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This essay is a summary of my findings, following an interview with Mr. Antwi Johnson on the twenty-fourth day of September 2012 at his office. The interview focused on the style of treatment he uses to counsel children. During the interview, a total of fifteen questions were asked regarding his work as well as various ethical challenges he has faced in the past. The actual questions asked during the interview are listed in a separate paper attached to this paper.

Mr. Antwi Johnson is a children’s counselor, who works as a therapeutic support staff with children aged between six and fourteen years. Mr. Johnson is a hard-working professional, who deals with counseling of children with mental, emotional, and behavioral problems or issues. Mr. Johnson offers assistance to children with learning difficulties and socialization problems, such as peer pressure, as well as help to children to adjust to various family problems they may face. In addition, he also handles children with mental health disorders.

Mr. Antwi Johnson obtained his credentials from the University of Toronto. In addition to obtaining a legal license or certification, Mr. Johnson stressed that all social workers must obtain university level education, basically, bachelor’s degree. For social workers in more specialized settings, such as hospitals, they must also obtain a master’s degree in social work. Mr. Johnson has been in the counseling profession for more than fifteen years. Mr. Johnson works with Mrs. Wendy Silvia, who holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Social Sciences from Gannon University in Erie Pa. Mrs. Wendy also has been in the counseling profession for more than fifteen years. Mr. Johnson specializes in social work, which entails working closely with families to assist in improving relationships and functionality of families. In addition, Mr. Johnson helps children with behavioral disorders or academic challenges. He also deals with sexuality, parenting, and life planning.

Mr. Johnson first worked as a helper in a shelter that hosted domestically abused women and their children. As he was working as in the shelter for domestically abused women, Johnson learned that the conducts and behaviors of adults, especially parents, older siblings, close relatives, and friends, greatly affect children.

Mr. Johnson stated that his source of inspiration to work with children is personal experience gained when raising his children as a single parent after their marriage broke up. During the interview, Mr. Johnson explained how after his marriage break up, his daughter shared with him numerous challenges faced by her peers. Mr. Johnson was really touched by the heartbreaking and tear-jerking narratives of his daughter about the sufferings, torments, and miseries of her peers. Consequently, Mr. Johnson saw the need and developed a great desire to help children who are suffering. He decided to touch their lives, put smiles on their faces and to change their lives from worst to better.

As a children’s counselor, Mr. Johnson uses both Play Therapy and CBT techniques. In his opinion, Play Therapy and CBT are the most effective, productive, and promising forms of therapies for work with children. Mr. Johnson also asserts that CBT is widely used in child counseling and has been supported by numerous research studies. Mr. Johnson usually sits by the side of children during counseling. He argues that children dread excessive eye-to-eye contact and thus, withhold some crucial information or opt not to talk during counseling sessions. In his view, sitting by the side of a child during counseling sessions has helped him in increasing the overall involvement of a child, as well as creating virtual independence and freedom for the child. In order to make children feel more comfortable, Mr. Johnson often allows them to do whatever interests them most, such as playing with toys in the office or drawing pictures.

Mr. Johnson is a committed Christian, who frequently uses the Bible for spiritual enrichment and as a self-help book. From his view, the Bible is a great source of inspiration and provides invaluable help through the scriptures. For example, he strongly believes that God is the only source of help and provider of salvation, healing and giving a relief from numerous problems faced by human beings. When dealing with clients, who believe in God, Mr. Johnson often quotes the Bible and uses Biblical principles to teach his clients. He also asserts that as a Christian counselor, one of his major challenges is to develop good relationships with his non-Christian clients without interfering with their faith or religious beliefs.

From my part, Mr. Johnson appeared confident and optimistic about his work. His perspectives, commitment, and stance gave me a solid understanding of the importance of his involvement in supporting children hurt by their experiences. The manner in which he helps to change lives of thousands of children has inspired me to become a children’s counselor as well in the future. In response to the various interview questions, Mr. Johnson gave highly convincing answers that showed his commitment and desire to change lives of children.

In response to the first question on how he ensures that confidentiality of clients is protected, Mr. Johnson assured me that all members of the American Counseling Association must subscribe and adhere to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, which oblige all counselors to provide adequate protection to confidentiality of their clients. State and federal laws also require counselors to protect the confidentiality of their clients within the boundaries of the client-counselor relationship. However, Henderson and Thompson (2007) argue that confidentiality of the client is limited when there is a danger of holding back such information or due to legal requirements demanding disclosure of client information. In either case, the informed consent of the client must be sought first.

With regard to ethical dilemmas at the workplace, Mr. Johnson stated that he is usually faced them when handling cases of sexual assaults and abuse. According to Mr. Johnson, he can comfortably handle cases of physical abuse, but sexual abuses pose more challenges to him. Secondly, Mr. Johnson faces ethical dilemmas whenever clients bring gifts to him or when colleagues want to go out with him for a dinner. In his opinion, business and pleasure are two different things that should not be mixed up. Another incidence in which Mr. Johnson often faces ethical dilemmas is when he finds out that a client suffers from a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Consciously, it is right to inform the partner or spouse of such a client about the STD with or without the informed consent from the client. Legally, such an act is deemed a breach of confidentially and can lead to a prosecution.

Mr. Johnson explained that he uses Play Therapy and CBT in treating clients due to their effectiveness, high productivity, and ability to provide tangible results. When asked how he chooses the most appropriate approach during counseling sessions, Mr. Johnson asserted that psychotherapy for children and adolescents poses the greatest challenges depending on the developmental stage of the client. For young children aged between six and ten years, Mr. Johnson uses Play Therapy, whereas for adolescents, he deploys teamwork and joint problem solving techniques.

Depending on the nature of the problem presented by the client, Mr. Johnson may use a variety of approaches that would help him fully understand the situation of the client. According to Mr. Johnson, for the effective counselor work with children, one must relate well with the parents and teachers. In some cases, siblings, close relatives, friends, or any other respected person close to a child may be involved during the therapy. The intervention of a respected third party during the therapy is highly valuable.

On assessment of the progress of the therapy, Mr. Johnson asserts that no laboratory tests are required. However, the effectiveness of the therapy is evaluated based on improvement of condition or situation of the client, for example, a decrease in stress levels for depressed clients or signs of withdrawal from the drug use for drug addict clients. Mr. Johnson also adds that the initiation and termination of a therapy process would depend on the situation of the clients. For example, marriage therapy for a client in an abusive marriage may stop after a few months after divorce or separation or when the abusive partner changes conduct and becomes more loving again. According to Golden (2002), therapy is considered successful only if the target goals have been achieved, for example, when the patient feels better than before the therapy.

I would conclude by emphasizing that the interview with Mr. Johnson enabled me to learn lots of things relating to counseling or working with children. The information I obtained is highly valuable.

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