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Proceed to Basket. View basket. Over the last two decades, counselling practice has moved from professional autonomy to policy driven state control, reflecting a trend towards a new professionalism that has updated more traditional concepts of professionalism within counselling Clark, Opinions as to policy driven professionalism vary Clark, On the one hand, measurable targets and multi-professional teamwork are considered to achieve desired outcomes Clark, ; on the other, that the formulaic nature of policy inhibits individual incentive-taking, thus repressing professional autonomy Clark, In this paper, I draw on findings from my Ph.
I refer to data from counsellors who work with young people who bully. I start by briefly reviewing both occupational professionalism and new professionalism to identify the social and historical factors at play in their development. It seems there is little conceptual clarity regarding the definition of professionalism Fox, ; Freidson, ; Holroyd, Traditionally, professionalism has been conceptualised as a means of organising work and regulating employees to the benefit of both practitioners and their clients Evetts, Freidson stresses the importance of distinguishing professionalism as a third logic ; distinctive and different from the market and organisations by implication of its occupational, as opposed to organisational control.
Hence, by third logic, Freidson implies that workers with specialised knowledge and the ability to provide society with especially important services organise and control their own work, without directives from management or the influence of free markets. This from within approach can lead to substantial return for employees. Day extrapolates this thinking and postulates that professionalism is delineated by the content of the work carried out and consequently, the skills, knowledge and responsibilities necessary for the profession to function; introducing an attitudinal as opposed to functional interpretation.
Englund divides professionalism into two distinct terms: professionalism and professionalisation. Professionalism describes the internal qualities of employees, their values and attitudes, whereas, professionalisation encompasses the status and authority of a profession; a distinction Evans attributes to locus of control. Evans does not consider a top down approach as inevitably signifying professionalism.
In organisations, top down approaches describe executive decision making disseminated to those lower in the authoritative hierarchy Fox, and which Clark considers a cause of deprofessionalisation. Conversely, Evans maintains that an employee has the capacity to define their work by exerting the values they accord their role in keeping with personal ideologies, hence influencing a professional culture Freidson, ; Sachs, Opponents of this view Allen, ; Rolin, argue that such a classification suggests professional culture signifies a uniformity in which all exist in the same way, regardless of social power or minority representatives; a situation exemplified by some ethnic minorities who underplayed their cultural heritage so as to assimilate into existing culture Allen, , and homogenise with the values of the dominant workforce Rolin, Importantly, the marginalised are not monolithic; hence professional culture may not be experienced identically because of inequality.
However, Allen considers authoritativeness as having the potential to constrain individual or group choice, a self-fulfilling cycle, as the more authority an individual possesses, the more power they have when implementing their viewpoints p. Therefore, inevitable tension exists, for although professional culture relies on the premise of professionalism as internally formulated, external regulation safeguards professionalism from internal formulation by imposing occupational control Ozga, Therefore, debate returns to deprofessionalisation and the power inferred the elite; in other words, how the knowledge of authority figures is used in shaping policy, organisations, and thus, professionalism Freidson, It is the concept of the employee as a recognisable and significant contributor that gives rise to a conceptualisation of new professionalism as both a discourse of attitudinal values and functional values Evetts, ; Fournier, Accordingly, focus now shifts to new professionalism.
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To facilitate this thinking within an organisation, a consequential shift is inevitable; from notions of collegiality and trust intrinsic to occupational professionalism, to a managerial, bureaucratic and assessment-based method consistent with organisational or new professionalism Evetts, However, a conundrum is introduced as current emphasis upon multi-facetted team work, for example within the National Health Service NHS , calls for collaborative methods.
The interdepartmental cooperation needed to provide patients with holistic care National Health Service England, , emphasises the tenets of collegial working resonant of occupational professionalism and yet multi-faceted team working is inextricably linked to organisational professionalism. Therefore, Evetts argues new professionalism as a threat to the third logic of professionalism. Clark suggests that when authority is used indiscriminately, employees are reduced to mere functionaries such that they mislay their sense of personal accountability.
Noordegraaf suggests that resistance to change on behalf of professionals has met with tactics to promote them to managerial positions, skilfully combining enterprise with professionalism, and tempting professionals by offering empowerment and innovation.
In this way, Noordegraaf contests that executive demands for quality control, outcome and performance review become reinterpreted as the promotion of professionalism. Hoggett sees the rule bound logic of managerialism merely as competition, a necessary condition for exercising control. However, Broadbent, Jacobs, and Laughlin consider such practices as advancing individualism, undermining the cohesion of team-working and collegial support.
By contrast, Adler, Kwon, and Heckscher refute the decline of cooperative working, arguing that market pressure generates more community-based practices such as inter-disciplinary teams, an outcome they consider as consistent with occupational professionalism as it is mutually supportive of both market hierarchies and the community. The discourse of enactment of professionalism has seemingly been forced to undergo significant change in pursuit of commercial and organisational goals which Hanlon describes as a shift from the concept of trusteeship to that of expertise.
It seems that new professionalism introduces organisational control that potentially undermines the employer as professional. However, the advent of multi-team cooperation within larger organisations such as the NHS would suggest that collegial working is inevitably allied to professionalism.
Nonetheless, there are elements of continuity and opportunity within new professionalism which debatably bears similarity to occupational professionalism, since it has also generated more centralised and community based practice. According to Clarkson , the socio-economic, political and cultural forces affecting the helping professions since , have re-shaped the concept of counselling as a profession. Clarkson conceptualised a twofold impact of such new professionalism upon counselling.
On the one hand, that professional status would promote the use of counselling as a validated treatment, whilst on the other hand, that counselling would become a goal orientated profession where targets superseded quality. Recent legislative changes in the NHS have called for such reasoning to be operationalised since a change from opinion and experience based practice towards an evidenced-based approach has necessitated that therapeutic services embrace research to inform their work.
