Mission, Overarching Philosophy & Conceptual Frame

Mission

Change, Inc. exists to provide non-judgmental, down-to-earth counseling in South City, St. Louis, and beyond.

Overarching Philosophy & Conceptual Frame

  • About Pain & Suffering:
    • Pain and suffering exists in the world to the degree that most of us have joined the helping professions because we feel compelled to act, especially in light of our own wounds. Yet, rarely do we stop to ask in a more global sense, “What is an appropriate response to pain and suffering, both our own and that of our clients/the world?” Without asking this question, we will tend to resolve/fix people, and/or resolve/fix their most immediate crises without helping them to deconstruct and interrupt the larger patterns, ironically binding them to the problem henceforward. This is erroneous primarily because “We shouldn’t try to get rid of our own pain until we’ve learned what it has to teach. When we can hold our pain consciously and trustfully (and not project it elsewhere), we find ourselves in a very special liminal space. Here we are open to learning and breaking through to a much deeper level of…consciousness” (Rohr, 2016, 199). As such, at Change, Inc., the purpose of counseling is not to simply resolve pain and suffering, but to help ourselves and our clients develop a tolerance for its inevitability, ultimately with the goal of learning from it and transforming it into the essence of our lived experience and being.
  • About Our Motives for Becoming Counselors:
    • Counselors typically become counselors as an outgrowth of their own wounds. Most often, these wounds “involve lingering struggles with early loss or unfulfilled narcissistic needs for recognition and approval (Barnett, 2007; Kuchuck, 2014)” (Kottler, 2017). While we may become healed, enlightened, integrated, highly-functional individuals, this is in no way guaranteed, and many counselors are still actively dysfunctional, impaired, and at times, pathological in part or in whole. As such, at Change, Inc., self-evaluation, as well as personal and professional growth is ongoing, emphasized in the ways we engage continuing education opportunities and group experiences.
  • About the Central Role of the Person of the Counselor in Treatment:
    • “The person of the counselor is the primary instrument of diagnosis and treatment. It is through the clarity and stability of our own personal functioning that we work to establish and maintain meaningful connections with our clients, free of biases, distortions, and self-indulgence” (Neace & Kottler, 2017). As such, at Change, Inc., the primary emphasis around clinical fitness in supervision and the overarching environment is on the psychological wellbeing and growth of the person of the counselor (as opposed to exclusively the “professional” per se). 
  • About the Central Role of the Therapeutic Bond in Treatment:
    • Research consistently indicates that the single-biggest predictor of success in counseling is the therapeutic alliance (Lynch, 2012), defined by Teyber &
Teyber (2011) as a partnership where both counselor and client agree on shared goals, work together on tasks designed to bring a positive outcome, and establish a relationship built on trust, acceptance, and empathy. What’s 
more, research shows that more experience, more developmental progression, older age, or particular therapeutic framework do not correlate to clients’ reported experiences of building that critical alliance (Hersoug, Høglend, Monsen, Havik, 2011). In short, relationship is penultimate. This is intended to be emphasized in strong contradiction to narratives which would suggest success in counseling is primarily a function of fidelity to a particular theoretical orientation. On the contrary, research has shown that most therapeutic approaches have equal efficacy (though some approaches are better or less suited to certain situations/conditions) (Lilienfield & Arkowitz, 2012). As such, at Change, Inc., the primary emphasis in our clinical work, our growth as individuals, and our growth as a team, is relationship and rapport.
  • About The Importance of Team and Environment in the Life of the Counselor:
    • There are a variety of work settings in the helping professions including publiclyfunded agencies, in-patient/residential treatment centers, medical facilities, schools/universities, in-home, spiritual/religious facilities, and more. Anyone who has worked in any of these settings can attest that each has a particular dysfunction, but common to them all is a dysfunction of “team.” i.e., There is often little or no “team” to speak of – little or no espirit de corp, camaraderie, and/or real intimacy. These realities are devastating to counselors because of the bi-directional nature of our own wounds and our charged to care for the wounds of others. It is in the context of relationships that we are hurt, and in that same context we may heal. As such, at Change, Inc., we endeavor to foster a healthy, vibrant sense of “team” with whom we can be healthily vulnerable, risktaking, and supported because we believe it is critical to a healthy therapeutic environment.
  • About Sound Business Practice:
    • Counselor education programs aim to provide master’s students with the beginnings of the necessary clinical, professional, and personal skillsets required for successful careers as counselors. Yet, current educational standards within programs do not generally require that students complete coursework in the business-related aspects of professional counseling (CACREP, 2016). Yet, ironically,, post-master’s education, more practitioners are currently in private practice than any other single sector of our workforce (ACA, 2014). It is not surprising that many counseling practices are among the more than half of small business which fail in 4 years or less (Knaup & Piazza, 2007). To avoid this pitfall, it is essential that practices “must balance other considerations with the practical concerns of fiscal management” (Baker, Smith, & Sharpe, 2016, p.136). As such, at Change, Inc., we endeavor to embody thorough, reasonable, and successful business methods in keeping with the generally accept standards of excellence that one would expect to find at any other successful business in any other discipline.

Want to know more?  Read about our Holistic Guiding Principles here.

References

American Counseling Association. (2014). State of the profession: 2014 Counselor compensation executive summary. Alexandria: Author. Retrieved from https://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/aca-exec-summary-compensation-survey.pdf?sfvrsn=2

Baker, D.L., Smith, A.L., & Sharpe, D.L. (2016). Budgeting and fiscal management for counselors. In E.R. O’Brien & M. A. Hauser (Eds.), Supervision and agency management for counselors (127­146). New York, NY: Springer.

Barnett, M. (2007). What brings you here? An exploration of the unconscious motivations of those who choose to train and work as psychocounselors and counselors. Psychodynamic Practice, 13, 257–274.

Counsel for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. (2016). CACREP Standards. Alexandria: Author. Retrieved from https://www.cacrep.org/for-programs/2016-cacrep-standards/

Hersoug, A. G., Høglend, P., Monsen, J. T., & Havik, O. E. (2001). Quality of working alliance in psychotherapy: Therapist variables and patient/therapist similarity as predictors. The Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research10(4), 205.

Knaup, A., & Piazza, M. (2007). Business employment dynamics data: Survival and longevity, II. Monthly Labor Review, 130, 3–10. Retrieved from http://stats.bls.gov/opub/mlr/mlrhome.htm

Kottler, J. A. (2017). On being a counselor (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

Kuchuck, S. (Ed.). (2014). Clinical implications of the psychoanalyst’s life experience: When the personal becomes professional. New York: Routledge.

Lilienfeld, S. O., & Arkowitz, H. (2012). Are all psychotherapies created equal?, Scientific American, Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-all-psychotherapies-created-equal/

Lynch, M. M. (2012). Factors influencing successful psychotherapy outcomes. Retrieved from Sophia, the St. Catherine University repository website: https://sophia.stkate.edu/msw_papers/57

Neace, R.T., & Kottler, J.A. (2017). Congruence as self-care: Practicing What We Preach. Counselor Magazine, pp.98-102.

Rohr, R. (2016) . A Spring Within Us: A book of daily meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC.

Teyber, E., & Teyber, F.H. (2011). Interpersonal profess in therapy: An integrative model. Boston, MA: Cengage.

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