To practice ethically as a professional counselor, it is important that you as a counselor trainees develop an awareness of your personal values and an ability to identify and manage potential biases. The American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics mandates that “Counselors are aware of their own values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors and avoid imposing values that are inconsistent with counseling goals. Counselors respect the diversity of clients, trainees, and research participants” (A.4.b.). Therefore, it is important that you spend time identifying your own values, understanding the origin of these values, and discovering how your personal values may adversely affect your ability to work with clients with differing values.

The purpose of the Spiritual Discernment in Counseling Paper is to 1) familiarize you with the views of vocational decision making and the will of God that are advocated in Christian circles today, 2) explore and identify your own approach to spiritual discernment, 3) increase your awareness of how your approach may influence your counseling, and 4) develop a strategy to work with clients with different approaches to spiritual discernment.


To complete this paper, download the article “Discerning Spiritual Discernment: Assessing Current Approaches for Understanding God’s Will” by Dennis Horton, found in Blackboard.

Divide your paper using the headings below (without Roman numerals) and write an 8–10-page paper in current APA format (not including the abstract and reference page). Remember to bold and center all Level 1 headings. Include at least 3 scholarly resources in addition to Horton’s article to support your position and assertions. Your paper may be written in first person. Save your paper in Microsoft Word as: Last name_First initial_Position_Paper (e.g., Doe_J_Position_Paper).

Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the SafeAssign plagiarism tool.

Submit your paper to both Blackboard and LiveText/Tevera

Outline of the Spiritual Discernment Paper

Personal Position
• Using the survey found at the end of the article, discuss which decision-making factors described by Horton are very important to you when making decisions.
• Based on these factors, which approach to spiritual discernment, as described by Horton, are you most likely to follow? Why?
Past and Present Influences
• What past and present factors could have influenced your approach to spiritual discernment? Include family, spiritual heritage and religious background, present religious beliefs, and past experiences.

Practical Application
A client comes to you for counseling at her university’s career center. She states she is still struggling to choose a major because, “I am afraid that it may not be God’s will.” From the start, it is evident that she has a different decision-making style than the one you identified for yourself in the first section.
• As a counselor attending to the career concerns of you client, how might your personal position potentially influence how you address this client’s concerns?
• Describe the strategy you will use to ensure that you do not impose your personal position, spiritual discernment approach, or values on the client.

* Note: Do not submit hypothetical counseling sessions where you describe what you would say and how the client would respond. The purpose of this section is to help you to identify your values, to gain a self-awareness into how those values can influence the therapeutic process, and to identify strategies you can use to help you not impose your beliefs on the client.

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