This article is written by
Giselle Cara


Psychotherapist, Counsellor and Coach

Email:   Skype: gicara


Giselle's page is HERE on Counselling In France


Copyright 2003-2017 COUNSELLING IN FRANCE. All rights reserved.  























Counsellorís efficiency and Ethical issues
In order to perceive the role of awareness in counsellorís self- development some ethical issues are evident in the ability to cause harm or good to an individual, so justification to ethical enterprise is formed in order for therapeutic practices which are based on this set of ethical values, which is still unclear ( Proctor 2002).

Without counsellorís awareness of the self, how unethical and unprofessional it can be? Many times researchers have tried to replicate and try to get as close as possible to oneís truth to which it is important in relation to ethics towards each individual, thus unreachable since it is unique and many times important to remain unique for its own worth.

During some counselling, coaching sessions and trainings, it was presented ideas of self- development through focusing separate areas in life, which demonstrates to be similar to The Buddhism Mahayana and in the well of life which there are areas important in peoples life and important to be balanced and taken care of :

1. Spirituality- related to each and based on personal practice based on individuals self believe and values.
2. Family Ė connected to how much time together with the family the individual is, how the family system union are organized and formed in relation to bring balance and harmony between them.
3. Financially- the focus itís giving here in order to balance out the outside necessities in life to their inner self development and keeping healthy to a balanced level.
4. Community work- relates to any community involvement sharing any type of ability or need from the community chosen by the individual.
5. Professionally Ė showing how satisfied they individuals are with their work. How they can improve their perspective in relation to live well in accordance to their professional field. Sometimes even a carrier change has demonstrated to bring positive results to their lives.
6. Physical and mental health - Here what people do in relation to gain or maintain their health? Participate in activities which lead them to health style of life, readings or any activity which based on individual self belief to help bring them in to a healthy life style.

The idea from these areas is that they should be balanced equally and that when one area is in need of attention the others area will also automaticaly be unbalance, the idea relates that some moments in life we end up focusing more in one area than the others causing unbalanced life consign mental and physical problems.

Also the order given from each area in life in this article can be relative, in order to the fact that each individual have their own level and values hierarch of importance, it means that influences in life such as, if someone has kids, age, marital status, past life experiences, self abilities and many others variables together.

Pere (1997) demonstrated similar perspective relating to self development model connecting to different areas in individualís life. Through a Maori nativos ou neozelandezes, point of view on holistic well-being approaches in to sustainable development. The discussion considers recent efforts to articulate a culturally relevant, holistic development. It indicates some of the problems and dilemmas they have confronted, for instance how a holistic perspective can guide development planning and decision-making, and conclude with some implications for international efforts operationalize sustainable development.

Nonetheless, studies show that self-knowledge books can be very helpful in individual improvement towards their needs, for instance Craig (1991) related in a study carried out with 64 participants who had experienced a divorce or breakup.

According to his findings self- knowledge books were equally positive to participants compared to counseling sessions. Therefore the books had different styles and formats which biased the information on the results itself. For example Patterson (1989) observed that self-awareness in individuals is a very difficult concept to be described, since was different among cultures, systems and among individuals.

However, when counsellorís demonstrate similar values and believes to their clients show to have better results in clients life. This idea was showed by Probst (1980), in his studies with religious and non religious counselors that similar level of self awareness towards a specific topic, in this case towards their religion, between client and counsellors or demonstrated a correlation to clientsí improvement. It seems that when exist respect and acceptance toward others, automatically it demonstrates to be ethical and improvements towards clients.

Although they are different things, it seems that respect and acceptance of individuals as they are, also is correlated to the existence of the empathy, feeling between individual. Can people be neutral towards someone, when there is existence of feelings? When a counsellor shows self development, does exist feelings or acceptance of it all?

Lambert and Cattani-Thompson (1996) have found that self-development in clients can be likely to be long-lasting. However there are no grounds to consider that counseling will safeguard a person permanently from difficulties in life. For instance, in a meta-analytic study, concerned with whether follow-up evaluations provided different evidence and conclusions than post-treatment evaluations, Nicholson and Berman (1983) found that treatment gains were maintained.

