Finding out the range of client needs and creating a team that can come in and support the client in all of those needs is an essential part of the skill-set of a counselor.
Looking ahead to my five-year goals, I would like to find that my skills have deepened substantially. I believe that it is true that no profession can be fully learned and its skills incorporated solely from studying it or from shadowing others as they perform their jobs. However, I believe that this is especially true of counseling because the best counselors are those who have the most fundamental and broad-based understanding of themselves.
There is no substitute for increasing self-knowledge and insight that does not involved the passage of time. As I pass through my first five years as a counselor I hope to broaden my sense of how people act and react in a range of situations. This will help me come to understand a far wider range of what is "normal" behavior (Granello, 2010). I believe that it is difficult for many counselors (and I cannot except myself from this group) to avoid being judgemental when they first begin to work. As counselors work longer and longer in the field they become more adept at withholding judgement. and, in turn, this withholding of judgement allows the counselor to walk with the client.
In a similar vein, I believe that I will be able to understand and appreciate in a more fundamental way that situational factors must always be considered when one is attempting to help a client (Lussier & Achua, 2010). While I personally believe in a set of rules that I use to govern my own life and my own actions, I believe that one of the most important skills that I will acquire in the first five years in the profession are to learn to appreciate that many people adapt to their changing circumstances and in these cases it will be my task to help them learn to move between different perspectives in a way that does no harm to any of the parties involved.
Finally, you have asked me to consider where my leadership style and strategies will take me in ten years. I must say at first that the farther ahead one tries to imagine oneself into the future the cloudier the lens gets. All I can say is where I would like to be; unfortunately I do not have a good sense of how likely it is that I shall arrive there.
When I consider the next ten years I believe that I will able to benefit from the growth that my clients have been able to achieve. I do realize, of course, that the counselor must always act in ways that are beneficial to the client. The welfare of the client must always come first: This is one of the most fundamental tenets of the ethical considerations of the profession. However, it is perfectly ethical to learn from one's clients. Indeed, I would argue that learning from one's clients is necessary to be an ethical counselor.
What I would like to learn from my clients is how resolving the issues that we have addressed has helped them over the long-term. I believe that the work that I do with my first clients, no matter how hard I try to make it the most authentic and appropriate work that I intend it to be, will necessarily be limited by my lack of experience. This will allow me over time to come to a deeper understanding of the ways in which my practice has changed has benefited my clients in deeper ways. By observing how my clients have changed, how they have flourished or stumbled, will help me clarify which skills I need to develop as a counselor.
Finally, while I hope that I have made it clear above that I believe that there is substantial benefit in a long practice in the profession, I recognize that there can also be drawbacks to becoming a veteran practitioner. I will always act in ways in which to ensure that my skills and ideas remain current. There are a number of ways in which I plan to do this, including attending professional conferences and teaching classes in professional programs. Keeping in contact with students as they enter the profession will allow me to stay in touch with the newest ideas in the profession. I will also take place in the activities of my professional organizations and -- while this sounds so simple as to not be effective -- I will read as widely as possible within the purview of the profession.
I appreciate the fact that you have given me a chance not