Ideology, Skills, and Consultation Model (write a one page response to this work)
Ideology, Skills, and Consultation Model (write a one page response to this work)
Consultation is the science and art of creating change (Sandoval, 2003). To that end, consultants enter organizations as change agents and must develop skills to build trust, identify problems, implement interventions, and appropriately disengage (Dougherty, 2014). Therefore, consultants utilize counseling skills and leadership skills, as required by the complex consultation process. In this post, the author discusses her ideology toward consultation and current leadership skills that are useful for developing programs and learning organizations. A fitting model of consultation according to her ideology and skill-set will also be discussed.
Ideology and Fitting Consultation Model
As a counselor, the author’s ideology stems from her belief in people’s ability to create new patterns of thinking and behavior in response to challenging and changing situations. Using rational-emotive behavioral therapy (REBT), the author intervenes at a cognitive level to understand emotional and behavioral consequences to irrational thinking. Furthermore, as a change agent, the author also works internationally with a non-profit organization with the aim of developing embedded mental health services for female and child survivors of trauma. To that end, the consultee-centered mental health consultation model fits with her ideology and vision (Dougherty, 2014; Knotek & Sandolval, 2003). Although behavioral change also becomes important in working with trauma-survivors and setting up support systems for them, the mental health consultation model allows for nonhierarchical entry into an organization that works to empower individuals to take responsibility for change (Knotek & Sandoval, 2003). This is a key component of setting up programs that do not create dependency on the consultant, which becomes vital when working internationally and temporarily (Knotek & Sandoval, 2003). In addition, the use of reframing problems according to new perspectives is a cornerstone of mental health consultation and fits squarely with the author’s theoretical (i.e., REBT) philosophy of acceptance, change, and freedom (Sandoval, 2003).
The mental health consultation model provides the steps for initiating change. These include (a) active listening to gain understanding of current issues, (b) asking open questions and pointing out discrepancies in order to reveal the need for change, (c) conceptualizing the change process and working with consultees on “mutual construction” of the new theory (e.g., the solution), and (d) implementing problem-solving interventions fitting with the joint-understanding of the identified problem (Sandoval, 2003, p. 258). This latter step usually involves one of four potential problems and concomitant solutions, including a lack of understanding of psychological issues impacting the organization, inadequate skills to meet the mental health needs of the clients, reduced objectivity toward the members and clients, and/or low self-esteem and self-efficacy beliefs for producing positive change (Sandoval, 2003). Mental health consultation models of the past utilized a psychodynamic approach, but more recent applications stressed relational components, rapport-building tasks, and constructivist ideology, making this approach an appropriate fit for an REBT counselor and social justice advocate (Knotek & Sandoval, 2003). In addition, the mental health consultation model not only advances the needs of mental health clinics, but has also shown to be helpful for other learning organizations, including schools, daycares, and community healthcare providers (Knotek & Sandoval., 2003).
Leadership Skills and Fitting Model of Consultation
While the model provides a clear process of consultation and fits well within the described ideology, the consultant’s role largely depends on her leadership skill set. For the mental health consultation model, the consultant assumes an egalitarian, supportive, and influencing role (Dougherty, 2014). Although consultants aim to co-construct understanding of the problem with consultees, they must also raise awareness of discrepancies and reframe problems toward potential solutions. Zins (2007) described the consultant’s leadership as “influenc[ing] others through the effective transmission of mental health principles” (p. 134). These principles include active listening, cognitive complexity, empirical assessment, systems theory, ethical standards, and evidenced-based interventions for emotional/cognitive/behavioral change (Arredondo, Shealy, Neale, & Winfrey, 2004). Counselor training has developed the author’s competencies in many of these areas. However, the Leadership Potential Indicator (LPI) did show that her tenacity for change can override her qualities of empathy and active listening. After completing the LPI assessment (Bartram, 2009), the author demonstrated the skills of the modernizer under developing the vision, the director under sharing the goals, the catalyst under gaining support, and the corporate manager under delivering success. The cluster traits, or key factors, of managing change, planning and organizing, and results orientation all indicated the highest levels of competency. Overall, the current author shows leadership skills toward implementing change. Therefore, the mental health consultation model fits her active leadership style while providing the process to co-construct understanding of the changes that need to occur. To that end, the mental health consultation model ensures that the author’s results-orientation does not overshadow consultees’ perspectives. More specifically, the process of mental health consultation works to moderate her goal-oriented leadership qualities to ensure changes are consultee-driven (Sandoval, 2003).
Finally, the author’s leadership strengths involve her tendency toward instigating change and proclivity for working within large systems (i.e., corporate managing) (Bartram, 2009). These qualities become useful to developing the learning organization by the application of systems theory through the use of goal-directed initiatives (Senge, 2006). Although the current author is goal-oriented, the mental health consultation model provides an interactive process of change, which largely involves dialoging about and reframing issues (Sandoval, 2003). The value of productive dialog cannot be underestimated in the development of the learning organization. The interactions among members to inspire and create positive change become paramount to organizational success (Senge, 2006). Even in conflict-ridden organizations, productive dialog enhances cooperation and problem-solving (Beaumont & Hunter, 2007). Therefore, the process of co-constructing new ideas and solutions to challenges of the learning organizations becomes the cornerstone of effective consultation. These described processes fit with the current author’s leadership style, counseling training, and choice of consultation model.
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