Advocate and Counselor Roles

Posted on February 22, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

In my opinion, these roles sometimes converge into one and are sometimes mutually exclusive.

When it comes to the role of advocate, I tend to think back to a presentation that Larry Roper did for our Organization and Administration course. Instead of saying that he tried to be an advocate for students, Larry talked about assisting students in becoming advocates for themselves. I really latched on to this concept and feel like it greatly defines one of my most important roles as an student affairs professional. With this being said, I know there will be times when I will have to be an advocate, not only for myself, but for others who are not at the table. In many respects, I think that being an advocate in student affairs means recognizes when important parties aren’t being heard and being respectful enough of people’s differences to recognize when you can’t talk on their behalf.

Having worked with several members of OSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services, I often shy away from the thought that I am sometimes regarded as a counselor. I do not believe that I have the necessary tools or skills to truly embody this role. However, I have taken a counseling course and learned some of the necessary techniques used by effective counselors and understand that I must accept this role on a certain level and be willing to grow more in my counseling skills. In fact, I often think that at some point I may choose to go back to school and get another masters degree or PhD in counseling or a related field.

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One Response to “Advocate and Counselor Roles”

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Larry’s philosophy puts him (and you by your support) squarely in concert with a learner-approach to college student development. Hopefully you have seen parallels in the way we try to advise in UESP. We are trying to help students position themselves to make contextually appropriate decisions about their goals and aspirations relative to major and career path. Even in situations where we have to advocate, the student should be driving the process and the narrative, and ultimately we just reinforce those two things.


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