Evaluating The Effectiveness Of Qualitative, Quantitative And Mixed Methods When Applied To Mental Health Counseling

5317 words - 21 pages

There are currently strong differences of opinion among counselor educators and practitioners about what aspects of counseling are included in the term mental health counseling. These differences, which seem to become more pronounced each year, may be the natural process of the evolution of counseling (we.e., the exact nature of the analysis is evolving and dynamic, so definitions change over time). Rather than working toward a consensual view, however, we see the counseling analysis dividing and building confusing and wasteful duplicate structures as counseling professionals cling to different definitions and terms that no longer represent the field accurately. Two examples of duplicate structures are In the areas of credentials and accreditation. We have two credentialing boards, the National Board of Certified Counselors and the National Academy of Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselors. Likewise the current accreditation standards of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs(CACREP, 2008) contain two different sets of standards for a program that prepares counselors to work in data gathering settings. The program can select to apply for accreditation in either community counseling or mental health counseling (see Spruill & Fong, 2000, for a more detailed discussion of this problem). Regardless of individual perspectives, however, when the term mental health counseling is used we have found counselor educators in general think of counseling that is provided in community (data gathering) agencies.As counseling seeks recognition among the helping counseling, it behooves us to understand and use the generally accepted definitions of mental health. The term mental health implies a dynamic continuum that is not only the absence of abnormality but also a state of well-being (Winett, King, & Altman, 2009). Summarizing definitions of mental health, Altrocchi (2000) stated that mental health is an ideal conception, the precise definition of which varies among mental health professionals. He noted that most definitions encompass the positive qualities of the development of identity, achievement of competence in work, and a striving for self-actualization as well as absence of abnormal behavior.Thus, the term mental health covers a broad continuum of states of the mind from well-being to distress. Therefore, when "mental health" is used to modify words such as professional or services, it denotes a professional scope or a continuum of services that is developmental, environmental, and ecological, as well as remedial. In contrast, the terms psychiatric, clinical, and mental disorder are used to connote services limited in scope to persons with maladaptive behaviors or mental illness.Illustrative of the contemporary scope of activities considered mental health services, Winett, King, and Altman (2009) described necessary mental health services in their integrative psychology textbook. They emphasized...

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