Counseling competency is built from personal interaction and everyday life activities occurring through mental health professionals’ career development. The role of counseling is focused on evaluating factors that generate conflicts in the life of people. Mental health counselors who work with adolescents involved in the legal system need to incorporate coping skills to decrease their work-related stress. The justice system in America has identified an increase in juvenile delinquency and the predicament of overcrowded penal facilities. The Center for Court Innovation identified the need for special court programs and the integration of therapeutic services at a community level. The information presented in this research answered the question, what is the experience of counselors working in the court system with juvenile delinquents? The research purpose was to understand counselors’ personal interactions, client relationships, professional competence, and professional growth. A qualitative method approach was employed to identify the experience of mental health counselors working in the court system with juvenile delinquents and to fill the gap of research. The theoretical framework for this study was grounded in Albert Bandura’s social learning theory. The population chosen for the study was mental health counselors who completed a master degree in counseling or social studies from an accredited program. The sample population was ten mental health counselors including social workers providing psychotherapeutic treatment for juveniles, who were, at any time during the treatment, involved with the legal system. Utilizing thematic analysis, five themes emerged from the participants' accounts of counselors working with juveniles in the justice system: (1) the role and importance of rigorous academic preparation and continued training for mental health counselors (2) relationships and responsibilities towards clients (3) counselors’ needs for support from administration and supervision (4) constant challenges with the court system itself (5) attitude towards personal maintenance and self-care. Based on the findings of this study, further research is needed. Results indicated mental health counselors’ challenges in their work environment and the needs for self-compassion and continued training and education. The findings revealed the need for future research in areas such as the integration of court programs and the role of counselors in the legal system.
|Commitee:||McAlister, Joann, Mancuso, Leah|
|Department:||School of Social and Behavioral Sciences|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-B 82/8(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Counseling Psychology, Behavioral psychology, Occupational psychology, Mental health|
|Keywords:||Burnout, Compassion fatigue, Generic approach, Justice system, Juvenile delinquent, Mental health counselor|
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