Counseling specializations and multidisciplinary teams

Counseling Specializations and Multidisciplinary Teams


·           Counseling Specializations and Multidisciplinary Teams Scoring Guide.

·           APA Style and Format.

·           Unit 6 Assignment Template.


Counseling professionals from different specializations frequently need to work together to provide effective services to students, families, and individual clients. This assignment asks you to address this need in two parts, using what you have learned in this course so far. In Part 1, focus on theory and concepts, creating your own description and evaluation of your specialization, based on the historical and philosophical development of the counseling profession. In Part 2, apply these ideas to a particular case situation, focusing on how a professional in your specialization might collaborate with professionals in other specializations to help meet the needs of the client.


Part 1

Evaluate the role of your specialization within the field of counseling, beginning with your own description of the field itself, including both the history and the philosophies involved, explaining where your specialization fits, and describing how your specialization might collaborate with one other specialization that you describe. Cite the articles or other sources you use for the basis of your ideas.

In this part, specifically address the following questions:

·         How would you describe the key philosophies of the counseling profession: wellness, resilience, and prevention? Choose a wellness model, and explain how that model impacts the way in which counselors view clients and the concerns brought to counseling, including the kinds of information counselors need to have about their clients.

·         How have those key philosophies developed? Provide a brief historical perspective of the counseling profession focused on the key philosophies of wellness, resilience, and prevention. Include the beliefs and assumptions that support those philosophies.

·         How did your specialization develop? Identify your preferred counseling specialization and describe how the specialization emerged or the profession developed, including the key ideas on which it is based.

·         What other counseling specialization works well in collaboration with your specialization? Briefly explain the history of how this other specialization developed, highlighting the ways in which it complements yours.




Part 2

Now, select one of the following two cases, either Ashley or Paul, as a foundation for illustrating how professionals in different specializations might work together to meet the needs of the client you choose:



Ashley, a 12-year-old girl, admits to one of her teachers that she feels very depressed. Her mother has recently remarried, and Ashley is having difficulty adjusting to life with her stepfather and his two children. She is not able to concentrate in class or do her homework.


Paul, a 32-year-old man, seeks counseling at a community mental health center. He has recently returned from his third deployment to a combat zone. He reports drinking frequently and feeling anxious. Paul’s wife has tried to reassure him that everything is fine, but he is reluctant to leave the house and has missed more than a week of work.

For this part, apply what you have learned about counseling and how professionals can work together to explain how you might collaborate with a professional in another specialization to serve the client you chose.

In this part, complete the following:

·         Analyze how professionals from your specialization and from the other specialization you examined in Part 1 might collaborate to benefit the person and family in the case study you chose.

§  Describe the role and function of each of the professionals involved.

§  Identify the characteristics that make each role unique and make them effective counselors for this case.

·         Assess how to ensure good collaboration and communication between the professionals representing the two specializations.

§  Identify the type of outside agency that could assist this client to promote optimal wellness, providing two examples.

§  Explain the standards or criteria that you would use to evaluate the collaboration.

Review the scoring guide given in the resources to make sure you understand how this assignment will be graded.

Other Requirements

Your paper should meet the following requirements:

·         Resources: Cite at least three resources from the professional literature that you use as the basis of your ideas for Part 1.

·         APA formatting: Resources and citations should be formatted according to APA sixth edition style and formatting.

·         Font and Font size: Times New Roman, 12 point.

·         Length of Paper: Doing a thorough job on this assignment is likely to require approximately 3–4 typed, double-spaced pages.





Example Title: Unit 6: Counseling Specializations and Multidisciplinary Teams

Learner Name


Instructor Name










 Counseling Specializations and Multidisciplinary Teams

Start writing your introduction here (1–2 paragraphs).  An effective introduction prepares the reader by identifying the purpose of the paper and providing the organization of the paper. Please double-space and remember to indent all paragraphs throughout your paper (not block form!).  Aim to keep your writing objective by using 3rd person. Unless required for the specific assignment, please do not include a Table of Contents, as it is not APA style.  Review paper guidelines on page requirements and number of sources required (if provided).  Unless citing a classic work, aim to cite research articles and texts published within the past five years.  Please use headings throughout your paper that are consistent with the paper’s scoring guide (that way you ensure you are adequately addressing all required areas). Remember to double space between sentences.

