NCE Study Terms

You’ve set out to take the National Counselor Examination so you can continue the process toward becoming a licensed professional counselor. If you’ve visited my other posts, welcome back! If you are new around here, you are in for a treat. Each week I compile a list of study terms to help you prepare for the exam. The best way to use these is in conjunction with other study tools. See my first set of terms for my recommendations.

The more you study, and the smarter you study, the more confident you will feel taking the National Counselor Examination. Even if you are one of those types that doesn’t have to study in order to pass a test, I still recommend studying for the NCE. The reason is because you aren’t only studying to pass a test, but the material that you learn along the way will be helpful for you when you provide counseling services to clients.

Study Tip: Find at least two books to help you prepare for the exam. Challenge yourself to complete at least 100 practice questions a day. You can break these up into smaller chunks, but just make sure you reach your goal for the day.


  1. Latent vs. manifest content
  2. Reliability
  3. Mean
  4. Johari window
  5. Autonomy vs. shame & doubt
  6. Standard deviation
  7. Working Stage
  8. Milan systemic family counseling
  9. All-or-nothing thinking
  10. Disintegration
  11. Aptitude tests
  12. Paradoxical intention
  13. Keirsey Temperament Sorter II
  14. Authoritarian vs. authoritative
  15. Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
  16. Universal ethical principles vs. law & order
  17. Adlerian vs. Rogerian
  18. Gestalt vs. Freudian
  19. Duty to warn
  20. Thought stopping
  21. Rorschach Inkblot Test
  22. HIPAA
  23. Enmeshed
  24. DSM Criteria for depression
  25. Individual psychology
  26. Conditioned stimulus
  27. Career salience
  28. Speed vs. power tests
  29. Identity diffusion
  30. Quasi-experiment
  31. Priviledged communication
  32. Linking
  33. Congruence
  34. Fixed ratio vs. variable ratio
  35. Validity vs. reliability
  36. Biofeedback
  37. Acculturation
  38. Task approach skills
  39. Midbrain
  40. Correlation coefficient
  41. Five-Factor Model
  42. Third party payments
  43. Delegative vs. democratic group leader
  44. Activating event
  45. Tertiary oppression
  46. Gatekeeping
  47. Occupational Information Network
  48. Structural maps
  49. Closed vs. open group
  50. Gilligan’s theory of moral development

For more study terms, check out my previous posts:

50 NCE Study Terms

51 NCE Study Terms


15 Journaling Prompts


Journaling is one of the best ways to get in touch with yourself. I journal daily, and it helps me process the events of the day. Sometimes I journal by writing down whatever comes to mind with no filter. Other times I prefer to have prompts to guide my writing process. Here are fifteen journaling prompts to use when you journal. Some are serious, but most of them are fun.

  1. What are your obstacles right now? The things that are preventing you from attaining what you want out of life, what are they? What will it take to overcome those obstacles? Name at least five and be specific with your answers.
  2. Pick one object that inspires you for today. Pick a tangible, meaningful object that gives you hope and write about it. Focus on it for the day.
  3. Suppose that there is a bubble around you that goes everywhere you go. Describe this bubble. Think of what its boundary is composed of, who is in the bubble with you, and the messages you constantly tell yourself or hear other people saying. Is this bubble a positive or negative thing for you? Is it one that you need to get out of or is it healthy?
  4. Write a letter to someone who has offended or hurt you. Don’t send it to them, but write everything down that you would want to communicate to them.
  5. You and some passengers on your cruise get left behind on a secluded island. Write about what you will do during your time in the island, how you will survive, and how you will get off the island. Nothing is off limits.
  6. Design a business plan for a nonprofit organization. What kind do you want to create? How would you secure funding?
  7. When you have bad days, what do you wish people would say to you to encourage you?
  8. What songs would be on your playlist while climbing Mt. Everest?
  9. Write a screenplay about a subject you’ve never heard of or had experience with before. Who would play the leading and supporting roles?
  10. Suppose this wasn’t the last season of Downton Abbey and you’ve been cast in the show. Which role would you play and why? Would you be an existing character or a new character?
  11. Suppose you have an enormous library in your home. How do you categorize your bookshelves? How do you style it?
  12. What needs to happen in your life to make it closer to what you dream about?
  13. Which type of food best describes your personality? What dishes does it contain?
  14. Write a travel guide for your favorite destination.
  15. Suppose you were chosen to speak to a group of college students. What would your topic and outline be for your talk?

It’s Not Your Fault

It’s not your fault. Repeat after me, “It’s not my fault.”

  • It’s not your fault that he cheated on you.
  • It’s not your fault that she abused you.
  • It’s not your fault that you were abandoned as a child.
  • It’s not your fault that your parents got divorced.
  • It’s not your fault that your father hit you.
  • It’s not your fault that your partner left you.
  • It’s not your fault that he hit your child.
  • It’s not your fault that she manipulates you.
  • It’s not your fault that they threatened you.
  • It’s not your fault that you were abused.
  • It’s not your fault that you were traded.
  • It’s not your fault that you were used.
  • It’s not your fault that you were lied to.
  • It’s not your fault that you’ve been bullied.
  • It’s not your fault that people talk bad about you.
  • It’s not your fault that you were kidnapped.
  • It’s not your fault that you have depression.
  • It’s not your fault that you have bipolar disorder.
  • It’s not your fault that you hallucinate.
  • It’s not your fault that you have that diagnosis.
  • It’s not your fault that you were taken advantage of.
  • It’s not your fault that he kept going when you said, “Stop.”
  • It’s not your fault that she wouldn’t stop when you told her to.
  • It’s not your fault that they verbally abuse you.
  • It’s not your fault that he emotionally abuses you.

Please know that whatever situation you are in, you are not alone. This season will NOT last forever. Seek help. Find helpful resources. Talk to someone you trust. Speak out.

Many people experience circumstances in which they become scared to talk. You might be in a situation where you feel in danger or where you have been in danger. If you are immediate danger, call 911. If you need a safe place to go, your country or state likely has a hotline that you can call.

Dangerous Words: Book Review

Title: Warning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health

Author: William Glasser, M.D.

Dear Dr. Glasser,

Thank you for your work and contribution to the field of therapy and mental health. It is important for people to know that they can control their own behaviors and that they can heal their present relationships. I am certainly an advocate for empowering clients to take control of their lives. However, there are a number of points that you bring up in this book with which I disagree, and in the interest of people who struggle with real mental disorders, I feel the need to express where I disagree. I tried, I really tried, to wrap my brain around what you were trying to say, but I just do not see what you see. This article is not a critique of choice theory or reality therapy as a whole. It’s a critique of your work regarding the notion that psychiatry can be dangerous for one’s health.

Where I Disagree with You – The Myths you Believe

  • Mental disorders are due to unhappiness. When you say this, it reminds me of people in my faith community who try to ascribe mental illness to sin. Maybe at the core of mental illness is a simple explanation for its existence, but what surrounds mental illness is a shroud of icky stuff that isn’t so simple. Until we have a clear understanding of that simple explanation, we are left to deal with the icky stuff, the stuff that isn’t so easy to understand. While people who have mental illnesses may be unhappy at times, unhappiness itself is not the single explanation for the existence of mental disorders. Mental disorders have a range of sources of their etiologies.
  • People with addictions are only treated using brain drugs. A therapist knows better than to recommend a drug addict take more drugs in order to treat the addiction. Who in their right mind would think that thise is a good idea? Addiction is treated through a multifaceted approach, and the client and therapist can choose the best options for his or her recovery.
  • Being around people solves all of your problems. If you told introverts that the answer to all of ther problems was to spend time with more people, they would run for the hills. Sure, it’s a great plan to strive for healthy relationships, and we all could do better in this department. We certainly need healthy people in our lives to help us process the daily pangs of life. However, if someone hallucinates while driving a car down a six-lane interstate during rush hour, he or she places the lives of other people in danger by not taking something for it. You mean to tell me that all you would tell this person to do is be happy and the hallucinations will go away? This sounds irresponsible.
  • People choose their total behaviors; people choose to depress. Do you choose to be sick? Does someone choose to have cancer? <– Try telling that to the five members of my family who were diagnosed with various forms of cancer in a four-year period of time. Do you choose to have a cold? No. You don’t choose any of this. Similarly, do people choose to hallucinate? Does someone choose to lack energy or an appetite? Do you choose to get revved up all of the sudden? No. Now, there is research to indicate that fears can be learned, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a person chose to be afraid of a certain object. I definitely think that people can make choices to heal from their mental disorders, but I disagee that the etiology of a disorder originate from someone choosing to hallucinate, to experience symptoms of depression, or to have any other mental disorder.

While your book tries to provide an explantion of mental illness, it ends up causing more harm than good. If someone with a severe mental disorder reads your book, it might prevent them from getting the help they need. You need to place a disclaimer at the front in which you explain that your view of treatment is not the only option, because it isn’t. You say that nothing in this book will harm a reader, but it can end up hurting someone who is timid already when it comes to asking for help, and this might prevent him or her from healing from a mental disorder. Again, thank you for your contribution to the field of mental health.

Sincerely with the Utmost Respect,


P.s. I’m not writing this because I fear that your model of treatment will cause people not to seek counseling. I’m writing this because I genuinely feel that your book might do more harm than good.

51 NCE Study Terms

How’s your studying going? Are you feeling overwhelmed or confident? Here are 51 terms to study. They are divided up by terms and people. Use them in conjunction with other study sources. Note that many of these concepts are not just beneficial to know in order to prepare for the test; they are also ideas to keep in mind for counseling.
*Study tip: don’t just skim or limit yourself to a summary understanding of these terms and the concepts in your study materials. Make sure you learn them until you get tired of studying it. If you don’t feel tired of the material, you’re probably not studying it in the depth that you need to study it.


