A. PORTFOLIO CONSTRUCTION 1. INTRODUCTION A portfolio has diverse meaning and purpose to different people and situations. For instance in the teaching field, a portfolio would be, according to Collins (1991), “they will document how education programmes have enhanced the learning and teaching of practicing and prospective teachers who have participated…. ” Spandel and Gulham (2002) rightly defines a portfolio as, “a collection of one’s achievements or growth. ” It sets out to find out what one claims to know, what skills have been acquired over a period of time.
A portfolio is a more structured assessment instrument that is based on activities that represent actual progress and reflects real life situations. Paulson, Paulson & Meyer (1991) reiterates by saying, “it is a purposeful collection of student’s work that exhibits the student’s efforts, progress and achievements in one or more areas of the curriculum. ” In the writers situation the portfolio will provide evidence of learning outcomes, experiences and a cohesion of the counseling theories and practice principles learnt.
The portfolio consists of 3 cases among 5 cases, which were observed at Musasa Project, which is an organization that takes the responsibility of eradicating domestic violence where the trainee counselor is employed as an administrator. Musasa project is a non-governmental organization established in 1988, this was in response to the high rate of domestic violence incidences in Zimbabwe. Their vision is to have a society where women live free from domestic violence and can fully participate in development.
Among other activities carried out at Musasa Project, they provide counselling services to alleviate the suffering of women and children from domestic violence. Musasa gets referrals from the Police, Courts, other networking organisations and self-referrals who get to know about Musasa Project through the media, press, relatives, friends and neighbours. Also included in the portfolio are memos of attachment requests, meeting minutes on the attachment and any other relevant documents.
Please note that pseudo names and addresses to protect clients’ privacy will be used and each client who would have agreed for the trainee counsellor to observe their session will be asked for permission to document for the purposes of the portfolio. 2. OBJECTIVES The portfolio as an agent of growth in counseling has objectives that need to be fulfilled, some of them are as follows: i. Portfolio a. To provide the opportunity for the trainee counselor to demonstrate what they know and are able to do in a manner that reflects different aspects of counseling. . To record particular learning experiences of the trainee counselor. With reflective reports that reflect the trainee’s approach to utilization of theory and practice. ii. Student – trainee counselor a. To utilize the learning process so as to acquire knowledge and experience in the counseling field. b. To formulate and present a document that will facilitate assessment in confidence and growth in counseling. c. To learn and identify counseling theories and practices in sessions through observations. PRIMARY EVIDENCE
B. CLIENTS’ DOCUMENTATION 1. CASE 1 1. 1. Client’s Particulars Name:Nokuthula Ndlovu Date of Birth:14 February 1968 Sex:Female Marital Status:Married Occupational status:Vendor – selling vegetables Employment status:Not employed Standard of education:‘O’ Level Residential address:70369 Phelandaba, Bulawayo Referral agent:Media – radio 1. 2Referral Details Musasa Project has some radio programs where they inform the public on a variety of issues pertaining to Gender Based Violence with an emphasis on domestic violence.
These programs are normally question and answer sessions and a lot of information is disseminated. Some of the issues discussed are the domestic violence act and how it is used as an instrument in dealing with domestic violence cases especially at the Police stations and at the courts. Accessing the protection orders is also run down for the public, and many more issues. At the end of the program a representative from Musasa gives the listeners the physical address, telephone numbers and hours of business and invites them to visit the offices for more information.
This particular client said that she had listened to a program where Musasa was discussing on the right to claiming maintenance for the up keep of the children and the right to have part of the property owned by a couple shared in the event of a divorce. What caught her attention was the fact that Musasa works with other organizations in their endeavor to give the clients a full package of the service including legal assistance for free. The client had told herself that she was not going to fight her husband at all because she had no money to pay a lawyer so she was going to take whatever the husband gives her. . 3. Genogram for Nokuthula Ndlovu 1. 4. SESSION 1 The joining stage The trainee counselor observed the counselor preparing the room for the session. She opened the windows and the room was well ventilated and bright. The counseling chairs were set in such a way that the counselor and the client were facing each other. The counselor was called by reception to say there is a client in the waiting room. The counselor fixed the room getting rid of scrap paper that was lying around and closed all files on the desk.
