Personal Reflection Paper
One goal of Psychology 406 is to facilitate an
understanding of the relationship between counsellor worldview,
personal characteristics, and counselling theory. You are encouraged
to engage in self–reflection throughout the course by keeping a
journal. In the Study Guide you will be directed to complete
certain exercises, questions, or self–assessment inventories in your
journal. These activities promote experiential and reflective learning
along with cognitive understanding.
Since your journal is intended for honest personal exploration, you
will not be asked to submit it for grading. Use the journal
exercises to learn more about yourself and to explore the implications
of your self–discovery, especially in terms of the personal fit of
various models of counselling and the role you might potentially play
as a counsellor in various situations.
Please note: Some of the activities require you to
explore past experiences, reflect on your family dynamics, identify
personal biases, and analyze patterns of personal behaviour, thoughts,
or feelings. You are free to skip any exercise that makes you
uncomfortable or that you prefer not to reflect on. You are strongly
encouraged not to delve into issues or experiences that would
be addressed better in an actual therapeutic setting. If some aspect
of the course materials triggers a strong emotional reaction, please
seek out resources from your personal network or community to deal
with that reaction. Your tutor is not ethically permitted to assume
the role of counsellor and will not engage in dialogue of a
counselling nature with students in the course.
The reflections and responses in your journal will form the basis
for your Personal Reflection Paper, the second assignment in the
course. As with the Case Study, your Personal Reflection Paper must be
in essay format. Your essay should be a maximum of 10 double–spaced,
word–processed or typed pages. It should demonstrate critical thinking
about the interconnection between the personality, values, and
worldview of the counsellor and the assumptions, values, and
techniques of various counselling theories. Include only material
that you feel comfortable discussing with your tutor. Keep learning of
a sensitive or vulnerable nature in your private journal.
The following “Additional Questions for Reflection” provide a
starting point for the Personal Reflection Paper. You are not required
to answer all these questions or to address them in any particular
order. They are simply intended to assist you in addressing the basic
question: How do your values, worldview, characteristics, and
experiences affect your assessment of the theoretical approaches and
your view of yourself as a potential counsellor? Use your journal to
identify themes that emerged as you worked your way through the
course. Also review the grading matrix below to ensure that you
understand the expectations of the assignment.
Begin your Personal Reflection Paper by week 20, after you complete
the last of the major theoretical sections (either Section IV or V,
depending on the order you completed them in). Unit 14 will provide
further material to incorporate into your paper. Submit your Personal
Reflection Paper to your tutor for grading and feedback during week 23
to allow yourself sufficient time to study for the Final
Additional Questions for
What core values, attitudes, or beliefs emerged as you
worked through the self–reflection activities? Were there any
To what degree do those values, attitudes, or beliefs create
a lens through which you assess each theoretical
How might your central values influence you as a helping
What major qualities or strengths do you have thPat would be
an asset to you as a counsellor?
What weaknesses or unresolved issues might interfere with
your work as a counsellor?
to what degree are you drawn to particular theories because
they reflect your own experiences (past or present)?
To what degree does your acceptance or rejection of a
particular theory indicate your own biases?
What theory best fits your own view of counselling and
therapy? What aspects of that theory are most appealing to you, and
What theory do you find most divergent from your own views?
What aspect of that theory is least appealing to you, and
What client groups or client concerns would you find easiest
to work with, and why? Would you choose not to work with
certain issues or populations?
Do limitations in your life experience or particular
prejudices hinder your ability to understand and relate to certain
clients? How might you overcome your personal limitations so that
you could counsel a wider range of clients more
What is your view on how problems develop?
Do you focus on the past, the here–and–now, or the future
when you try to understand or change something in your own life?
How does this tendency affect your preference for counselling
What type of relationship would you be most inclined to
assume with clients? What does your preference say about how you
believe change takes place?
