It’s Intentional

A few years ago, I was teaching middle school in Houston, Texas, and it occurred to me that I spent much of my time working on building supportive, nurturing, and safe relationships with students because I realized there were some students that needed safety and support far more than they needed a literary lecture. It was undeniable the improvement I saw in my students’ attitudes and academics when my primary goal was to create a space where they could feel free to be their authentic selves and explore what success meant to them.

From that experience, I realized I wanted to do more than teach. While I loved my time in the classroom, I realized that I had a desire to learn more about how people develop attachments, interpret the world, and navigate relationships. Three years into teaching, I returned to school to start a MEd in Counseling. Through my coursework, time with mentors, internships, and practicums, my understanding of the nervous system grew exponentially, and my passion for creating a safe space for others to grow expanded.

So here we are.

May 2021

In the three years that I have been practicing, I have come to appreciate how much intentionality plays a part in our healing process. Mending our wounds is not something that just happens to us. It is an active, intentional process that we must take charge of. Through intentional breathwork, awareness of self-talk, setting boundaries with others and ourselves, and processing our stories, emotions, and traumas in a safe, non-judgmental space, we can disrupt unhealthy generational patterns, improve our health and well-being, and live our most authentic lives.

I am passionate about holding space for others, and I have had many amazing mentors along the way that have held space for me. Through that, I have been able to experience growth and appreciate that I will always be growing. Our paths are not perfect. We are not without flaw or fault, and we are worthy and loveable all the same.

I am excited to be on this journey, and I am here as a resource to anyone that is interested in learning more about the counseling process.

Intentionally,

Ashley

Navigating Counseling Ethics & Regulations: A Comprehensive Guide

Let’s continue our exploration into the world of counseling, but this time, we’re shining a light on the ethical guidelines and regulations that shape the profession. Just like deciphering those acronyms, understanding the principles of professional conduct can feel like navigating a maze. But fear not! I’m here to break it down for you in a way that’s informative and engaging.

Before we dive in, a quick reminder: While I’m sharing insights into the realm of counseling, it’s important to note that this is not a substitute for professional advice. If you’re in crisis, please seek support from a qualified mental health professional or emergency services.

Now, let’s talk about professional boundaries. Picture them as the invisible guardrails that define the therapeutic relationship between counselor and client. These boundaries serve to create a safe and supportive space for healing to unfold. From maintaining confidentiality to establishing clear roles and responsibilities, adhering to professional boundaries is essential for fostering trust and respect in the therapeutic process.

Next up, mandatory reporting laws. These legal obligations require counselors to report instances of suspected child abuse, elder abuse, or imminent harm to self or others.

While confidentiality is paramount in counseling, there are instances where the welfare of the client or others takes precedence. Mandatory reporting laws ensure that vulnerable individuals receive the protection and support they need.

Now, let’s talk training. Becoming a counselor is no small feat. It requires dedication, empathy, and a commitment to ongoing learning. Counselors undergo extensive education and clinical supervision to develop the skills and competencies necessary for effective practice. From mastering therapeutic techniques to navigating complex ethical dilemmas, counselors engage in rigorous training to uphold the highest standards of care for their clients.

But the journey doesn’t end there. Counselors must also adhere to a code of ethics established by professional organizations such as the American Counseling Association (ACA) or the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). These codes outline ethical principles and standards of conduct that guide counselors in their practice. Whether it’s maintaining confidentiality, avoiding conflicts of interest, or promoting client autonomy, ethical guidelines serve as a compass for ethical decision-making in counseling.

In summary, ethics and regulations are the bedrock of the counseling profession, ensuring the welfare and safety of clients are prioritized above all else. By upholding professional boundaries, adhering to mandatory reporting laws, and engaging in rigorous training, counselors embody the values of integrity, compassion, and ethical practice.

Stay tuned for more insights and tips on navigating the fascinating world of counseling.

Intentionally,

Ashley

Acronyms, Certifications, Degrees, and Licenses: Part One

A Ridiculously Brief History

Acronyms are everywhere – you see them at restaurants, in business meetings, in insurance, in stocks, in your kiddo’s classroom. They are also prevalent in the world of medicine and mental health. And let’s be real, it can be overwhelming. In the mental health world alone – they are abundant – LCDC, LPC, LMFT, LCSW, BCBA, RBT, RPT, RYT, AADC, PRSS, MHPS, RSPS…and that does not even begin to scratch surface.

In an attempt to mitigate some of that confusion, and in an effort to inform people so that THEY feel confident to decide what the correct path is for THEIR journey – I’ll be writing a few posts with some of the BASICS with a sprinkle of history. This is not meant to be an exhaustive explanation, but I hope it will spark some curiosity in you to do some more research as well. Whether you’re interested in earning a certification or finding

a certified mental health clinician, maybe a brief introduction can assist your journey.

*IMPORTANT TO NOTE* This is NOT mental health ADVICE, and reading this, along with any other posts made here or on social media, does not constitute entering into a therapeutic relationship. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 9-1-1 or the appropriate Emergency Services line in your country.

The history of counseling as we have now come to know it, has not been around all that long. In fact, up until almost the 1980’s, regulations on what counseling was and who could call themselves a counselor were almost non-existent. This is NOT to say that the exploration between mind and body is new. It’s probably safe to assume that a study or keen observance of behaviors, relationships, and other facets of what we now consider psychology have been around for almost as long as humans have. The supportive role that we now recognize as that of a “counselor” was less formal and could be found in communal groups, close friends, family, and others.

However, with two shifts following the Industrial Revolution 1) more people working away from homes and 2) a need for more vocational guidance beyond what families and local communities could provide, counseling started appearing as a targeted and specific role for some. In the 1800’s, psychology also became recognized as science allowing opportunities for research and experiments. This deepened the understanding of theories and there was a rise in the structured practice of what we now call “counseling.” This combined with the rise in disseminating information due to the efficiency in printing photographs, research, and theories sparked a pivotal turning point in the development and advancement of many professions including counseling.

Next time – we will explore Ethics and Regulations.

Intentionally,

Ashley