Lori Russell-Chapin: Treat all clients with respect
I have been teaching graduate counseling courses and practicing counseling for over 30 years. The biggest lesson I have learned, and continue to learn, is that clients come into my office in a vulnerable and tender emotional and physiological state. I am constantly reminded what an honor and humbling experience it is to have someone share their insecurities and fears with me.
My biggest lesson is to remember to treat each client with the respect and dignity that is needed for growth and change to occur. By building rapport and therapeutic alliance with the client, the foundation for trust and safety is created. This stability offers the necessary framework for a client to develop a strong and healthy ego to attempt to add and practice these needed new skills of emotional and physiological self-regulation. Self-regulation offers personal accountability and can then generalize to the world of self and others.
Nancy E. Sherman: Advocate for the counseling profession
The biggest lesson I have learned during 28 years as a professional counselor is that we need to work together to advance our profession. Through our professional organizations, we have many opportunities — both individually and collectively — to promote excellence in counseling. People need to know all the wonderful ways counselors can be of help to them, and without advocating for the counseling profession, this can’t happen.
Organizations such as the American Counseling Association and Chi Sigma Iota, Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society, International and the National Board for Certified Counselors provide the opportunities for counselors to work together in advancing the counseling profession throughout the world. I have learned the importance of giving back to our profession, so it can grow and counselors can help people around the world in the ways they need the most.
Chris Rybak: Notice the connections
The top lesson for me is a concept emphasized by my Native American friends: the insight that we are all related. This web of relationships extends beyond family, friends, coworkers and acquaintances to include all our human brethren on the planet, irrespective of worldviews. We are also connected to all that exists in nature. Without these connections, we cannot exist. Appreciation of these multifaceted connections enriches our everyday life experience and provides us with a deeper sense of the meaning of our place in the cosmos.
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