ACA Blog

Stacee Reicherzer
Mar 20, 2012

The News Media and the Serene Counselor: Balancing “The Need to Know” with Serenity

Like many of you, I’ve learned some valuable skills over the years that help me stay grounded during even the most stressful professional times. This is a work in progress, and I don’t always stay as serene as I would like, but I have what generally amounts to a healthy wellness practice that keeps me in the moment and sustains my work as a counselor.

I am also a person who likes knowing world, national, state, and community events- and enjoy reading my local newspaper as well as online sources. Beginning my day with the newspaper, I am invariably bombarded with violent and highly disturbing news items. Yesterday, an article about pedestrian and vehicle collisions included four vivid descriptions of pedestrians who had been hit and killed by automobiles. Today at lunch, my online source for daily updates included a video about a shark attack that the headline promised was reminiscent of the movie “Jaws.”

Hmm. You’re probably noticing what I am, in that these news items are hardly the tools for sustaining a life practice of serenity. They’re intense, jarring, evocative; intended obviously to draw in readers by being lurid. Whereas we can reasonably argue that counselors can and should stay on top of world events in order to be the advocates and change agents to which our profession calls us, we also have to keep our own council and understand when our own wellness is being compromised. My limits change a bit from day to day, and some days I can simply take in more information that’s disturbing. Nonetheless, I also recognize that news companies function to make money, and they will only post the things that they believe will draw readers.

Counselors beware!

Stacee Reicherzer is a counselor, a faculty member at Walden University, and a private consultant with special interests that include: transgender issues in counseling, lateral (within-group) marginalization, and sexual abuse survival.

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