When you finish writing your paper, re-read it to check for errors and make sure your ideas flow well.  A helpful tip is to read your paper aloud to yourself.  If it does not sound right to your ear—it is not working on paper!  Submit your papers to Turnitin (link in the course) to check for plagiarism. Also, remember as a Capella learner you have FREE access through iGuide to personal tutoring services with  DO NOT USE A WEB SITE TO COMPLETE THIS PAPER, USE ARTICLES FOUND IN THE CAPELLA LIBRARY.

Impact of a Wellness Model

 Explain how a particular wellness model impacts the way in which counselors view clients and their concerns, and identify the specific information about clients that must be gathered to effectively use that model.  You must have references to the literature to support this information including one chosen model.  The discussion should be a minimum of 3–5 sentences and should include at least one citation from your readings, applied in APA style.


Historical Perspective of Key Philosophies

In this section, provide a brief historical perspective of the counseling profession focused on the key philosophies of wellness, resilience, and prevention, identifying the assumptions on which the profession is based.  You must have references to the literature.  Consider the link between these three tenants and the overall purpose of integrating them with clients.  The discussion should be a minimum of 3–5 sentences and should include at least one citation from your readings, applied in APA style.

Key Concepts of Preferred Specialization

 Explain the development of your preferred counseling specialization, identifying key concepts which gave rise to that specialization.  Consider one’s specialization such as addictions, MFT, MHC or school.  The discussion should be a minimum of 3–5 sentences and should include at least one citation from your readings, applied in APA style.

Key Concepts of another Specialization

Explain the development of another specialization that might work well in collaboration with your own specialization, identifying the areas in which each specialization fills gaps in the other.  For example, if you are in MFT, consider MHC or school and the development of that specialization. The discussion should be a minimum of 3–5 sentences and should include at least one citation from your readings, applied in APA style.

Collaboration between Specializations

In this section, analyze how professionals from the two identified specializations might collaborate to benefit a particular client, identifying the value each professional provides for that client.  This is reflective based upon the knowledge that was discussed regarding preferred and additional specialization. Insight on the topic and examples of the value of working together for the benefit of the client chosen would be beneficial.  The discussion should be a minimum of 3–5 sentences.

Team Member Collaboration and Communication

Describe practices for ensuring effective collaboration and communication between team members and agencies working together to serve the needs of a particular client, suggesting criteria that could be used to evaluate the benefits of the collaboration for that client. Utilize textbook reading and course articles to explore this topic and provide examples of how members would collaborate to serve the client.  The discussion should be a minimum of 3–5 sentences and should include at least one citation from your readings, applied in APA style.


Please provide a conclusion that summarizes the main ideas of your paper.

References (example)

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological

            Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author. ISBN: 9781433805622.

Gladding, S. T., & Newsome, D. W. (2010). Clinical mental health counseling in community and

            agency settings (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.



Consult your APA manual for proper examples on citing and referencing APA style. The

Capella Writing Center also has helpful tutorials.  Below is a list of common errors;

please pay particular attention to:


  • Indenting.
  • Use of upper and lower case.
  • Italics.
  • Use of double-spacing.
  • Comma/period placement.



 THIS IS THE Resources

Gibson, D. M., Dollarhide, C. T., & Moss, J. M. (2010). Professional identity development: A grounded theory of transformational tasks of new counselorsCounselor Education and Supervision50(1), 21–38.


Mellin, E. A., Hunt, B., & Nichols, L. M. (2011). Counselor professional identity: Findings and implications for counseling and interprofessional collaborationJournal of Counseling and Development89(2), 140–147.


Myers, J. E., & Sweeney, T. J. (2008). Wellness counseling: The evidence base for practiceJournal of Counseling and Development86(4), 482–493.


