Reflections on Reflecting: How self-awareness promotes personal growth

Author: 

Sharon Myers

Abstract: 

This qualitative study affirms the role of self-awareness in promoting personal growth. Experiences of sixteen graduate students enrolled in a counselor education program that intentionally requires self-reflection, introspection, and interaction were explored. Through written narratives, participants reported that engaging in activities designed to enhance self-awareness served to promote their personal and professional development. Being engaged in an on-going process of introspection allowed participants to effectively follow a path somewhat parallel to that of clients in therapy. Themes emerging from their narratives included heightened awareness of self, recognition of personal potential, enhanced empathy for self and others, and improved interpersonal relationships. Emerging from their focused efforts in self-reflection, participants reported an expanded sense of self and a confidence in their capacity to become successful counselors.

Enhanced self-awareness, long the hallmark of psychological health across insight-oriented therapies, offers promising direction for counselor education.

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