If you wanted to change something in your life, how would
you make that change? Would you choose a similar or different
approach as a counsellor working with a client on the same
What models or techniques of intervention do you gravitate
towards? What about those interventions appeals to you? Why do
such interventions appeal to you more than others
How do you see cultural values influencing the counselling
process? Are you clear about the values of your culture and how
such values might influence your work as a
Given your culture and worldview, what value conflicts would
you most likely encounter as a counsellor? How would you resolve
Do you favour adopting one theoretical model or integrating
several models into a more eclectic, personalized approach? Now
that you have reviewed the range of counselling theories, what is
your personal inclination?
Specific Grading Criteria for
the Personal Reflection Paper
Review the reflections and responses in your
journal. Reflect on the interconnection between the personality,
values, and worldview of the counsellor and the assumptions,
values, and techniques of the various counselling
In your paper address this basic question: How do your
values, worldview, characteristics, and experiences affect your
assessment of the theoretical approaches and your view of yourself
as a potential counselor?
Include in this paper only material that you feel
comfortable discussing with your tutor. Keep learning of a
sensitive or vulnerable nature in your private journal.
Your report should be a maximum of 10 double–spaced typed
pages, using a standard 12–point font size.
This assignment requires demonstration of affective
learning, synthesis, and evaluation.
A well–prepared report will comprise three major parts:
introduction, body of the report, and conclusion. It will start
with a title page. This assignment is intended to develop your
skill in demonstrating affective learning, and in synthesizing and
evaluating psychological counselling theories as they apply to
you. The report is to be written in APA style, which you may
research by referring to The Publication Manual of the American
Psychological Association (5th ed., 2001), or the AUPR Writing
Skills resources. Although references are not required, at the
400–level you are expected to use APA format for the overall format
of all papers. The following grading matrix delineates the
expectations for this assignment.
||Concise summary of reflection paper.
|Wordy summary of reflection paper.
|Unclear or confusing summary.
|Incomplete or inaccurate summary.
||Concise statement of the rationale, purpose, and structure.
|A well–written, interesting rationale or background statement,
which includes either the purpose or the structure.
|A well–written rationale or background statement only.
|A wordy or poorly written statement of the rationale, purpose,
and structure; includes information either unnecessary or better
placed later in the paper or with neither purpose nor structure
|Identification of emergent themes related to personal values,
attitudes, worldview, experiences, etc. (affective
learning). Understanding the role of gender, family, culture,
ethnicity, socioeconomic status, etc. in shaping beliefs and values
(synthesis and evaluation).
|Both of these areas covered, but not fully.
|One of these key areas covered.
|Neither key area covered.
Links to Theoretical Orientation
|Establishment of links between personal experiences,
characteristics, worldview, and the theoretical models explored in
the course (affective learning). Identification of the
potential impact of those beliefs and values on the counselling
role and interactions with particular client groups (synthesis
|Both of these areas covered, but not fully.
|One of these key areas covered.
|No key areas covered.
|Discussion and Conclusions
||Clear, logical conclusions drawn from the body of the
paper. Review with well–founded recommendations for further
|Clear, logical conclusions drawn from the body of the paper,
with limited or no recommendations for further reflection.
|Unclear or illogical conclusions or no conclusion.
||Consistent use of the current APA style5 in title
page and body of the paper. Excellent organization, grammar,
spelling, and punctuation. (A well–organized report may use
headings and/or clear, logical transitions to shift from one
section to the next.)
|Consistent use of APA style. Generally well written (logical,
clear) with a few minor errors in grammar, spelling, or
|Logical and clear, but many grammar, spelling, and punctuation
|Some confusion or lack of clarity in organization and writing.
Note: The affective learning and synthesis and
evaluation descriptors that appear in parenthesis and in italics
within the Body: Personal Analysis and Body: Links to Theoretical
Orientation are referenced from Bloom’s Taxonomy.6
5 The most current is APA style, 5th Edition.
6 For more
information re Bloom’s Taxonomy, see http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/bloom.html