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157 Masters programs in counselor education have traditionally focused on the training of individuals who will practice as professional counselors in school or community settings. Recent awareness of counselor potential harm due to personal issues and inadequate supervision has triggered counselor supervisors to become more critical of students in training with regard to personal characteristics that may interfere with client well-being. This also has placed a heavier burden on counselor supervisors than in previous years and increased their awareness of potential liabilities. The American Counseling Associations (1995) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice stated, Counselors, through ongoing evaluation and appraisal, are aware of the academic and personal limitations of students and supervisees that might impede performance. Counselors assist students and supervisees in securing remedial assistance when needed, and dismiss from the training program supervisees who are unable to provide competent service due to academic or personal limitations. Counselors seek professional consultation and document their decision to dismiss or refer students or supervisees for assistance. Counselors assure that students and supervisees have recourse to address decisions made, to require them to seek assistance, or to dismiss them. (Section F.3.a.) Adherence to this section mandates supervisors to assess students and take steps to prevent students from harming clients. Therefore, aside from assessing the academic ability of students, counselor educators have the necessary role of assessing the clinical skills and professional judgment of students prior to approval for work with clients in need of therapeutic services. This also involves assessing if personal characteristics have current or potential harm for clients. Therefore, faculty members become the first gatekeepers in the counseling field and may be held liable if they endorse students to work with clients if they believe a students personal limitations may cause harm. Traditionally, it is the supervisors of practicum and internship who have been viewed as the sole gatekeepers. Practicum and internship placements are most frequently at the end of the program, but warning signs may be evident at other points in the students training program. Prepracticum placements, initial counseling skills courses, content courses, and field experiences implemented in other courses may allow faculty to determine personal issues which could be addressed early on in the program through a student review process. Students need to be aware of the expectations, policies, and procedures so that if decisions are made regarding remediation or dismissal, they have previous awareness of the importance of addressing personal issues that may interfere in working with clients.... View Full Document

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