The counselor went to the waiting room and greeted the client and showed her into the counseling room. After they had sat down she greeted the client again and welcomed her to Musasa, and then introduced herself to the client. The client quickly intercepted and introduced herself to the counselor and wanted to start on her problem. Politely the counselor asked the client for permission to first introduce the trainee counselor and request for permission for the trainee to attend the counseling session. The client had no problem with that.
The counselor then informed the client that she is a counselor at Musasa and elaborated on a credentials that she holds a degree in counseling from ZOU and a certificate in Systemic counseling from Contact Family Counseling Centre. The counselor then requested some personal details from the client, full name, ID number and home address and explained that these are for recording of statistics for the donor and it does not mean that her problems will be made public or shared. While doing all this, the counselor was smiling and having light conversation with the client on the hot whether and keeping eye contact.
The counselor proceeded to explain the issue of confidentiality and its limits, time to be spent in the session and the referral process. Permission to take down notes during the session was sought and the client wanted to know where those notes will be taken to and the counselor explained that the notes are for her to keep abreast with what the client is saying. Presenting of problems The client who is 42 years old woman and has been married to a 65 year old man for the past 18 years with 4 children presented her problem as follows: •Husband out of the country in Canada and has stopped supporting the children who are all of school going age.
First daughter is in Form 5, second son is in Form 3, third daughter is in Form 1 and forth daughter is in grade 5. •Husband has sent divorce papers to the wife and reasons given for the divorce was that he wants to be free and have control of his life. •Clients seeks legal advice on the implications of a divorce. •Husband wanted children to live a high class life and now the wife has no means of maintaining that kind of life and this is frustrating the children. •Client is HIV positive and has not told the children because she is not sure how they would take it. She is not sure how to tell them and any other member of her family.
Summary After the session the counselor and trainee counselor had a debriefing on the session. The trainee counselor was given the opportunity to analyze the session. The trainee counselor felt that the joining stage was handled very well and rapport was built with the client but felt that too much time was taken in general talk. The counselor explained that that was a good observation but with this particular client it was necessitated by the fact that the client was very tense and needed to be relaxed and the counselor was observing the shift, which took longer than normal.
That also gave the counselor time to assess the clients way of thinking and come to her level so as to avoid judging and advising. Had that not been done the client might have failed to open up leading to failure to get through to her. The trainee counselor had observed that the counselor had introduced herself and disclosed her credentials, which was ethically sound. The counselor had requested details from the client and explained why she needed them this was all in a bid to win the client’s trust in the counselor.
The client was highly respected and permission was sought from her for taking down notes, the time to be spent in the session and for personal details for statistics. The trainee counselor had observed that the client started to relax when she felt respected. The trainee counselor felt that the counselor had not widened the view of the problem further because there was a lot of clarification that was to be sought from the client. The counselor said that this had been a crisis counseling session where the immediate needs of the client had to be addressed first.
Had she probed further on other issues the client could have become impatient because she had told the counselor what assistance she required and bearing in mind that the counseling session is based on the clients agenda. Talking about other issues that were not priority to the client at that point in time would have been pursuing the counselor’s agenda. An appointment was set for the next day at 1400 hours. Homework The counselor went on to give information on Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) and The Bulawayo Legal Projects Centre (BLPC).
The client then chose to be referred to ZWLA, a referral letter was written. 1. 5. Reflective report Personal Weaknesses •Stating the obvious – the trainee counselor observed that the counselor seemed to ignore some of the non-verbal communication of the client, which could have helped to widen the view of the problem. •The counselor forgot to display the “Session in progress” sign on the door hence there was a knock on the door from a colleague during counseling. Personal Strengths •The crisis need of the client was immediately addressed without delay. Various counseling techniques were displayed and they were: Active listening – nodding of the head and the ‘hmm –hmm’ were expressed as encouragers for the client to continue talking. •Commenting on the process – when the client cried and the counselor did not ignore that but commented on her observation. •Aligning – the counselor aligned with the client in a way that showed the client that she has the counselor’s full attention. •Asking questions – open ended questions were asked and they helped the client to elaborate on issues and closed question were also used when necessary. •Summarizing – the counselor summarized what the client had been aying and this helped the client to get thing into perspective. Interview Plan for next session The counselor and trainee counselor worked on a plan that could be considered for the next session with the client, and these were brought out: •What kind of stories was the husband told about the wife for him to take children for a DNA test? •What were the results of the DNA and what did they change in their relationship? •Has the client spoken to the children about the divorce? •Who knows about the problems for the husband’s family? •Who is giving support to get through this? What does she view as the advantages and disadvantages of divorcing? •What reason did the husband cite for the divorce? 2. CASE 2 2. 1. Client’s Particulars Name:Cornelius Moyo Date of Birth:20 October 1968 Sex:Male Marital Status:Married Occupational status:Bank Manager Employment status:Employed Standard of education:University graduate Residential address:No. 4 Colney, Tylone Close, Matshemhlophe Bulawayo Referral agent:Flyer from Trade Fair Exhibition 2. 2. Referral Details Musasa Project has disseminated information using all channels possible including the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).
