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Professional Development Plan in Sphere of Mental Health Counseling

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My plan is to finish the degree and then to find a position that will really give me a chance to work with a variety of cultures, and where I can do a family therapist specializing in teenagers. I would like to help people who would normally be turned away because of problems or "glitches" in the system. One I have my degree, I plan to pursue professional development on a regular basis to keep my skills fresh; I will do this through interaction with professional organizations, through conferences, and through local meetings of mental health professionals.

Licensing will allow me to become an insurance provider if I decide to do private practice. Licensing ensures that the counselor has met a specific set of standards and that they are practicing ethical conduct which will be important to my clients. Mental Health Counseling is a field similar to medicine and it has a code of ethics that all counselors are to follow. The ACA Code of Ethics is important for counselors to learn because it provides a framework for them to follow when dealing with clients and with the business of counseling.

The ACA Code of Ethics has five main purposes that help counselors understand what the ACA expects of its members. Forester-Miller and Davis (1996) suggest that all purposes have a moral principle that they describe. According to these authors, this purpose is about "autonomy" and the "concept of independence" for each counselor and their clients (p. This means that counselors must be able to work on their own and encourage their clients to understand that they have the answers to their problems and they can make decisions according to their own values, although when making decisions based on one's own values, they may not be the same as other peoples values and there may need to be some compromise.

To operationalize this purpose I will make sure that I understand my own values and opportunities in counseling. It will be important to adopt an observer position sometimes while looking for ways to help the client find their own way to change their lives.  

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