Counselor as Consultant


David A. Scott, Chadwick W. Royal & Daniel B. Kissinger

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    To Michelle, Taylor Grace, and Caroline Scott Amy, Emma, Sam, and Claire Royal and to Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Kissinger

    Introduction to the Series

    Counseling and Professional Identity in the 21st Century

    The role of counselor-as-consultant is not new. However, at this time of increasing demand for services and reduction in service resources, consultation takes on new meaning and value to the professional counselor. Consultation, as you will soon come to discover, provides a paradigm for both expanding a counselor's impact and engaging counselors in those services which not only provide remediation but foster prevention.

    Counselor As Consultant is a text that not only introduces the reader to the expanse of theory and research supporting this mode of service delivery but also fosters the ongoing development of the reader's own professional identity and skill set so that the reader can serve as a Counselor as Consultant.

    As is obvious, one text, one learning experience, will not be sufficient for the successful formation of your professional identity and practice. Becoming and being a counselor will be a lifelong process—a process that we hope to facilitate through the presentation of this text and the creation of our series: Counseling and Professional Identity in the 21st Century.

    Counseling and Professional Identity in the 21st Century is a new, fresh, pedagogically sound series of texts targeting counselors in training. This series is NOT simply a compilation of isolated books matching that which is already in the market. Rather each book, with its targeted knowledge and skills, will be presented as but a part of a larger whole. The focus and content of each text serves as a single lens through which counselors can view their clients, engage in their practice and articulate their own professional identity.

    Counseling and Professional Identity in the 21st Century. is unique not just in the fact that it “packaged” a series of traditional text, but that it provides an integrated curriculum targeting the formation of the reader's professional identity and efficient, ethical practice. Each book within the series is structured to facilitate the ongoing professional formation of the reader. The materials found within each text are organized in order to move the reader to higher levels of cognitive, affective, and psychomotor functioning, resulting in the assimilation of the materials presented into both the professional identity and approach to professional practice. While each text targets a specific set of core competencies (cognates and skills), competencies identified by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) as essential to the practice of counseling (see the inside front cover of this book), each book in the series will emphasize each of the following:

    • the assimilation of concepts and constructs provided across the text found within the series, thus fostering the reader's ongoing development as a competent professional;
    • the blending of contemporary theory with current research and empirical support;
    • a focus on the development of procedural knowledge with each text employing case illustrations and guided practice exercises to facilitate the readers' ability to translate the theory and research discussed into professional decision making and application;
    • the emphasis on the need for and means of demonstrating accountability; and
    • the fostering of the reader's professional identity and with it the assimilation of the ethics and standards of practice guiding the counseling profession.

    We are proud to have served as coeditors of this series feeling sure that each book within it will serve as a significant resource to you and your development as a professional counselor. Let your journey begin!

    Richard Parsons PhDNaijian Zhang PhD


    Counselor as Consultant

    Counselor As Consultant is designed to address specific competencies identified as essential to developing an understanding of the processes of professional consultation and the development of a counselor's identity as a consultant (see Table AP-1). The material presented not only addresses those competencies identified by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP, 2009) as fundamental for counselors as consultants but also provides a framework for all mental health professionals who are interested in providing consultation services.

    Specifically, the text

    • provides the reader with a view of the goals of consultation, including an introduction to the notion of integrating a wellness paradigm into the dual notions of the counselor's identity as a consultant and as a means of facilitating positive and effective consultation outcomes;
    • encourages readers to reflect on and address their personal and professional motives for becoming a professional consultant, including their personal state of wellness and/or life adjustments that may be necessary in order to establish and maintain the level of “best practice” as a consultant;
    • highlights consultant characteristics and behaviors that influence consultation relationships and processes;
    • identifies, defines, and reviews essential consultation skills;
    • describes foundational consultation constructs, theories, and models that form the basis for recognizing and addressing typical (and some atypical) consulting issues, conceptualizing consultant and consultee issues and concerns, and fully engaging in the provision of professional consultation;
    • reviews and provides a clear description and analysis of the relevant historical and contemporary research supporting the practice of professional consultation by and among professional counselors;
    • highlights the need for the employment of measures of accountability; and
    • provides a brief discussion of the growing influence of coaching within the business mental health disciplines and briefly discusses coaching and its differences from counseling and consulting.
    Table AP-1 2009 CACREP Standards Related to Consultation
    Chapter(s) in BookCACREP Standard
    1, 21.b. professional roles, functions, and relationships with other human service providers, including strategies for interagency/interorganization collaboration and communications
    71.j. ethical standards of professional organizations and credentialing bodies and applications of ethical and legal consideration in professional counseling
    35.b. counselor characteristics and behaviors that influence helping processes
    3, 45.c. essential interviewing and counseling skills
    All5.f. a general framework for understanding and practicing consultation
    85.g. crisis intervention and suicide prevention models, including the use of psychological first aid strategies
    All2.d. individual, couple, family, group, and community strategies for working with and advocating for diverse populations, including multicultural considerations
    8C.1 describes the principles of mental health, including prevention, intervention, consultation, education, and advocacy, as well as the operation of programs and networks that promote mental health in a multicultural society
    9M.4. understands systems theories, models, and processes of consultation in school system settings
    10C.2 career development program planning, organization, implementation, administration, and evaluation
    Rationale/The Need

