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In the field of psychology there are many positions and jobs, each having their own specific purpose and require individuals with specific skill sets. For the purpose of this essay a job analysis will be provided for the position of mental health counselor; what a mental health counselor does and the skills that an individual is required to have and maintain in order to gain employment as a mental health counselor. What is a Mental Health Counselor? “Counselors work in diverse community settings designed to provide a variety of counseling, rehabilitation, and support services” (United States Department of Labor, 2010, para.1). The job description, tasks involved, requirements, and KSAOs [KSAOs stands for-“knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics” (Spector, 2008, p.

57)] will vary depending and the specialty the counseling position falls under. The United States Department of Labor website (2010) provides descriptions for different types of counseling positions; stating that “mental health counselors work with individuals, families, and groups to address and treat mental and emotional disorders and to promote mental health” (United States Department of Labor, 2010, para.9). A job analysis will be conducted using a job-oriented analysis and a person-oriented analysis, in order to provide a more detailed description of the job and the individual skills required to obtain a position in this career field. Job Analysis: Job-Oriented and Person-Oriented Methods “The job-oriented analysis provides information about the nature of tasks done on the job” (Spector, 2009, p. 55); this type of analysis provides information not only on the tasks of the job, but describes the functions of those tasks as well.An easy way to describe a job when performing a job-oriented analysis is to follow a hierarchy, and this particular “hierarchy contains five levels of specificity; position, duty, task, activity, and element” (Brannick et al as cited in Spector, 2008). While a job-oriented analysis provides descriptions and information about the duties and tasks involved with a job the person-oriented analysis “provides a description of the characteristics, or KSAOs, necessary for a person to successfully perform that job” (Spector, 2008 p.

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57).“KSAOs are the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics necessary for a job; the first three listed focus on job performance while the other characteristics relate to job adjustment and satisfaction as well as performance” (Spector, 2008 p. 57). Dual Analysis: Mental Health Counselor Basic job-oriented analysis Spector (2008) defines a position as being “a collection of duties that can be performed by a single individual” (p. 56).

The position of mental health counselor is a broad one, with many different specialties to choose from.Though many of the duties and tasks required by this position transcend across specialties, there are specific responsibilities that differ from specialty to specialty; substance abuse counselor, marriage and family counselor, and adolescent counselor are a few of the specialties that fall under the title of mental health counselor all of which hold the position of counselor. Duties are the main requirement of any given position.

Spector (2008), states that “a duty is a major component of a job which is accomplished by performing one or more associated tasks” (p.56).Tasks can be further broken down into individual pieces or activities, which need to be accomplished in order to complete a given task. Spector (2008), describes activities as “individual parts that make up a task” (Spector, 2008, p. 57), and those activities are made up of different actions which are also called elements. Elements are the building blocks of any particular job requirement. The main objective of a mental health counselor is to “assist individuals, groups, and families in seeking optimal mental health” (Education Online, 2003).The duty of a mental health counselor is to help people achieve good mental health by helping others to deal with their mental and emotional issues (disorders) using different types of therapy.

Mental health counselors help guide people through depression, addiction, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, poor self image (low self-esteem), the anxiety and stress of aging, parenting, family problems, marital and relationship problems, and even job and career concerns (Education Online, 2003).Specific tasks and duties are determined by the counseling specialty. The position of mental health counselor (in general terms), has a duty to not only promote good mental health, but to help individuals, families, and groups work through mental and emotional instabilities through therapy. The rest of the job requirements focus on a person’s (the individual who wants to e the counselor) education, knowledge, skills, and characteristics.

Basic People-Oriented Analysis.In order to become a mental health counselor an individual needs to obtain at least a Master’s degree in order to become a licensed counselor. This type of job not only requires a certain level of education, it also requires individuals to have certain characteristics as well. The longer an individual works, the greater their skill and ability to provide positive outcomes increases. An individual seeking this type of employment needs to be interested in helping others.Individuals need to come across as being trustworthy, or patients will not open up to the counselor, no matter how long they are in therapy.

Individuals who chose this career field need to be able to work independently while still maintaining a good working relationship with other specialist that work alongside counselors, such as psychiatrist and social workers. Individuals who want to become counselors need to maintain a high standard in regard to ethical practices and codes of conduct.Mental health counselors need to also posses great communication and observation skills; having knowledge about different cultures is also a key requirement when working in this field. Without good communication skills, a therapist would not be able to relate to their clients let alone win their trust, respect, and confidence. It is during times of communication that a counselor needs to be very observant, paying attention to not only verbal language but to the client’s body language as well.It is also important for the counselor to have some knowledge about the demographic they will be working with, in order to get an idea of the types of people who will be seeking therapy/counseling.

A counselor can have all the communication and observation skills in world and still not be able to connect with their clients if they do not have at least a basic understanding of the cultural background that their patients are coming from; what one culture may perceive as normal or polite, another culture may perceive as abnormal or rude.Reliability and Validity of Analysis There several different purposes for the use of a job analysis; if an analysis if good for one purpose doesn’t necessarily mean it will be valid for another purpose. The reliability of a job analysis depends on several factors, one of which is how the data was collected to support that particular analysis.Based on the information provided and means by which the data collected there are two possible purposes for the job analysis provided in this essay for mental health counseling; a basic job description or possible basis for a greater analysis used for recruitment and selection of employees. The majority of the data collected was done over the internet and by reading books, there were no surveys of people who currently hold the above listed position, nor was any actual work environment researched or monitored.This fact brings down the value of the analysis along with the reliability of the analysis for any other purpose. The data was collected from several sources, only a few of which would be considered as valid resources.

Performance Appraisal Methods Performance appraisal methods are vital to most organizations; however it is difficult to apply this concept to mental health counselor. The majority of individuals who go into this career field do so as their own employer; providing therapy and counseling services to their community through their own private practice.There are individuals who do decide to work in a combined practice with other mental health and medical professionals or within an organization such as, residential treatment facilities or state run mental health hospitals.

Conclusion In closing, a job as a mental health counselor is a position that has many duties and requires an individual who wants to help people and has a willingness to continue their education even after graduating college; staying educated and knowledgeable about the field or specialty that the individual wants to work as well as staying update on any changes within their work demographic [economy for example, can be a great cause of stress or a huge relief from it depending on how good or bad it is at any given time];Having knowledge of this will allow for the counselor to prepare for and have a better understanding of the triggers that may be causing some of the issues with potential clients. This knowledge and understanding will also be a key factor in how well they relate to the people who come to them for help.In order to provide a client(s) with positive and productive therapy the counselor needs to be able to communicate well and be very observant; having an understanding of their client’s verbal communication as well as their body language, is crucial in order to be able to create a treatment plan and course of therapy that would be beneficial to that individual (or group); what works well for person may not work for another.

References:Spector, P. (2008). Industrial and organizational psychology(5th ed). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc United States Department of Labor. (2010).

Bureau of labor statistics. Retrieved on July 1, 2011 from http://www. bls. gov/oco/ocos067. htm Education Online. (2003).

Mental health counselor. Retrieved om July 1. 2011 from com/articles/careers/medical_careers/mental_health_counselor#

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