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Posted: September 5th, 2023

Reflecting on Personal Values that Impact Counseling

The Standard A.4.b. of the American Counseling Association’s (ACA) 2014 Code of Ethics mandates the following regarding personal values:
“Counselors are aware of their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors and avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals. Counselors respect the diversity of clients, trainees, and research participants” (ACA, 2014, p. 5).
Therefore, it is important that counselors and counselor trainees spend time identifying their own values, understanding the origin of these values, and honestly owning how personal values may adversely affect the counselor’s ability to work with certain populations or mental illnesses.
Step 1: Read and complete the Attitudes & Beliefs Inventory below (see p. 2). When you are finished, go back over the inventory and select three questions you had the strongest reactions to and/or you had the most difficult time answering.
Your paper should be 5-7 pages, (excluding title page, abstract, reference page), written in APA format, including a title page, abstract, introduction, body, conclusion, and references. Your paper should be well thought out and demonstrate critical thinking, self-evaluation, and practical application. Your paper must include at least 5 scholarly references published within the last 5 years. All sources must be scholarly journal articles outside of course materials, materials from other classes, and applicable to the counseling profession. No websites or direct quotes. This assignment should be written in 1st person.

Step 2: Divide your paper into the three required headings below and address the following questions within each section:
State the 3 questions that evoked the strongest reaction in you, and/or, you found most difficult to answer. Why? What personal value(s) and/or belief(s) did each question seem to contradict or seemed to cause some personal incongruence within you?
When, from whom, and how, did you learn this (these) value(s)/belief(s)?
What personal or professional work do you still need to do around this issue?

Step 3: When you have completed your paper, save it as a Microsoft Word document under your name and assignment title (Example: Doe_J_Attitudes and Beliefs_Paper). Submit your paper via the assignment submission link in Canvas. If the final paper you submit contains entire sentences or paragraphs that have a high similarity index to other sources, it may indicate either unintentional or intentional plagiarism. You may be contacted by your instructor.

Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the Turnitin plagiarism tool.
Attitudes & Beliefs Inventory*
Directions: Using the scale below, rate each item to indicate how comfortable you would be working with this population or problem.
5= Very Comfortable 4= Somewhat Comfortable 3= Comfortable
2= Somewhat Uncomfortable 1= Very Uncomfortable

1. A person with fundamentalist religious beliefs.
2. A woman who says that if she could turn her life over to Christ she would find peace.
3. A person who shows little conscience development, is strictly interested in his/her own advancement, and uses others for personal gain.
4. A gay or lesbian couple wanting to work on conflicts in their relationship.
5. A man who wants to leave his wife and children for the sake of sexual adventures with other women.
6. A woman who has decided to leave her husband and children to gain independence.
7. A woman who has decided to get an abortion but wants to process her feelings around it.
8. A teenager who is having unsafe sex and sees no problem with the behavior.
9. A high school student who is sent to you by his parents because they suspect he is using drugs.
10. A person who is very cerebral and is convinced that feelings are a private matter.
11. A man who believes the best way to discipline his children is through spanking.
12. An interracial couple coming for premarital counseling.
13. A high school student who believes she is a lesbian and wants to discuss how to “come out” to her parents.
14. A gay or lesbian couple wanting to adopt a child.
15. A man who has found a way of cheating the system and getting more than his legal share of public assistance.
16. A woman who comes with her husband for couples counseling while maintaining an extramarital affair.
17. A man who believes internet sex can be a creative way to express sexuality.
18. A couple who believe that sex with multiple partners is okay.
19. A man convicted of pedophilia and court-ordered for counseling.
20. A woman who makes her living as an exotic dancer.
21. A man convicted of domestic violence.
22. A woman whose children have been removed by Child Protective Services.
23. A man recently released from jail after serving a sentence for rape.
24. A man with terminal cancer who wants to discuss stopping all treatment to hasten his death.
25. A woman who believes in an egalitarian marriage.
*Modified from Corey, G., Cory M.S., & Callanan, P. (2011). Issues and ethics in the helping professions, (8th ed.). Brooks/Cole.

Reflecting on Personal Values that Impact Counseling

As counselors and counselors-in-training, it is imperative that we engage in ongoing self-reflection to increase awareness of personal values and beliefs that could potentially influence client care in either helpful or harmful ways. This paper will discuss my reflections on responses to three questions from the Attitudes & Beliefs Inventory that elicited strong reactions or a sense of incongruence within me. Through examining the origins and implications of these values, I aim to better understand how to provide culturally-sensitive counseling services.
The first question that provoked reaction was about working with “a man who believes the best way to discipline his children is through spanking” (Corey et al., 2011). Growing up, spanking was a common and accepted form of punishment in my family and community. However, research shows spanking is linked to increased aggression, antisocial behavior, and mental health problems in children (Gershoff, 2002). This contradiction between my upbringing and evidence-based knowledge caused internal conflict.
I also reacted strongly to the question regarding “a gay or lesbian couple wanting to adopt a child” (Corey et al., 2011). While my religious beliefs do not condemn homosexuality, I was raised with the understanding that children thrive best with both a mother and father. Recent longitudinal studies found children raised by same-sex parents fare equally well on measures of emotional, behavioral and social adjustment compared to children raised by opposite-sex parents (Fedewa et al., 2020). This challenges my original assumption.
The final question eliciting reaction asked about “a man convicted of domestic violence” (Corey et al., 2011). On a gut level, the idea of helping an abuser made me uncomfortable due to personal experiences. However, research shows counseling can help perpetrators change abusive behaviors when they take full responsibility and make a long-term commitment to nonviolence (Gondolf, 2002). This helped provide a more evidence-based perspective.
My values regarding spanking, same-sex parenting, and domestic violence stem from the cultural and religious norms within which I was raised. While these beliefs originally provided a sense of stability and clarity, examining research from my counseling studies has illuminated discrepancies between my upbringing and current best practices. This dissonance has pushed me to question previously unexamined assumptions.
To better serve all clients in a culturally-sensitive, ethical manner, I must continue unpacking how personal values aligned with my upbringing may differ from the diverse populations counselors encounter. Specifically, I plan to seek supervision discussing cases involving topics where my values previously clashed with evidence. With openness to new perspectives and commitment to lifelong learning, I believe counselors can overcome value-based biases to focus on meeting each client with unconditional positive regard.
Through critically reflecting on responses to the Attitudes & Beliefs Inventory, I gained insight into value-based reactions that could hinder multicultural counseling competence. By examining the origins of these values and considering alternative perspectives grounded in research, I aim to cultivate awareness of implicit biases and an openness to growth. Ongoing self-reflection is crucial for counselors to set aside personal beliefs and honor each client’s autonomy, safety, and well-being.
Corey, G., Cory M.S., & Callanan, P. (2011). Issues and ethics in the helping professions, (8th ed.). Brooks/Cole.
Fedewa, A. L., Black, W. W., & Ahn, S. (2020). Children raised by lesbian and gay parents do as well as their peers. Child Development, 91(4), e491– e506. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13262 research paper writing service.
Gershoff, E. T. (2002). Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences: A meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological bulletin, 128(4), 539–579. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.128.4.539
Gondolf, E. W. (2002). Batterer intervention systems: Issues, outcomes, and recommendations. Sage.

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