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The Self: Principal Tool of the Correctional Helper (From Correctional Assessment, Casework, and Counseling, P 53-72, 2001, Anthony Walsh, -- See NCJ-192641)

NCJ Number
Anthony Walsh
Date Published
20 pages
This chapter examines self-concept and human behavior and motivation.
Nothing is more important to the success or failure of a counseling relationship than the quality of the helper’s self. The self-concept is the product and producer of experience. Positive experiences lead to a positive self-concept, and a positive self-concept leads to further positive experiences. The opposite progression, often found in offenders, is also true. Various attributes are examined that characterize the professional criminal justice worker. These are a thorough knowledge of criminal behavior; ability to be realistic; not using offenders to satisfy needs; inspiring trust, confidence, and credibility; and ability to reach inward as well as outward. Deficiencies and weaknesses in any of the areas can be explored in the process of self-disclosure. To improve the self-concept, a person must accept a wide variety of experiences and integrate them into his or her self-concept. Every prospective counselor should experience self-disclosure in a number of sessions before actually practicing counseling, not only to gain valuable self-insight but also to experience the process in which he or she will be asking offenders to engage. The Johari Window is an excellent device for guiding self-disclosure of this type. The purpose of this activity is to improve self-exploration by disclosing to a partner various aspects of one’s self, and to give one some experience of what it is like to reveal oneself to a relative stranger. The topics of discussion are generalities, values and attitudes, feelings, identity, strengths and weaknesses, and effectiveness as a correctional helper. 23 references, 2 figures