Musasa Project had a stand at the last trade fair and the end of April 2010. This is used as an avenue to disseminate information on gender based violence and the services that Musasa offers. Pamphlets, flyers, posters and brochures are distributed. Musasa takes advantage of the business days of the trade fair to disseminate information to the business sector and professionals. Pamphlets are distributed to other stands for stand minders and staff to read. All enquiries and questions are entertained at the Musasa stand. Counselors’ business cards are distributed to interested parties.
At the exhibition success stories of people that have sought help and had realized success in their problems are invited by the organization to be at the stand so that they share their stories with others and encourage them to seek help Musasa when ever necessary. Some of Musasa clients value the services so much that they are now part of the Musasa family and are always willing to share their stories. The client got one of the pamphlets that had been left at their stand by one of the Musasa Project staff and had an interest to talk to someone about his problem. . 3. Genogram for Cornelius Moyo 2. 4. SESSION 2 The joining stage The counselor, after greetings introduced the trainee counselor and why she was there. The client agreed and the issue of documenting for the purposes of learning for the trainee counselor. The counselor thanked him and proceeded to mention the issue of confidentiality and its limitations as a reminder. The counselor informed client that the session will take about 45 minutes. Permission to take down notes was sought. Presenting of problems •The client wanted assistance to save his marriage. To learn skills of opening doors of communication with his wife. •To improve his relationship his children. Feedback from the last counseling session: The client had opted to break the ice by sending his wife flowers and deliver them to the office himself and invite her for dinner so that they could talk and invite her to Musasa for a couple counseling session, he also wanted to practice non violent communication. The client reported that he had taken the flowers to his wife and she seemed to be very happy to receive the flowers from him.
She even accepted his invitation to take her out for dinner though he failed to convince the wife to come for a couple counseling session yet. Interview Plan •Find out how client’s childhood was could be contributing to the situation now. •To explore how their support systems contribute to the problem •How is communication style at the moment what does improving it or changing it mean to him. •To explore how they have been solving their problems. Theoretical Approaches •The counselor utilized the psychodynamics approach – she asked the client if he would like to talk about how he grew up and his experiences as a child. The systems theory was utilized – the counselor and client explored the support systems and their effect. The counselor utilized Systemic counseling that involves the whole family system in the counseling process. These systems may affect the client’s problem in a negative of positive way. The systems that were involved in this particular session were: •Mother subsystem – the client and his mother seem to be too close and a comparison between her and the client’s wife have been a source of some of the client’s problems. •In-law subsystem – the client felt that the in-laws had a negative effect on his marriage. Friends subsystems – some of the friends are being too involved in the client’s affairs. Techniques •Aligning – the counselor was facing the client and thus giving the client full attention. •Taking a one-down-position – the client was asked to enlighten the counselor how they have handled their problems in the past. •Active listening – encouraging the client to go no giving him the impression that he had 100% attention of the counselor. •Asking questions – leading question and open ended questions were asked to assist the client to reflect. Clarifying – issues were clarified to ensure that the counselor had understood well. •Reflecting feelings – the counselor made the client aware that when he speaks about his mother he has a glow on him. •Paraphrasing – the counselor restated in her words what she heard to let the client know that she wanted to understand. •Commenting on the process – the counselor was able to see the non-verbal communication. •Summarizing – she summarized to clarify right understanding of what had been said . •Silence – the client was given time to process questions and thoughts before he put them into words.
Summary After the session the counselor and trainee counselor had a debriefing on the session. The trainee counselor noted that the ground rules were set again despite the fact that the client was a revisit. The counselor emphasized that it was important to do so on every visit that a client comes so that there are no surprises within the session. The trainee counselor had observed that the counselor had given a brief background of the previous session. The counselor explained that it is very important for the client to feel that the counselor had not forgotten what they spoken about.
The trainee counselor noted also that the client’s agenda was being pursued because the client spoke about what he had opted to do from the last session there by having total ownership of the outcome of the sessions. Homework The client opted to be given another invitation letter for his wife to come for a counseling session and possible non-violent ways of doing so were explored. Adjournment It was agreed that the client was going to call the office whenever they were ready to come. Interview plan for next session
The counselor and trainee counselor worked on a plan that could be considered for the next session with the client, these were the points: If he is able to bring his wife for a couple counseling – •How did the problems start? •When did they start? •Who knows about the problem? •Who/what worsens the problem? •Who/what eases the problem? •What has been done about it? 2. 5. Reflective report Personal Weaknesses •The counselor did not adhere to the agreed time for the duration of the session. Personal Strengths •The client was assisted to identify his problems. The client was able to bring the unconscious into conscious. •Tasks and solutions were from the client not the counselor. •Ability to avoid advising the client. •The counselor had the ability to control the session even though the client seemed to want to take charge. •The counselor has a good way of asking questions that are not confrontational but lead the client to think. •The counselor was self aware. 3. CASE 3 3. 1. Client’s Particulars Name:Suzan Ncube Date of Birth:6 April 1971- Sex:Female Marital Status:Living together Employment status:Not Employed
Standard of education:Grade Seven Residential address:A67 Njube Bulawayo Referral agent:ZRP Station 3. 2. Referral Details: Musasa Project trains the police on domestic violence and the functions of the domestic violence act. The networking relationship between the organization and the police is strengthened by timeous visits to the police and refresher courses that are held. The police refer clients to Musasa for further counseling and assistance. And in turn Musasa refers clients to them whenever necessary. 3. 3. Genogram for Suzan Ncube 3. 4. SESSION 5 The joining stage
The counselor welcomed the client and commented on how well the client looked. The client smiled and took a seat. The counselor asked for permission for the trainee counselor to be present. Presented problems When the client had come to Musasa Project she had presented the following: •Physical abuse from live in boyfriend •Psychological and economic abuse •To find a place of safety to stay •To find help for her child who needed schooling and a place to stay. •HIV positive Interview Plan •To empower the client to go out in the world without the boyfriend and be able to make it. To assist client to maintain confidence. •To have a reflective exercise with the client. Objectives •To terminate the counseling relationship •To invite the client to joining a survivors group of women who have survived domestic violence •To inform client about support groups for people living with HIV and AIDS. •Gaining stress relaxation exercise. Self assessment •The client had developed self enhancing skills because when the counselor was enquiring what her fears were, she had mentioned that she felt she could handle whatever came her way in a positive way. Personality assessment The client was assessed as being able to maintain good and consistent mood for the past two sessions. This was a good coping skill for her to pick herself up and carry on with life. •She had found a job and had managed to be registered at an OI clinic for access to ARVs. She had also gone to the home where her child is and spoke to them that she cant take her son yet because where she had found a job she could not stay with him yet. They had told her that it is only fair to the child to leave him for a while and let him finish a year in school before he is transferred again.
That would give the client time to settle down. The client had taken initiative to sort out her life and her child’s, which proved that the client was now more assertive. Termination The counselor enquired if the client wanted them to talk about anything else and the client went on to thank the counselor about the assistance she got and she went over her plans with the counselor for the future. They went over a step by step change in life style that the client needs not forget. Recommendations
The client was asked what she would be doing to manage her stress as she was saying that her stress will be lessened. Some stress management tips were shared. The client smiled and said that she will be signing, knitting jerseys for her son identifying a church and having enough rest. The counselor then informed the client that there was survivors of domestic violence group that is to commence and found out if the client would like to be part of that group. After the counselor had run through some of the benefits of being in a survivors group the client was very happy to be part of that group.