American Counseling Association. (n.d.). Retrieved from

History of the Counseling Profession


·           Discussion Participation Scoring Guide.

·           Writing in Third Person.

·           American Counseling Association.




In contrast to counseling, the roots of wellness go back almost 2,000 years. The Greek philosopher Aristotle, writing in the 5th century B.C., was perhaps the first person to write about wellness. His goal in doing so was to offer a scientific explanation for health and illness and to define a model of good health in which one seeks for “nothing in excess.” During the Middle Ages, Descartes and others who defined the scientific revolution proposed a duality of mind and body that resulted in a fragmented approach to interpreting human functioning. Only within the latter half of the 20th century has a new paradigm in medicine emerged in which body, mind, and spirit are seen as integral to understanding both health and wellness (Larson, 1999). This new paradigm is consistent with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of health as “physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease” (1958, p. 1). Health in this context is a neutral concept, with wellness defined as a positive state of well-being on a continuum that ranges from illness at one extreme, through health in the middle, to high-level wellness at the other extreme (Travis &Ryan, 1988).

Professional counselors seek to encourage wellness, a positive state of well-being, through developmental, preventive, and wellness-enhancing interventions. Although these interventions are based in a philosophy of care, ethical practice requires the use of evidence-based techniques, hi fact, the^4C4 Code of Ethics (ACA, 2005) states clearly that “counselors have a responsibility to the public to engage in counseling practices that are based on rigorous research methodologies” (p. 9). Following a review of research in the counseling field, Sexton (2001) noted the urgent need for evidence-based models to inform clinical practice and remarked that “moving toward evidence-based counseling practice … has been, and continues to be, a struggle within counseling” (p. 499). The purpose of this article was to address that struggle in a positive manner, by presenting both wellness models based in counseling and a review of the evidence underlying those models.

Although several models of wellness have been proposed in the counseling literature (e.g., Chandler, Holden, &Kolander, 1992), 2005a in our search, we were able to locate empirical studies in support of only two counseling-based wellness models, the Wheel of Wellness (Myers, Sweeney, &Witmer, 2000; Sweeney &Witmer, 1991 ; Witmer &Sweeney, 1992) and the Indivisible Self (Myers &Sweeney,, 20T05e




As shown in Figure 1, spirituality is depicted as the center of the wheel and the most important characteristic of wellbeing. The components of spirituality include having a sense of meaning in life in addition to religious or spiritual beliefs and practices. Radiating from the center of the Wheel of Wellness is a series of 12 spokes in the life task of self-direction: sense of worth, sense of control, realistic beliefs, emotional awareness and coping, sense of humor, nutrition, exercise, self-care, stress management, gender identity, and cultural identity. These spokes help to regulate or direct the self as a person responds to the Adlerian life tasks of work and leisure, friendship, and love. The model is proposed as an ecological one in that life forces, such as the media and the government, are shown as affecting the wellness of individuals. In addition, we hypothesized that all of the components of wellness are interactive and that change in one area causes or contributes to changes in other areas of the model as well.

The Wheel ofWellness is the basis of an assessment instrument, the Wellness Evaluation of Lifestyle (WEL; Myers, Sweeney, &Witmer, 1998), and has been widely used in workshops, seminars, and empirical studies. The Wheel ofWellness remains a useful tool for professional counselors as a guide for both formal and informal assessment and for wellness-oriented counseling. Feedback we have received from professional counselors in the United States and other countries suggests that the placement of spirituality as the core characteristic of a well person has an intuitive and almost universal appeal. However, after years of study using the Wheel of Wellness model and the WEL, statistical analyses failed to support the hypothesized circumplex structure and the centrality of spirituality relative to other components of wellness.




Nearly 6 years spanned the time between the development of the structural model by Hattie et al. (2004) and an explanation of the factors that defined the model. During that time, we sought to make sense of the difference between the theory and the empirical findings, particularly the emergence of Wellness as a single, preeminent factor. Eventually, using Adlerian theory as an organizing principle proved to be the key both to providing continuity with the earlier, theoretical Wheel of Wellness model and to providing a coherent explanation of the new structural model. Adler (1927/1954) was emphatic in his belief in the unity and indivisibility of the self, observing that human beings, are more than the sum of our parts and cannot be divided. This foundation of holism became the explanation of the new model in which the self is at the core of wellness and is depicted graphically (and ultimately statistically) as indivisible.

