When I finished my Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology in 2006, I felt like I knew more about how to provide counselling, and at the same time I had realized I knew much less about what counselling might be about. I found a role as a career advisor, which included both employment advising and career counselling to a population of mature college students who were predominantly older than me. The wonderful manager who hired me displayed exceptional confidence in me, given that I had not worked in a career centre except for a few weeks as part of a practicum experience. To my knowledge I did not let her or the students down, but I found myself in a daily struggle to find what I needed to know about providing ethical, responsible service to the students.
I couldn’t find a lot of what when it came to best practices for providing career counselling with a particular client group, recent immigrant professionals, and after a couple of years I realized that I was going to have go and find out what I could do to better support this group, so I did something I had thought I would never do: I applied to doctoral programs in counselling psychology, because I needed (my own selfish need, probably) to find out what to do and also how to help this client group more effectively.
As a doctoral student in counselling psychology, I am daily tasked not only with the responsibility for self-reflection and assessment of my practice, but I will also be evaluated on the understanding I develop through the process of self-reflection and self-assessment, as well as on the practice. You may have had this experience yourself, as counselling or psychotherapy is “…an undefined technique applied to unspecified problems with unpredictable outcome. For this we recommend rigorous training” (Raimy, 1950, p. 150). I often suspect that our clients are more forgiving of us as counsellors-in-training than we are of ourselves. But I digress.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA