Counseling is a relatively new experience for me and I feel as if I suffer from a general lack of confidence. While I believe that humility is important and that my lack of confidence might encourage me to learn more about the therapeutic process and become a better academic counselor, if I allow my clients to view my lack of confidence, then I will undermine their faith in therapy. Therefore, I need to work really hard to ensure that I maintain a confident air while I am working with clients. I am comfortable with my degree of knowledge about therapy, but, unfortunately, I think that much of the confidence is going to have to be developed as I work with clients. I think that if I were very confident in my abilities as a therapist, at this stage in my career development, which would actually be arrogance, and might be worse for my clients than a therapist who needs to project confidence while actually experiencing a pretty significant amount of self-doubt.
One of the ways that I can appear more confident is by enhancing my communication skills. While I am a good listener and do a good job of conveying my expectations to my clients, I sometimes struggle with specifying client concerns in a concrete manner. If I can enhance the communication skills that I already have, and develop skills that allow me to better mirror the issues and concerns that clients bring with them, I think I will appear more confident and more competent. In addition, I think that will enhance the therapeutic process, because, only by being able to specify client issues can I be certain that I am addressing a client's actual problems.
Another challenge that I face is whether or not I will be able to help clients reach a resolution to their problems. It is one thing to identify issues and help establish a course of treatment; it is another to ensure that a client complies with that course of treatment and to maintain the objectivity to recognize whether a particular treatment is working. I know that many clients enter into therapy with a certain resistance to change. I am concerned that I will be unable to meet the challenge of helping change-resistant clients resolve their issues. However, I am confident that I will seek help from others if I recognize this as a developing problem.
Another challenge that I face as a therapist is developing confidence in using role play and counter transfer therapy. I know that role play can be essential to resolution for many clients. Furthermore, I am comfortable that I understand the theory behind that type of therapy and why it can be so useful for many clients. However, it is uncomfortable to be in the role of someone who may have caused a client a significant amount of pain. While I can easily establish personal and professional boundaries when engaging in other types of counseling, I find it more difficult to maintain those boundaries when engaged in role play. As a result, my confidence in my ability to successfully manage that type of therapy is relatively low. My goal, right now, is to work on role play in simulations until I am more comfortable with that aspect of therapy. In addition, I may try role play in clients with less serious issues before tackling it for clients with more serious issues, such as childhood molestation, which would invariably bring up very strong, very negative emotions in counter transfer therapy.
I believe that, like any therapist, my personality is going to interact with my training to affect my ability as a counselor. I know that more empathy, listening skills, moral values, and strong boundary setting will help me become a successful counselor. I also believe that my humility and eagerness to learn will, ultimately, assist me in becoming a more successful professional. However, while I think that my lack of self-confidence as a therapist stems from being untested in that role, I do believe it could negatively impact my clients. Therefore, I know I must really concentrate on portraying confidence without falling into the trap of believing that I actually do know everything about therapy and do not need to seek help when I am faced with a new or…