It was difficult to make sense of the five second-order factors of the self-Creative, Coping, Social, Essential, and Physicalbecause, as do most researchers, we found it hard to abandon the original theoretical groupings of the 17 components of wellness. These same 17 components were now clearly defined as third-order factors but with different interrelationships than we had originally hypothesized. Defining the second-order factors required




The WEL and the 5F-Wel have been used in multiple studies over the past 15 years, primarily as outcome measures or dependent variables, and have been used to study wellness in relation to diverse psychological constructs and demographic indices. They have also been used for program evaluation and to examine the success of wellness counseling interventions. In this section, studies of wellness are organized into five main sections: wellness of noncounselor populations; wellness of counselors-in-training, professional counselors, and counselor educators; correlates of wellness; cross-cultural and cross-national studies; and outcome research. (Note. Doctoral dissertations are listed in Table 2 and referenced in the text by date and with the identifier DD but are not included in the reference list because of space limitations.) Additional research and published studies on wellness using the Wheel of Wellness and IS-Wel models were reviewed. These studies were obtained through searches of the PsycINFO database, using the Web-based search engine Google Scholar, and through personal communication with study authors. Because of the large number of studies, only a brief mention of major findings is included in this article. A more extensive review of wellness counseling research and analysis of studies may be found in Myers and Sweeney (2005a).

Wellness of Various Noncounselor Populations

Participants in studies of wellness have included elementary school students in the third through sixth grades and middle and high school students (adolescents); undergraduates; graduate students (described in the next section); and young, midlife, and older adults. Populations of interest have included members of various ethnic groups, gay men and lesbian women, and clinical samples.

Children and adolescents. Villalba and Myers (2008) have been conducting research to assess levels of wellness among elementary, middle, and high school students and among teachers and staff in all three school settings. An initial study using the 5F-Wel-E with 55 elementary school students validated the usefulness of this measure with young children (Villalba &Myers, 2008). An additional dissertation study is currently being designed to examine “social, emotional, and academic gains of children paired with mentors from the same race versus children paired with mentors from a different race” (R. Mason, personal communication, May 11, 2006).

Studies of adolescents completed by Dixon Rayle (DD, 2002), Mitchell (DD, 2001), and Moorhead (published as Hartwig, DD, 2003) have demonstrated the usefulness of studying wellness factors in this age group. Both Dixon Rayle and Mitchell studied minority populations. Dixon Rayle, in a study of 462 adolescents, found significant differences in wellness across ethnic groups. Mitchell determined that both acculturation and wellness were significant factors affecting the self-concept of 200 Caribbean American adolescents.

Undergraduates. The preponderance of research studies on wellness have used undergraduate students as participants. Osborn (2005) completed a comprehensive review of these studies and concluded that physical and social aspects of wellness received primary attention in the literature, yet spirituality and coping behaviors were areas in which undergraduates consistently experienced lower wellness levels. On the basis of data from 511 freshman students, Enochs (DD, 2002) concluded that their level of wellness can be positively affected by participation in a residence hall program designed specifically for freshman. Such studies are encouraging, because Myers and Mobley’s (2004) analysis of data for 1,567 students revealed that undergraduates experienced lower wellness levels than nonstudent adults in most areas. Moreover, nontraditional students of color scored lower than Caucasian students on a majority of the wellness scales in that study.

Myers and Bechtel (2004) found significant differences (based on age and gender) in wellness levels of 179 Ist-year cadets at West Point, with younger cadets and men reporting higher wellness levels for multiple wellness factors. Gibson and Myers (2006) replicated this study with 234 cadets at The Citadel, a military college in South Carolina. Few differences were found between the sets of cadets (from West Point and The Citadel) in these two studies; however, in both studies, cadets scored higher than available norm groups on a majority of wellness factors.