The most impressive review of this topic, is consistent with the conclusion that counseling has relatively lasting effects, with exceptions including substance abuse, eating disorders, recurrent depression and, of course, personality disorders. Also, maintenance of treatment effects can be enhanced by efforts directed at this goal (Stewart & Ware, 1992). However, I understand that working with my clients as openly as I can, transparent from my own set of values and beliefs allowing the other to be who and where they are at the moment of being, and also allowing that the change is done through a passive and unnoticed way in which the client is receiving what they came and asked for based on themselves and not on me.

Therefore I believe that following and coaching clients through their decision and next steps can be important and part of the counseling session itself, since when changes happens through short period of time in counselling it can be confusing and unstable to give the next step for future decisions which can be both pleasurable or not related to each client perspective and point of view.

Consequently research shows that there are some foregone conclusion how effective and long lasting during counselling sessions. The therapy role model cannot be a safe guard for someoneís whole life. However support from someone from a different perspective and trained to cope with difficulties can improve their life quality and also alleviate in the process of their mental life disorder and improvement in clients tend to be lasting.

Looking by this perspective now, individuals are coming to a conclusion that the answer is possibly inside us, when in the past it was reach more outside in the eye of other professionals and individuals who believed to have the answers we are still searching for in an individualistic way.

Therefore the client and counsellors relationship demonstrates in relation to the outcome, to be correlated to many variables that come together with the treatment itself, which includes cultural differences. I see that individualís personal point of view vary enormously, and the nature of the relations between people demonstrates to be connected to the idea of each individualís abilities to find the balance in themselves, based on each personal and individual experience, therefore through self- awareness which is inside each one of us.

This final perspective explains the increase of literature on auto ethnographic studies, a precise form of autobiographical personal narrative exploring individual experiences of life, increasing awareness in counsellorís self-development, as shown in qualitative studies (Denzin and Lincoln, 2000).

For instance it is like cooking, even though we can follow a recipe, it will never be 100 % like the recipe itself, since there are influences which correlates. When it is decided to create a new dish, it is a task which acquire personal abilities, and personal taste, a task which demonstrates to be specific and unique to each individual flavor and abilities to the field. That means that each approach to the therapy and technique used can demonstrate different results for each client, also the problem or issue presented by the client is a important variable for the final goal in counselling sessions.

The experience and study of the topic presented by the client is very important, however, skills are developed by their own personal and uniqueness ability, what will bring the final resulting product. In this case the results with clients in the counselling setting. In addition to evidence that is accumulating on demonstrating not empirical agreements in diagnostic characteristics and what those diagnostics really are; much more care should be addressed to those who are in suffering without the whole awareness for luck of time in experience and opportunities in life.

In Addition, be able to replicate and put across to others individuals a final work result, being as close as possible of the first and original thought and idea, (in this case results with the clients and in our personal life), can be a failure in tentative since researches in counselling psychology have been trying to do it for many years.

Finally, I perceive awareness in counsellorís self-development is a matter that depends on each individual experience and abilities, be supposed to be accepted as it is. Another final point to consider in the role of awareness in counsellors self- development. Being here and now and just accepting things as they are allows space for the change itself, it is a balance between what to chance with accepting the present moment as it is.

1. Craig, D.E., Ogles, B.M. & Lambert, M.J (1991) Comparison of Self-Help Books for coping with loss: Expectations and Attributions. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 38 (4): 387-393.
Lambert, M, and Cattani-Thompson, K.(1996) Current findings regarding the effectiveness of counselling: implications for practice. Journal of counseling and development JCD, (74): 601-608.
2. Nicholson, R. A., & Berman, J. S. (1983) Is follow-up necessary in evaluating psychotherapy? Psychological Bulletin, 93, 261-278.
3. Patterson, C.H. (1989) Values in Counselling and Psychotherapy. Counseling and Values , 33, 164-176.
4. Pere, R. (1997) Te wheke: a celebration of infinite wisdom (2nd ed.). Ao Ako Global Learning NewZealand: Gisborne.
5. Probst , L.R. (1980) The comparative efficacy of religious and nonreligious imagery for the treatment of mild depression in religious individuals . Cognitive therapy and Research, (4): 167-178.
6. Proctor, G. (2002). The Dynamics of Power in Counselling and psychotherapy: Ethics, Politics and Practice. Ross-on-Wye, UK:PCC Books.
7. Stewart, A. L., & Ware, J. E. (1992). Measuring functioning and well-being: The Medical Outcome Study approach(pp. 345Ė371). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.