseling will find itself in the same vague positions.
7. NBCC, CACREE, the ethnics committee of ACA and the AASCB should work together to develop a draft of standards for acceptable cybercounseling standards and practices and address internet based distance education courses for counselor licensure.
Regulation is a complex issue. In telemedicine, some have advocated an international worldwide license. The hurdles are many, such as variety of educational standards and legal codes, not to mention determining who would administer this license. It would seem that a start might be a national counselor certificate in cyber counseling. With states accepting that certificate and thus allowing its already license counselors to participate in cyber counseling, with the counselor subject to the jurisdiction of the state of license.
Cyber counseling in one form or another is upon us (Lee, 1998). To dismiss it is unrealistic. We cannot ignore it, for to do so is to allow it to progress unregulated and open to charlatans, with the result of diminishing the profession of counseling. To change the quagmire into a quest will require risk-takers who are willing to be a forward thinker, embracing technology as having the possibility of positive effect on the profession, and bringing well being to a greater number of people.