Nonstudent adults across the life span. Studies with nonstudent adult populations are described in other sections of this review; these include doctoral dissertation studies by Amery (DD, 2005), Connolly (DD, 2000), Degges-White (DD, 2003), Dew (DD, 2000), Dice (DD, 2002), Gill (DD, 2005), Hutchinson (DD, 1996), Mobley (DD, 2005), and Tanigoshi (DD, 2004). Recently Myers and Degges-White (2007) completed a study of 142 older adults, with an average age of 83 years, who were living in an upscale retirement community in the Southeast. They observed that the wellness scores for their study participants were higher than the wellness scores for a comparable norm group of younger adults, and they underscored the need for more studies of wellness for individuals both in later life and across the life span. Harwell (DD, in preparation) examined teacher effectiveness and wellness and found no relationship between these variables in a small sample of 54 student teachers.

Ethnic groups. Several studies of wellness in minority populations have established the usefulness of the WEL and the 5FWeI in cultural studies. These studies have examined wellness in relation to factors such as ethnic identity and acculturation of Native Americans (Garrett, DD, 1996), Korean Americans (Korean translation; Chang, DD, 1998), African Americans (Spurgeon, DD, 2002), and Caribbean American adolescents (Mitchell, DD, 2001). In the following sections, these study findings are reported regarding their relationship to wellness correlates such as acculturation and ethnic identity.


Noting the need for educators to focus on the mental, physical, and emotional stability of students and to evaluate their wellness, Hill (2004) stated that “well counselor educators may be more likely to produce well counselors” (p. 136). Several authors, notably Mahoney (1997), have emphasized the need for all professional helpers to devote attention to their personal wellness. Given this need, it was surprising that we were able to discover only five completed studies of wellness in counseling students, one study of wellness in professional counselors, and two recent, unpublished studies of counselor educator wellness.

Myers et al. (2003) assessed wellness among 263 counseling graduate students and found that doctoral students reported higher wellness levels than did entry-level students and that both groups of students reported higher wellness levels than did nonstudent adults. Roach (DD, 2005) surveyed 204 master’s-level counseling students at three points in their training programs to investigate the influence on wellness of the length of time in then” program. Although monotonie trend analysis revealed no differences in wellness over time, students who reported that their counseling training program offered a course in wellness had significantly higher wellness levels than did students who had no access to a course on wellness. Riley (DD, 2005) studied the relationship between wellness of counselor education students and attitudes toward personal counseling among 49 graduate students. She found a positive correlation between attitudes toward personal counseling and wellness and found that attitudes toward personal counseling predicted wellness, although the converse was not true.

Smith (DD, 2006) examined the relationship between psychological disturbance and social desirability among 204 entering master’s-level counseling students. She found a statistically significant negative relationship between level of psychological disturbance and wellness level. However, she found no relationship between wellness and social desirability.

Moorhead, Gill, Barrio, and Myers (2008) have initiated a study to determine the effect of forgiveness on the wellness of counseling students. Their preliminary findings revealed a significant and strong inverse relationship between revenge and wellness. Morgan is examining counselor trainee perspectives on counselor wellness using information provided by participants in focus groups from formal wellness assessments with the goal of determining how counseling training programs can better promote wellness among counseling students (M. Morgan, personal communication, May 19,2006). Finally, in a comparative study of medical residents and their spouses, Powers, Myers, Tingle, and Powers (2004) found that medical residents scored higher than counseling doctoral students on work satisfaction and lower on realistic beliefs.

Using a sample of 289 practicing male professional counselors, Mobley (DD, 2005) studied wellness as it related specifically to gender role conflict (GRC) and counselor training. He found that male professional counselors experienced both less GRC and higher wellness levels than did other groups of men; however, GRC did not predict wellness level. Neither variable was found to be related to the accreditation status of the training programs. Gerard and Myers are currently examining data comparing the wellness of professional counselors, professional quality of life, and career sustaining behaviors, with the expectation of providing data that will provide insight into how to enhance the wellness of counselors and reduce their experience of burnout (G. Lawson, personal communication, October 29, 2006).

