Ray McKinnis

Ray McKinnis

Ray McKinnis is a Counselor in Wheaton, IL specializing in anonymous substance abuse and LGBT populations. He can be reached at dreamsampm@aol.com.

  • ‘Evidence-Based’ Again

    Sep 10, 2012
    The September 2012 issue of Counseling Today has a comprehensive article called ‘Should counseling practice be evidence based?’ The answer of course is Yes. I have never met a counselor who does not want to be effective and to be effective each of us uses the best evidence we can get given who we are and who our client is. However, those who use this phrase usually mean something more narrowly defined—should results from randomized clinical trials (RCT) be the gold standard for discerning information about what works and what does not in a counseling situation.
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  • Multicultural Awareness Could Inhibit Your Effectiveness

    Jul 30, 2012
    The more I read and study and think about it, the more convinced I become that studying other cultures, other religions, other ways of thinking and being in the world more often than not compromises my effectiveness as a counselor. I realize that that multicultural awareness is intimately woven into the ACA code of ethics and CACREP requirements and I can get CEU’s for studying such topics. However, since I have never come across anyone else who has questioned this trend, in part I am writing this blog asking for help. What am I missing here?
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  • Beware! The Behavior We Stroke is the Behavior We Get!

    Jun 07, 2012
    We counselors have an almost impossible challenge: we have to facilitate a client into more functional and satisfying behavior patterns within a system that strokes dysfunctional behavior. From the very first, clients come to us (or are sent to us) because they are (or someone else is) dissatisfied with some aspect of their functioning—this very act is a process in which dysfunctional behavior results in lots of attention—lots of strokes. We as counselors are challenged to help them develop other behaviors which are more functional in getting strokes, all the time giving them attention because they have a problem. People don’t come to us because they are happy or successful or satisfied with their relationships or job or life in general—those sources of strokes that make individuals ‘winners’.
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  • Are We Being Held Hostage?

    Apr 30, 2012
    The hostage negotiator Kohlrieser in his fascinating book, Hostage at the Table, describes how the idea of being a hostage can be a truly fertile metaphor for what we do as counselors. In some important sense, every client whom we have feels like they are being held hostage by forces they think they are unable to control. Basically, our job as counselors is to help that person reclaim their power and autonomy and thereby their happiness. I also sense a strong sense of victimhood pervasive among counselors.
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  • Do You Want to Be the Best Counselor You Can Be?

    Apr 12, 2012
    When calling a help desk, how often have you heard a phrase like ‘This call may be recorded for quality assurance?’ I would suggest that as counselors, the easiest and most effective way to continuously improve our counseling is to record sessions and carefully listen to them later—listening for where we were brilliant and where we can think of other options we might have tried. From my counseling perspective, I would listen for responses I made where I enhanced the client’s experience of their own power and autonomy and for responses I made which discounted or prevented the client from owning their own ability to take charge of their lives.
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