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Reflective Journal For Trauma Counseling

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Counseling is an interesting career that was designed to help in improving the quality of human life. Counselors are great people in the society because they have been trusted by everyone. Many people, world over, rely on the services of counselors to address the challenges facing them on day-to-day basis. Personally, I joined the counseling profession because it is the most appealing to me. By joining the counseling profession, I knew that I would get an ample opportunity to serve all sorts of people. I knew that counseling would prepare me to be a professional who can make valuable contributions to the society. As a counselor, I do not only have to possess counseling skills. Instead, I should acquire important competencies such reflection. Reflection, if properly utilized, can enable a professional to carry out an objective self-critique to identify the strengths as well as weak areas that need to be improved. The purpose of this paper is to present an in-depth and critical reflection of the experiences acquired during the trauma counseling course.  


When I joined the counseling course, I knew the challenging task that would be ahead of me. I was aware that I would learn so many lessons that would prepare me to be a competent and dependable professional. The first important lesson I acquired is that counseling is a discipline which prepares experts to be useful people in the society. For a very long time, human beings have been subjected to lots of difficulties. The challenges faced by people can make them to experience a wide range of mental disorders such as anxiety, trauma, and depression. These are conditions that might be disastrous if not properly managed (Whiston & Cinamon, 2015). Therefore, a counselor should be available to help people in coping up with the mental challenges that might be experienced during each and every time.

The course was useful to be because it enabled me to learn the roles of a counselor. The most important role learnt is that a counselor is not an advisor, but an expert whose major role is to provide guidance to a client. When a client presents his or her problem, the counselor does not have to rush and provide advice on what to do (Sharf, 2016). This is what I had in mind before joining this course. However, after adequate induction from my tutors, I learnt that a counselor does a totally different job. This implies that the course was essential because it imparted important information that I had not known before. Knowledge is an important resource to anyone in the society (Leontjevas, et al., 2013). When experts are informed, they can be empowered to be active people who can positively impact on the society. The instructors should be commended for teaching us about the roles and responsibilities of a counselor. It is an important thing to do because such basic information can be essential in understanding the course and adequately preparing the counselors for the challenging tasks. 


During the course, I learnt that trauma is a very serious challenge that should be properly addressed. When a person has trauma, it does not mean that they can die (Otte, et al., 2015). However, it is a common mental health condition that can be properly handled if services like counseling are provided. This is a lesson that was taught to by my instructors. My interaction with the instructors gave me an opportunity to be familiar with the mental illnesses that have been troubling people in the society. I therefore agree that it was a commendable thing to do (Bogner, et al., 2016). No one should be left to succumb to mental illnesses like trauma because there are counseling services which can be of great help to them. When I complete my training, I will do my best to provide quality counseling services t my clients. The instructors taught us so well regarding this topic. The reason why we were taught these concepts is because they form the basis for counseling. They were appropriate because each and every therapist should have adequate information regarding all the kinds of mental issues facing clients.

During the course, I got an opportunity to learn that counseling is a tedious and challenging activity that should be handled professionally. For one to deliver satisfactory counseling services to a patient, one has to possess important skills such as communication. Communication is an important asset in counseling that should be given a due consideration at all times. Hence, when attending to a patient, a counselor has to be a good communicator (Harrington & Long, 2013). One of the most significant communication skills that should be possessed during the counseling process is listening. A counselor should learn to critically listen to a client and give them enough time to express themselves. At the same time, a counselor should be respectful (Barlow, 2012). Meaning, he should treat the client with respect and the dignity that they deserve. If properly utilized, these skills can improve the quality of counseling services to the satisfaction of the client (Morse & Salyers, 2012). These lessons were taught so well because the instructors were concerned about us. The instructor had to do a good job because they had expressed a concern to properly train us and provide essential skills that would prepare us to be effective counselors.

The other important thing I would like to discuss in this reflection is the lessons I learnt on assessment. My lecturers taught me that a good counselor is one who can conduct a good assessment process for the clients. Whenever a client seeks for counseling services, the first thing to do is to assess the situation. Assessment should be done during the first encounter because it can help in creating a good relationship between the counselor and the client (Brunero & Stein-Parbury, 2013). The assessment procedure was properly taught because the instructor informed us that it is a one-on-one engagement which must be done face-to-face. Therefore, for a client to deliver high quality assessment services, the counselor should have excellent interviewing skills. The course made me to know that a good interviewer is a person who can ask good questions and thoroughly interrogate the client right from the beginning up to the very end (Walsh & Osipow, 2014).