Wester, Trepal, and Myers (in press) examined wellness among 180 counselor educators and found higher wellness levels for individuals in their sample when compared with Myers et al.’s (2003) study of counseling students. The variables higher levels of perceived stress and being the parent of a higher number of children




Models of wellness based in counseling were first introduced more than 15 years ago and have evolved from a theoretical to an empirical foundation. In particular, both the Wheel of Wellness and the Indivisible Self models have been the foundation for numerous studies of wellness as they relate to a variety of variables and across diverse populations. We reviewed multiple studies that are based in these models, and they have implications for additional research as well as for counseling practice. Following an extensive review of wellness counseling studies, Ginter (2005) noted that there are “sound reasons for viewing wellness as more than just a topic of study. … A consideration of wellness has real potential to serve as a primary contributor to counseling’s future” (p. 153).

Studies of wellness represent every aspect of the entire life span; yet, there has clearly been a disproportionate emphasis on populations of convenience. As in the field of psychology, studies of undergraduates predominate in the wellness counseling literature, and relatively few studies of nonstudent adults have been conducted. The results of the studies that have been done are promising, yet the results, to date, are equivocal. Although research results offer promise for discriminating within and between groups relative to wellness factors, current knowledge remains insufficient as a base for wellness counseling interventions for all adults. Certain groups of adults are clearly at risk regarding specific aspects of wellness. For example, low-income and ethnic group members uniformly score lower on physical wellness factors than do Caucasians, and there seems to be a positive relationship between advancing age and wellness levels. Limited studies and restricted variability within study samples make these tentative conclusions important areas for future study. Two broad areas of research seem important for life-span studies, specifically, the wellness levels of adults across the life span and the wellness levels of children.

It is noteworthy that few studies of children’s wellness have been conducted. This is partly due to the difficulties inherent in dealing with minors for research purposes. The dearth of studies on children’s wellness may also be attributed to the lack of suitable assessment instruments. The recent availability of the 5F-Wel-E and 5F-Wel-T will, it is hoped, help to change this situation. Early studies with these measures have shown them to be valid and useful in discriminating wellness factors among children and adolescents; yet, the pool of studies is so meager that few conclusions may be made. As noted by Holcomb-McCoy (2005) following a review of studies on children’s wellness levels:

Studies investigating the role of wellness in the development of children and in their later adult development are needed as well as the development of models of wellness specifically for children…. Surely, if counselors are to assist clients to live better and longer, the promotion of wellness must begin with our youngest clients, (p. 65)

In addition to developing a better understanding of the dynamics of wellness across the life span, studies of specific populations and subgroups remain an urgent need. With only two studies of wellness among gay, lesbian, and bisexual populations (these being with adults), it is clear that additional studies of sexual minorities, particularly adolescents, are needed. Dew et al. (2006) noted that a wellness approach is needed to depathologize sexual minorities and to inform the development of strength-based interventions with this population. Research that informs practice clearly should be a priority.

Although numerous studies of wellness among cultural minority populations have been conducted, most have used undergraduate students as participants and most have examined only African Americans and Caucasians. Little to nothing is known about the wellness levels of cultural groups across the life span or about variation across cultural groups, including Hispanics, Asian Americans, and Native Americans. Lee (2005) observed that

much of what is known about the status of ethnic groups of color is framed within a deficit context. Wellness offers a way to reframe that status and consider it from a positive and developmental perspective. To date, few aspects of wellness among people of color have been examined, and wellness has been linked primarily to ethnic identity and acculturation, (p. 114)

It is clear that studies of the wellness levels of cultural groups in relation to additional variables, such as spirituality and social support, are needed to promote understanding of the unique strengths of these varied populations. Other minorities, including persons with disabilities and individuals from various faith traditions, continue to experience both discrimination in society and a lower level of service from professional counselors. Again, an understanding of the strengths of these individuals and how those strengths can help them deal with life challenges is needed as a basis for clinical practice. 

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