The client could not contain her gratitude and she got up and just gave the counselor a hug. The client promised that she would keep in touch through the telephone if she had any issues. 3. 5. Reflective report The counselor has managed to boost the confidence of the client by commenting on the changes she has made and empowering her to know that she can make it out there without the man. By giving the client an opportunity to reflect on how things were the first time she had come for counseling and the stages she had to take to be where she is now. Personal weaknesses The counselor painted a picture that the client was definitely going to be alright, which was not really obvious. Personal strengths •The counselor had all the respect and empathy that the client required. •Needs of the client were considered •The client was given the opportunity to express herself. •The objectives of the session were achieved. C. PORTFOLIIO REFLECTIVE REPORT According to the Oxford Learners dictionary, reflective means, ‘tending to think deeply about things,’ which the writer’s intention to reflect on the experiences of the portfolio construction. . Personal Weaknesses A lot more of the counseling techniques were not utilized that could have come in handy to the counsellor eg: -reframing -enactment -empty chair 2. Personal Strengths •The counselor was able to create a hospitable environment through establishing rapport with the clients. The counseling room was always prepared according to desired effects of counseling. •Empathy was a powerful tool which was used to facilitated clients’ opening up. •The counselor was non judgmental in her work and treated all the clients as special. Client’s language preferences and preferred names or addresses were sought before counseling session began. •The clients were empowered to own their problems and to find solutions for them. This proved what the humanist claim in their approach. That a human being is able to find a solution to their problems if there are given a conducive environment to do so. •The rapport building that the counselor used helped in gaining the confidence of the clients and thus making the interaction much much easier. D.
LEARNING CLAIMS The counsellig programme offered at ZOU has given the student a foundation on which to operate and skill to research on several counseling theories, which allow the student to broaden their practice. The course has enable student to realize the importance of ethical principles when dealing with clients such as respect for the client the clients rights, issues of confidentiality informed consent and being aware of one’s limits as a professional with regard to provision of counseling services.
The cultural background of a client, their way of life and beliefs needs to be taken into consideration as the cultural content will assist in the choice and application of theory and practice principles/techniques. As the student goes into the field to practice as a trainee counsellor my confidence and productivity in the application of the various learning experiences will increase. Bearing in mind that to benefit to the fullest the student has to be able to: – be receptive to learning when new information is offered. have the ability to learn and understand new information from practicing counselors. -Actively seek and apply new information for more growth. CONCLUSION Counselors encounter a variety of clients in the counseling relationship. The characteristics of these clients somehow effects the counseling process, whether the problems brought to the counselor are similar or different. As such counseling becomes a continuous learning process for both the trainee counselor and the well experienced counselor.
Always bearing in mind that every client is unique and should be treated as such. The process of learning to be a professional counselor is also a process of unlearning, for instance the student’s role as a mother had programmed one to offer opinion on a subject and to make suggestions about what might be done about a particular situation and to spot illogicalities and to point them out. However this counseling practice has brought to my aware a need for the suspension of some of these normal responses in favour of a much more accepting and giving role.
During my observation sessions I observed that whilst theoretical approaches are different and the specific circumstances and concerns of every client varied the creation of a therapeutic climate was the core ingredient otherwise there would be less or no positive progress in the counseling process. The practice also exposed me to the challenges of asking myself, “what do I personally have to offer others who are struggling to find their ways? Am I doing in my own life what I urge others to do? Therefore, if I am to promote growth and changes in clients, I must be willing to promote growth in my own life by exploring my choices and decisions, strive to become aware of the ways in which I have ignored my own potential for growth. E. REFERENCES Bayne R, Horton I, Merry T, Noyes E & McMahon G. (2003), The Counselor’s Handbook-2nd ED. Stanley Thornes Publishers Ltd, UK Hallahan T. (1997) Education Research, Wadsworth Publish Company, Inc. USA Paulson F. L, Paulson P. R and Meyer C. A. (1991), What Makes a Portfolio a Portfolio Educational Leadership, America Sax A and Newton I. 1997) Principles of Educational Psychology Measurement And Evaluation, Wadsworth Publishing Company, Inc. USA Spandell and Gulham C. (2002) Making a Portfolio, Megraw Hill, New York Stewart W. (2005), An A-Z of Counseling Theory & Practice –4th ED. Nelson Thornes Ltd, UK www. [email protected] org Internet F. APPENDICES 1. SECONDARY EVIDENCE 2. SUPPORTING EVIDENCE Other activities attended at Musasa While on attachment the Counseling Department held an activity entitled ‘Male Motivation’. Musasa holds activities to sensitize men on domestic violence and gender based violence.
The activity was a soccer match for men in Plumtree and the Police team played against the community team. A presentation on what domestic violence and gender based violence are was presented by a staff member from Musasa Project. The trainee counselor had the privilege of attending the occasion. During the soccer match the counselors mingle with the supporters and talk about the domestic violence issues. At times counseling sessions are held on sight for those that request for the service. Musasa members of staff arriving for the soccer match at Plumtree The match began with a sensitization march in the town of Plumtree.