    Becoming a mental health professional is a developmental process involving a personal and professional awareness of the simplicity and complexity of counseling's relational and procedural elements. So too is the development of the knowledge base and skill sets implicit to the role of practice of consultation. In order to address these fundamental elements of consultation within the counseling professional, this text utilizes the mission and standards set forth by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). In doing so, the text is designed to ensure that students and counseling practitioners alike remain attuned to the requisite knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary to encourage mastery of the practice of consultation and heighten their identity as a professional consultant. This process also fosters the development of more complex cognitive structures that facilitate the critical analysis and reflectivity necessary to succeed in consulting environments where complex inter- and intrapersonal dynamics and organizational and systemic demands are the norm. Counselors acting as consultants should expect to encounter and be able to adapt to the concerns and needs of an increasingly diverse range of mental health and allied health professionals. Although grounded in the ethical, legal, and CACREP standards of the counseling profession, this text will also work to integrate appropriate consultation models, competencies, and best practices of other mental health, allied health, and even business models. The ultimate goal of this addition is to provide the counselor as consultant with the broadest knowledge base on consulting in order to ensure that they can compete in an increasingly diverse marketplace. Thus, counselors acting in the role of consultant are well equipped to organize information and make meaning of experiences in a more comprehensive, integrated, and differentiated manner, thereby broadening their potential to effect positive change in a variety of settings.

    Current textbooks used by counselor training programs consistently provide the content recognized as fundamental to professional practice. These texts consistently present the fundamentals of the consultation process. While these texts provide a well-thought-out approach to a specific set of skills, there remains a need to orient counselors-in-training (and current practitioners) to the counselor as consultant in relation to the more contemporary counseling paradigms of wellness and professional identity, along with the more traditional roles and responsibilities counselors have encountered in the consulting role.

    To that end, the text Counselor as Consultant was conceptualized as a means to order and explore the traditional understanding of counselor as consultant paradigm while advocating the need to remain attuned to the challenges counselors may encounter as they adopt the role of consultant as a member of the counseling profession in the 21st century. To meet this challenge, Counselor as Consultant is designed as an evidence-based text that seeks to blend the historical importance and influence of the constructs, models, and theories related to the counselor as consultant with the more contemporary aspects of this role within the context of current CACREP standards and the dynamic landscape of the counseling profession. Inherent within the text will be analysis, activities, case studies, reflective exercises, and author contributions organized around the central goal of enhancing the reader's level of critical thinking, knowledge base, identity as a professional counselor, and self-awareness surrounding the roles and responsibilities of a consultant.


    This book would not have been possible without the support and guidance from many special people, both personally and professionally. The opportunity to create a counselor-as-consultant text benefitting current and future mental health professionals requires the foresight and support of a range of talented individuals. In our case, we thank Rick Parsons and Naijian Zhang for coming up with this innovative series of texts and for all of their support and guidance. We also want to thank all the staff at SAGE Publications (specifically, Kassie Graves and Elizabeth Luizzi) who helped in the development of this text and for their tremendous support, encouragement, insights, and talents as we moved from conceptualization to completion of a text specifically designed to optimize knowledge base and future work of the counselor as consultant. Production of this text would not have been possible without the tremendous help of Brittany Bauhaus and Diane DiMura at SAGE Publications.

    Much gratitude goes to several of our current students for all of their help and contributions: current Clemson University graduate student, Brooke Simecka, for her contributions of case illustrations and exercises in several chapters; and current doctoral students at the University of Arkansas, Kevin Kirkpatrick and Christopher Carver, for their assistance with research and editing.

    We would also like to thank the reviewers for all of their beneficial suggestions and insights for the text: Mona Robinson, Ohio University; Leo R. Sandy, Plymouth State University; Cindy Silitsky, St. Thomas University; and Gaston Weisz, Adelphi University.

    We could not have completed this text without the support and understanding of our family members. Our families helped in ways that would be too exhaustive to describe and also supported us as we tried to maintain that elusive work–life balance. We are sure that our family members are the happiest that the book is finished!

  • About the Authors

    David A. Scott, PhD, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor and an associate professor in the counselor education program at Clemson University. He completed his PhD at North Carolina State University. Dr. Scott has over 18 years working as a professional counselor in clinical and community settings and over seven years as a university faculty member. In the past, he has served as a program coordinator and was the president of the South Carolina Counseling Association. He is also an active member of the American Counseling Association. Dr. Scott has provided consultation services for many years through his private practice that he shares with his wife, Michelle. He has also authored numerous publications dealing with identity development, at-risk youth, and career development.

    Chadwick W. Royal, PhD, LPCS, is an associate professor in the counselor education program at North Carolina Central University, where he serves as the coordinator of the school counseling and career counseling programs. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor as well as a licensed school counselor in North Carolina. Dr. Royal has over 17 years of experience as a professional counselor and over 10 years of university teaching. His research interests center around the use of technology in counseling, counselor training, and counselor supervision and he has presented internationally on the subject.

    Daniel B. Kissinger, PhD, LPCS, is an associate professor of counselor education at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and serves as the clinical coordinator and coordinator of the clinical mental health track. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor with over 15 years of experience and nine years of experience as a counselor educator. Dr. Kissinger remains active in professional counseling organizations and maintains a limited private practice.

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