During the course, we got a chance to learn different strategies that can be used in the delivery of counseling services to the clients. The instructors taught us that the counselor should be a therapeutic practitioner who does everything within his capacity to create a good rapport with the client. To achieve, we learnt that a counselor should be effective in the use of cropping and interpersonal communication skills. When there is a close relationship between the parties, the counseling process can be successful as required (Fairman, Rowe, Hassmiller & Shalala, 2011). The other important lesson learnt is that a counselor should be a flexible and diverse practitioner who is ready to serve people from all walks of life. Meaning, an ideal counselor is the one who tolerates, accepts, and appreciates other cultures no matter how different they might be. Each of these concepts was properly taught by the instructors. It therefore became easier for us to understand and master the concepts because they are suitable for application during practice. The instructors appear to be experienced experts who have been engaged in the teaching process (Worlein, 2014). Apart from using appropriate teaching strategies and methodologies, the instructors took the necessary steps to ensure that the learning and teaching materials were appropriate for all the learners. 


All in all, I would like to point out that the course was a good one. I appreciate the lecturers for doing a commendable job in providing us with all the information that we are supposed to know as counselors. The course gave me an opportunity to learn a lot of skills that I would not have known if at all I was not part of the learners. I got to affirm certain information that I had gathered before. At the same time, the course enabled me to learn new information that can be essential in my practice. The way in which the lessons were taught made the course to be interesting and enjoyable right from the start up to the very end. At the same time, the course content was appropriate and suitable for us as learners who are still in the process of gathering knowledge and developing the career. The learning materials and resources were also correct because they helped in aiding the teaching and learning process. However, one weakness I would like to highlight is that there are certain concepts and themes which were not properly exploited during the course. Despite learning a lot of interesting things, I did not get to know everything that I was supposed to learn. For example, I did not fully understand the role of spirituality and religion in the delivery of counseling services. The instructors had mentioned that spirituality should always be considered as an aspect of counseling. These are the issues that should be clarified for me to be adequately informed.



Barlow, D. (2012). The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Bogner, H.R., et al. (2016). Does a Depression Management Program Decrease Mortality in Older Adults with Specific Medical Conditions in Primary Care? An Exploratory

Analysis. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 64(1), pp.126-131.

Brunero, S & Stein-Parbury, J. (2013). The effectiveness of clinical supervision in nursing: an evidenced based literature review, Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 85–94.

Fairman, J. A., Rowe, J. W., Hassmiller, S., & Shalala, D. E. (2011). Broadening the scope of nursing practice. New England Journal of Medicine, 364(3), 193-196. DOI:


Harrington, T., & Long, J. (2013). The history of interest inventories and career assessments in career counseling. The Career Development Quarterly, 61(1), 83-92.

Leontjevas, R., et al (2013). A structural multidisciplinary approach to depression management in nursing-home residents: a multicentre, stepped-wedge cluster-randomised trial. The Lancet, 381(9885), pp.2255-2264.

Morse, G. & Salyers, M. P. (2012). Burnout in mental health services: a review of the problem  and its remediation. Adm Policy Mental Health. 39(5):341-52. doi: 10.1007/s10488-011- 0352-1.

Otte, C., et al (2015). Cognitive function in older adults with major depression: Effects of mineralocorticoid receptor stimulation. Journal of psychiatric research, 69, pp.120-125.

Sharf, R. S. (2016). Applying career development theory to counseling. New York: Cengage Learning.

Walsh, W. B., & Osipow, S. H. (2014). Career counseling: Contemporary topics in vocational psychology. New York: Routledge.

Whiston, S. C., & Cinamon, R. G. (2015). The work–family interface: Integrating research and career counseling practice. The Career Development Quarterly, 63(1), 44-56.

Worlein, J.M. (2014). Nonhuman primate models of depression: effects of early experience and stress. ILAR Journal, 55(2), pp.259-273.


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