This change has instigated challenges to the identity of counselling, where to define professionalism calls for a clearly articulated framework. Attempts to address the evolution of new professionalism in counselling are not confined to the United Kingdom. In the last twenty years, counsellors and mental health workers have established international forums and undertaken initiatives to inaugurate professional networks with colleagues from around the world Baron, Such forums provide an outlet for the exchange of ideas and research as to how counselling can meaningfully respond to the contemporary metamorphism of professionalism Baron, According to Lee such a cross cultural perspective of professionalism in counselling can transcend existing political barriers.
For example, in recent years, significant steps have been taken to internationalise mental health interventions for substance use disorders World Health Organisation, Such action has resulted in a universally recognised paradigm for promoting social action in the field of mental health. Key amongst the proponents of global counselling professionalism are the American Counselling Association, whose work explores, amongst other things, the diverse issues that confront professional counselling organizations and how best to address the development of counsellors.
Seemingly, such active and collaborative relationships seek to promote professionalism in counselling world-wide.
The Counselling Interview : A Guide for the Helping Professions
Re-characterising counselling requires a novel type of therapeutic self-awareness. Hence, by placing this paper within the context of counselling psychology, the intention is to extend and support the experience of therapists through research and consequently to foster dialogue with practitioners that engenders reflection and developments within the world of counselling. The focus is upon idiographic interpretation, therefore IPA favours small samples such as those used in the current study and exploratory work, where there is a paucity of literature into professionalism in counselling.
Several counselling organisations in South East England who provided counselling to young people who bullied were contacted to recruit participants, however, all but one declined. This was either because they were too busy to accommodate research within their schedule, or because financial uncertainty threatened their continued survival such that they felt it irresponsible to commit.
Participants were invited to take part in the study if they had counselled young people who bully for more than three years. Given the interview based approach, participants were excluded if they did not speak fluent English or had language problems. Participants were sent personal information sheets outlining the research purpose, an invitation to participate explaining what their involvement would entail, and consent forms.
Two female counsellors consented to take part who had between them four and eight years of experience and shared similar backgrounds. To gather data each counsellor took part in a minute individual semi-structured interview which was audio recorded. The interview questions were based upon a schedule derived from a comprehensive literature review and key concerns articulated during previous focus groups Tapson, Smith highlights the need for flexibility when developing an interview guide underlining that, as IPA is not concerned with verifying or negating a specific hypothesis, broader questions should be used leading to the collection of expansive material.
Consequently, the participants were asked open ended questions as opposed to researcher led discussion. Sample questions included:.
This method of data gathering was sufficiently flexible to flow in cooperation with the participants. The focus groups and interviews were manually transcribed verbatim with interview notes used to supplement data, but not represent it. Initially, the transcripts were read many times with comments placed in a left hand margin noting preliminary associations and interpretations. Each group was allocated a code, and these codes given an identifier, and then placed under the transcript excerpt relating to the code. Transcripts were analysed on a case by case basis and as advised by Smith and Osborn During analysis, I did not attempt to bracket previous knowledge and experience as this process is not supported by IPA.
Rather, in keeping with the epistemological frame of critical realism, previous knowledge and experience were used to inform interpretation. To ensure credibility, the coding and the thematic structure of the data were examined by university supervisors throughout the analytical process. Moreover, interpretation has been made explicit by the use of participant quotes in this article. Lastly, I kept a reflective journal throughout the research process that enabled exploration as to how previous knowledge from literature or experience may have impacted data collection or analysis.
Participation in the current study was voluntary and signed consent was obtained. To ensure anonymity, pseudonyms were used for both the participants and those to whom they referred, which prevented identification. The audio recordings and transcripts were securely stored. The two participants completed the interviews between April and May Figure 1 illustrates the relationship between the superordinate themes and professionalism.
The relationship between professionalism and the super-ordinate themes. The two counsellors expressed conflicting opinions which possibly reflected their perceived status. For example, in addition to her role as counsellor, Counsellor A is also a senior board member for her organisation and this appears to afford her a more collective interpretation of herself as professional counsellor.
As she commented,. I am part of the organisation. I am not the organisation. So I work within the management structure if you like. And that can be challenging sometimes. But that, I could see, could be conflict for some people Counsellor A. Interview, Lines The participative stance of Counsellor A, as part of, not the organisation, seemed to afford her an opportunity to discuss decision making with fellow managers that empowered her. Because I feel partially under-supported, partially totally confused, because they keep changing the rules.
Lines Counsellor B expressed dissatisfaction with the changes imposed upon her, which affected how she perceived herself in relation to the organisation, that compromised her ability to cope with them. She felt under supported as the good job she performed was not valued equally with the procedural changes she endured.
The counselling interview : a guide for the helping professions / Helen Cameron - Details - Trove
In order to regain her sense of professionalism and to heal the gulf between her and the organisation, Counsellor B expressed that the organisation would benefit from a representative counsellor:. Counsellor B hinted at collegial working as a solution to the problem. However, she also voiced disempowerment regarding the regulations by which the organisation must abide, as this too seemed to stifle expression of her professionalism:.
And yet, the minute I get out of the room, the organisation is treating me like an idiot Counsellor B. With her reference to safeguarding Counsellor B hinted at the policy driven management complicit with new professionalism. She experienced discord between herself and the organisation feeling her professionalism and her locus of control compromised and was resentful that her skills must be defined by bureaucracy. Because I will not allow my professional counselling to be compromised. This situation was untenable for Counsellor B. She could not and would not continue her practice at the organisation, for, at the mercy of managerial decision making, her professionalism could not be enacted.
The significance of supervision for professionalism was made clear when the participant counsellors spoke of their experiences. I ask myself loads of questions.