Counselors shouldn't express beliefs

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I am writing in response to the Augusta State University lawsuit alleging religious discrimination concerning a student's beliefs about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

I also am a graduate counseling student at a different university, and was told at the interview that "you can have whatever opinion or beliefs you desire, but it is unprofessional and potentially harmful to express it."

Jennifer Keeton alleges that writing papers and undergoing diversity classes are forcing her to change her beliefs, but I disagree. Changing your opinion and simply not expressing it are two starkly different things. When a client comes to see you, they often are in a vulnerable, emotional state. If someone in a position of power informs them they are "wrong," this statistically increases the likelihood of suicide or harm.

Universities do not make up diversity procedures to be ornery or disrespectful to students' beliefs -- these are professional guidelines and regulations followed in the counseling field. If universities do not correct behaviors that counselors cannot exhibit for safety reasons, they are not only at risk of losing their accreditation, but they are setting up students for failure.

Ms. Keeton would be fired for these behaviors in the workplace. If she cannot follow national guidelines for the profession, perhaps she should consider other scholarly pursuits.

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baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 08/16/10 - 10:38 pm
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"If she cannot follow

"If she cannot follow national guidelines for the profession, perhaps she should consider other scholarly pursuits."
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That sums up the issue about as succintly as possible.

soldout
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soldout 08/17/10 - 12:13 am
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So counselors express what

So counselors express what they don't believe? Change in a person has to come from the inside out to really work. We are three parts; spirit , soul or mind, and body. It is just math. When the spirit and mind agree the body is out-numbered and must follow. When the body and mind agree the spirit is out-numbered and troubles come. When the spirit in someone is the spirit of Christ anything can be fixed as the mind is retrained to agree with the spirit and the body will come in line. We win or lose in life based on this math. Being self-centered is the cause of all our grief and depression. It is impossible to have an outward focus and be depressed. EFT is a great couseling aid as it causes the body to be more aware and actually receive the words of counsel being spoken.

BillBinVT
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BillBinVT 08/17/10 - 12:42 am
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"If she cannot follow

"If she cannot follow national guidelines for the profession, perhaps she should consider other scholarly pursuits."
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"That sums up the issue about as succintly as possible."
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The real issue is that the "national guidelines" are what should be up for consideration. It should be becoming quite clear to all that both our moral and economic standards are teetering on the brink of collapse. The Roman Empire blazed the path of moral and economical deviance that our empire, I mean government, is currently on . . . the results are destined to be the same.

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 08/17/10 - 05:17 am
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Counselors shouldn't give

Counselors shouldn't give counsel. Great advice.

sconservative
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sconservative 08/17/10 - 08:01 am
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Dr Benjamin Spock wrote a

Dr Benjamin Spock wrote a book called "Baby and Child Care" which was used as a guide by new parents. He had to publicly apologize for being wrong. At least one generation was raised according to these wrong principles - which differed from those taught in the Bible. One does not have to proselytize in order to advocate Biblical principles. A Christian cannot ignore the Bible since it is the source of TRUTH.

grouse
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grouse 08/17/10 - 09:11 am
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The only thing Spock
Unpublished

The only thing Spock apologized for was using "him" throughout the book. The other is myth. The best therapist is one who helps the patient find his own answers, but one who attempts to tell him how to live.

csrareader
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csrareader 08/17/10 - 09:14 am
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"you can have whatever

"you can have whatever opinion or beliefs you desire, but it is unprofessional and potentially harmful to express it."

Counseling is completely about expressing beliefs and opinions. You counsel a patient based on your opinions and beliefs as to that patient's condition and behavior.

jiclemens
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jiclemens 08/17/10 - 09:20 am
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"That sums up the issue about

"That sums up the issue about as succintly as possible."
And Soldout's utterly ignorant response is the reason this idiotic debate has persisted since before the Pride March in June. Using religion as a basis for arguing civil rights issues and scientifically based standards of professionalism is insane. Progress will not be made dignifying illiterate fundamentalists.

So crates
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So crates 08/17/10 - 09:38 am
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This may be the only letter

This may be the only letter to the editor I've ever seen in the AC that is well written and reasonable. I may have to make a clipping and frame it.

Marlene
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Marlene 08/17/10 - 11:49 am
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WTG, Kelcey!! Excellent

WTG, Kelcey!! Excellent letter, and good luck on your career!

impossible
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impossible 08/17/10 - 12:14 pm
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Where sin abounds, grace
Unpublished

Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more. Thank you Jesus!

MajorPaul
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MajorPaul 08/17/10 - 12:31 pm
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There are no national

There are no national guidelines that forbid a counselor to express their beliefs. The problem with the ASU counseling school is they are intent on telling their students what their beliefs must be.
There are Christian counselors out there, and they graduated from the exact same schools the secular counselors attended.
Just what is a counselor supposed to tell a student if they come in and say, "I think I am gay, or I am gay, and the church I go to says it is sin and I am confused about that."
Must the counselor tell them, "We counselors are not allowed to discuss that. Sorry, you are on your own here, kid."
What ASU wants their counselors to tell them is it is just fine to be gay, do not trouble yourself over that.
Well, that is every bit as much a religious/personal belief as the one Miss Keaton has expressed.
I think you need to really think this whole thing through before you pass judgment against a student who just wants to help others.

csrareader
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csrareader 08/17/10 - 12:55 pm
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"I also am a graduate

"I also am a graduate counseling student at a different university, and was told at the interview that "you can have whatever opinion or beliefs you desire, but it is unprofessional and potentially harmful to express it.""

If you didn't attend ASU, you don't know what the professors expect from their students and what they tell their students. So.... you only know what is being taught at your school, not ASU. It's a little presumptious to pass judgement on Ms. Keeton.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/17/10 - 03:12 pm
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"When a client comes to see

"When a client comes to see you, they often are in a vulnerable, emotional state. If someone in a position of power informs them they are "wrong," this statistically increases the likelihood of suicide or harm."

