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Students may complete this assignment, which is subject to the SafeAssign policy, as an alternative to Assignment 2. The assignment requires the student to write an academic paper (minimum of 5 pages) that demonstrates ethical reasoning and the minimum academic skills outlined for academic papers in the course syllabus.
When working with clients who demonstrate strong resistance to ideas, alternative solutions, behavioral modifications, cognitive or affective shifts, etc., counselors do not cower to resistance, avoid clients negative emotions, or support clients reflexive inclinations to avoid introspection. Instead, we help them to explore their resistance, to go deeper into the topics that fuel their resistance, and to consider multiple perspectives of issues to help them acquire deeper understandings of themselves, others, and the world (Abbass & Town, 2021). Since counselors can never ask clients to do more than they are willing to do themselves, they, too, must engage in personal practices that require introspective thinking about their own manifestations of resistance from both personal and professional positions (Bennett- Levy & Finlay-Jones, 2019). As Bennett-Levy and Finlay-Jones (2019) explained, Trainees or therapists who engage with personal practices soon realize the discomfort, pain, and challenge of addressing personal issues Consequently, their understanding, respect, empathy, and compassion for the pain and challenges their clients face typically increases [sic.] significantly (p. 139).
Regarding clinical training, counselor educators are tasked with training graduate students to become multiculturally competent, which requires them to facilitate difficult dialogues, defined as exchange[s] of ideas or opinions between individuals that [center] on an awakening of potentially conflicting views of individual beliefs or values on social justice issues (Watt et al., 2009, p. 87; Watt, 2007), among trainees. However, as Watt (2007) pointed out, trainees sometimes demonstrate tempestuousness, disengagement, and/or resistance when counselor educators attempt to facilitate such dialogues in educational contexts. Notwithstanding, difficult dialogues are personal practice methods that are necessary for trainees cultivation of critical consciousness and awareness of personal values and biases, both of which are crucial for the development of multicultural competence (Watt, 2007).
Thus, this assignment constitutes an opportunity for personal practice that is designed to foster students introspection, perspective-taking, and critical thinking by infusing objectivity, reason, and information from the professional literature into moral arguments on a loaded topic. It is an invitation to go deeper into an emotionally laden issue, to fortify self-understandings, and to practice balancing emotions with thoughts, all which counselors must model for clients in sessions. Ultimately, the topic that the assignment addresses is of little-to-no importance in the completion of it. Instead, what is most important is the experience of personal practice, the process of engaging in a self-exploratory activity with a focus on reflecting over personal and professional development (Bennet-Levy & Finlay-Jones, 2019), that the assignment poses for trainees.