HomePhilippine Journal of Counseling Psychologyvol. 14 no. 1 (2012)

Autonomy in the Development and Practice of the Filipino Counselor

Niño Jose Mateo | Maria Guadalupe C. Salanga



Western models of counselor development maintain the importance of attaining autonomy as a result of undergoing supervision throughout graduate work and throughout professional practice. In the United States of America, supervision is an important component of training and practice (ASPB, 2009). In the Philippines, the requirements set by the Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association (Guidance and Counseling Act of 2004; Republic Act No. 9258) for one to become a licensed guidance counselor does not include supervised internship. The current study is part of a larger study on themes and stages of counselor development in the Philippines of the primary author. In a sample of counselors-in-training and counselors (n=29), autonomy was constructed as developing as a result of being required to practice on their own, without guidance from supervisors that fulfil the tasks necessary for supervision. Autonomy was presented as resulting from having to feel their way around therapeutic training and practice, without having to rely on the guidance of a supervisor. This proved strikingly different from the construction of autonomy in Western models wherein there is recognition that counselors start out by being reliant/dependent on their supervisors and, eventually with more knowledge and experience, gain a sense of efficacy and confidence and become less reliant/dependent on their supervisors. Findings from the current study on Filipino counselors reveal that autonomy is not an outcome of the process one goes through from being a novice trainee to a more capable practitioner, and that one seems to be required to be autonomous because of the absence of supervised training and practice. Implications for counselor development and future research are discussed.