chapter  1
16 Pages

THE SPECIALTY FIELD OF COLLEGE COUNSELING

As a profession, college counseling has been around for many years, yet its emergence as a true specialty seems to have occurred in more recent years. College counseling is now considered a specialty field within the larger professional domain of counseling, similar to longexisting specialties such as addictions counseling and family counseling. This means that it is a field that requires specific qualifications and skills and consists of its own unique experiences and challenges. It also means that being a college counselor encompasses its own sense of professional identity regardless of the particular background or educational credentials of the individual practitioner. Simply stated, there is nothing quite like the experience of being a counselor on a college or university campus. Grayson and Meilman (2006) referred to college counseling as “a world unto itself ” (p. 1). The delineation of the unique dimensions of college counseling is the primary mission of this book. In addition to providing counseling, most college counselors engage

in a variety of other tasks. This includes consultation and outreach, supervision and training, research, teaching, and myriad other important contributions to the overall mission of their universities. College counselors may be appreciated and valued in some respects, while at the same time they may be underappreciated and undervalued in other respects. For example, faculty and staff members on a campus are relieved to be able to refer emotionally distressed students to those with more expertise in handling such matters. After all, this is what campus counselors are primarily there for, at least in the eyes of others on campus. But when it comes to the many other roles, responsibilities, and professional activities that college counselors engage in, this is where there may be less acknowledgment of their value.