(Awe, Portman & Garrett, 2005) Mutual empowerment also includes the kind of encouragement and inspiration that is provided by mentors to other counselors. Mentors can have an enormously positive and regenerative effect on professional counselors and their work, as shown by the study conducted by Sandy Magnuson, Ken Norem, and S. Allen Wilcoxon. Study participants described mentors' input as "validating." They joined professional organizations, or expanded the scope of their work; encounters with others in the same field opened up new horizons. (Magnuson, Wilcoxon & Norem, 2003) Experienced counselors can actively encourage the participation in the counseling profession of people from diverse backgrounds, whose ethnicity, religion, socio-economic background, and life experience match the increasing diversity that is America. (Hill, 2003) Encouragement also comes to those already in the profession who reach out to the community at large, and who advance the mission of counseling, and adhere to the ethics of helping others.
Professional counseling is at times threatened by the attacks of other, allied professions, such as psychology and social work. Yet, counselors must always keep in mind that theirs is a unique field; that they provide a unique service that attends to the needs of clients on an especially personal and emotional level. Using the lessons of researches into mental health, psychology, and human development, professional counselors create a holistic picture of men, women, and children. They look at these individuals, as individuals, and understand them within the contexts of their families and communities. They look at their hopes and dreams, assist them in overcoming their problems, and empower them to work toward their goals. Professional counselors need to become advocates for their profession, both to preserve the good that is in their approach, and to better serve those whom they seek to help. Counselors must also advocate that members of their own profession - and of the public - are fully aware of the aims and ethics of the counseling profession. Further, counselors must maintain solidarity. They must reward the efforts of those who have built up, and continue to build the profession. Individually and in professional groups, professional counselors must take cognizance of what sets them apart from others in related fields, and what it is that makes their approach special and significant... And indispensable. Professional Counseling is a field that must and should be preserved because it has much to offer individuals and the communities to which we all belong.
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