So a counsellor always agrees with his/her patient? If I have a patient who is dealing with a lot of anger and tells me that he/she are having thoughts of killing someone......I don't disagree with the patient, just let them think that their thoughts are normal???

Chillen
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Chillen 08/17/10 - 03:24 pm
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I've tried to stay away from

I've tried to stay away from this issue because my spouse & I disagree on it so we just don't talk about it or read much about it.

But I do have to say that if a patient said they wanted to kill someone or rape someone, they are talking about committing a crime and it is not a matter of belief, it becomes a matter of safety and the law.

If they are talking about being gay or being an atheist it is not illegal.

soldout
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soldout 08/17/10 - 04:46 pm
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jiclemens I thought more than

jiclemens I thought more than just you would call me a name over my comments. All I know is what I say I see working in people everyday and it is the view of the Bible which has stood the test of time. Values that stands the test of time will always be my choice. Be blessed.

ameliaf
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ameliaf 08/17/10 - 05:50 pm
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For me, I think we are back

For me, I think we are back to the question of

Should there be Christian zealot counselors for Christian zealots?

I may phrase it in a way that is offensive, but I am really trying to deal with the idea that a person who fervently holds a belief system may do better with a counselor who holds the same belief system.

However, I don't want to end up with one of them. So, how can I be protected from getting counseling from a zealot?

As much as I want to be protected, I am not sure that the zealots are also being protected.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/17/10 - 06:22 pm
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ameliaf, my advice to

ameliaf, my advice to you...If you don't want to be counseled by a zealot, then it's your responsibility to do some investigation on the counselor in question. Hopefully you would be wise enough to ask around, get advice through the Better Business Bureau or whatever agencies are available with this kind of information. Most people when looking for a doctor, lawyer, or counselor, check the person out before going to them.

airbud7
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airbud7 08/17/10 - 06:23 pm
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InChristLove where in this

InChristLove where in this letter did you read (a counsellor always agrees with his/her patient when he/she are having thoughts of killing someone)? talk about twisted thinking, may be you should seek counseling! do you also have visions of things that arent there?

InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/17/10 - 06:26 pm
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Chillen, I tend to agree with

Chillen, I tend to agree with you to a point but this is not what the letter writer stated. He said "If someone in a position of power informs them they are "wrong," this statistically increases the likelihood of suicide or harm." He/she did not specify the reason why the person might be in a vulnerable, emotional state. Lumping everything into one, leaves room for debate.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/17/10 - 06:29 pm
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No where airbud7, I was

No where airbud7, I was making an observation from a statement that the letter writer made. If you can't follow my logic, that's your problem. Sad you have to resort to insults to make your point. Maybe I'm not the only one who needs counseling.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 08/17/10 - 06:33 pm
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Just for you airbud7. Maybe

Just for you airbud7. Maybe this will help you understand. Letter writer said "If someone in a position of power informs them they are "wrong," this statistically increases the likelihood of suicide or harm." If the counselor is not to inform the patient he/she is "wrong", then the opposite is to tell the patient he/she is "right". The error here is not explaining him/herself further. If someone was threatening to do something illegal, would the counselor be correct in telling the patient he/she was wrong? If so, would this lead to a higher probablity for suicide?

So crates
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So crates 08/17/10 - 06:51 pm
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Major Paul, there really are

Major Paul, there really are ethical standards to counseling. You may reference them by following this link:

http://www.counseling.org/Resources/CodeOfEthics/TP/Home/CT2.aspx

I hear what you're saying, but you are simply mistaken when it comes to what a licensed professional counselor can say to clients. In fact, it is your entire approach which makes it clear that you do not understand: the counselor does not tell the client anything at all. The client tells the counselor. Haven't you ever seen those comedies where the therapist just keeps asking the client "What do YOU think?" every time the client asks a question? There is a reason that this is funny: because counselors do not decide for clients what is right or wrong, they ask the client to tell them. People initiate counseling seeking somebody to tell them what to do, but they discover they have to tell themselves what they are going to do.

Pu239
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Pu239 08/17/10 - 07:36 pm
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R. Lee Ermey should chair
Unpublished

R. Lee Ermey should chair this depatment at ASU....

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 08/17/10 - 08:10 pm
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Sorry, the what do you think

Sorry, the what do you think style of counseling has been out for a very long time. Believe it or not, counselors today do talk and give their personal input. Not all, but many of them represent themselves as having Christian family values, have graduated from secular schools, and collect insurance fees for their advice.

As far as protecting yourself or your children from their input, it is a risk we all take when we ask any human for their counsel. It does help to interview them and compare what they are advocating against one's own personal belief system. However, even better, would be to make one's reference point the Word of God.

A counselor who would charge money and sit there like a carton fool would not be any sensible person's choice for long.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 08/18/10 - 07:35 am
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so crates, have you noticed,

so crates, have you noticed, you go ballistic when disagreed with?; go to bed, dear, you need your rest for school tomorrow.

dougk
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dougk 08/17/10 - 10:15 pm
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....biting my tongue....
Unpublished

....biting my tongue....

chasboy
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chasboy 08/18/10 - 04:53 am
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Excellent letter.

Excellent letter.

Willow Bailey
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Willow Bailey 08/18/10 - 10:21 am
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Thank you dougk.

Thank you dougk.

Aura68
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Aura68 08/18/10 - 10:11 am
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Excellent letter.... Having

Excellent letter.... Having said that, I leave town for a much needed vacation and I return almost two weeks later and this is still a hot issue. Will Ms. Keeton and her 5 minutes of fame never end... When will the judge give his ruling??

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