  1. Narrative therapy
  2. Double-blind study
  3. Schema
  4. Formal operations
  5. Pica
  6. Parroting
  7. Laissez-fair group leader
  8. External validity
  9. Therapeutic contract
  10. Consent form
  11. Stages of group counseling
  12. Identity crisis
  13. Genogram
  14. z-score
  15. Consultation
  16. Reparative therapy
  17. REBT
  18. Egocentrism
  19. Construct validity
  20. Reinforcement schedules
  21. Unconditioned stimulus
  22. Platykurtic distribution
  23. Trait-and-factor theory
  24. Extroversion
  25. Defense mechanisms
  26. Homogeneity
  27. ANOVA
  28. Scattergram
  29. Industry vs. inferiority
  30. Confidentiality
  31. Token economy
  32. Transference
  33. Anal stage
  34. Splitting


  1. Harry Harlow
  2. James Framo
  3. Millard Erickson
  4. William H. Masters
  5. Virginia Johnson
  6. Frank Parsons
  7. Edgar Schein
  8. Edmund G. Williamson
  9. Donald Super
  10. Gilbert Wrenn
  11. F.H. Allport
  12. J.P. Guilford
  13. Alfred Binet
  14. Anna O
  15. Little Albert
  16. Raymond Cattell
  17. Gerald Caplan

For more study terms, check out my previous post 50 NCE Study Terms.

A Few of My Favorite Things


A Stunning Sunset   

A Stack of Books

A Glass of Cold, Sweet Iced Tea
A Wall of Quotes  

A Bountiful Supply of Letter Stickers  

Letters Cutout from Books

 A Bouquet of Fresh Flowers 

A Sweet, Little Cupcake 

When Life Throws You Curveballs

We all go through life hoping that it will run smoothly. We have this idea that the path to whatever we want will be easy to follow, streamlined, and void of any hurdles. Okay, sure, we might expect hurdles on a cognitive level, but most of us probably have this desire that maybe just for today life will run smoothly. When it doesn’t run smoothly and when we run into problems that seem like monsters, it can catch us off guard. I’ll list some of these monsters and then discuss ways to tackle them. The point of this post is to plan ahead in case these happen. You will invariably experience bumps in the road, and you need to have a plan for how to manage them.

1. You lost your job, got fired, or decided to quit. This one is a curve ball that many people have encountered. Obviously, these three are quite different from each other in terms of their circumstances. One of them might be expected, and the other two can completely blindside you. Scenario A: Your company decided to cut several employees, and you are one of them. You’ve worked at the company for a while, and it just doesn’t seem fair that they would cut you. Scenario B: Or, you could have made a mistake – or several – that cost the company. It may not be typical of you, and it surprises you that anyone would see you as that employee. Scenario C: You decided to quit your job because you found something that fits your dream journey and that better sharpens your skills and passion. What surprises you about it is how quick the change came about.

The common theme in dealing with these is that you have to be your own boss, your own HR person, your own brand, and your own company even when you are working for the other person. You need to get to know yourself and learn how to advocate yourself. What are your goals, dreams, and visions? What are you passionate about? What do you want to see when you get to the end of your life and look back on your work? You also need to have your own brand as a person. Obviously when you work for a company, you are expected to maintain the company’s brand, but you need to have a sense of who you are as well. The company doesn’t own you. Make a list of companies you would like to work for, network with professionals in those companies, keep your resume current, and even write cover letters ahead of time. Keep them in a file in your home. Even if you rewrite the letter at the time you apply, you at least have something to go by when you sit down to write them.

2. The class you need to register for in order to graduate is full. The way to avoid this one is to take the required courses early in your degree plan. If there is a course that everyone in your program has to take, go ahead and take that one early. Sometimes programs require you to take a certain number of elective courses, and all programs have specific courses that are required. If there are certain electives that are only offered during certain semesters, pay attention to that and plan accordingly.

3. You’re late for a doctor’s appointment, and you can’t find a parking space. To avoid this one, leave the previous place (whether it’s work, home, or lunch) in enough time to arrive to the appointment 10-15 minutes early. If it’s a new doctor’s office, you might find it helpful to drive to it a couple days before the appointment so you can get a feel for the parking setup.

4. You’ve moved to a new state and can’t stand the people. You know that you have to move. It’s a new job, a move for your family, a new place to live. There’s not really a way to know if you will like the people in the new location, but you can plan ahead for how to deal on those days that you just can’t stand the people. Not everyone in the new place will be the same. You can meet different personalities, which is a good thing. Even though there might be some people that annoy you, not everyone will be bothersome. Also, our level of tolerance for some people depends somewhat on our mood for the day. If we’re having a bad day, a lot of people may bother us that normally wouldn’t on a good day. Find those people who will be solid friends, and find them sooner rather than later. These are people whom you can talk to and not be judged or ridiculed. People who get you and don’t impose their opinions on you. (Granted, if you move to the South, people speak their minds pretty openly.)

5. You arrive at the gym at the only time you can go, and the workout machines are all taken. This might be one for Captain Obvious, but you might want to choose a different time to go to the gym. If you’ve just arrived to the gym and notice that all the machines are taken, don’t rush out the door just yet. Most gyms have mats where you can stretch. Do some stretches and take your time. You have to stretch anyways, and it might be that someone is almost done with one of the machines. By the time you finish stretching, one of the machines is bound to become available. You can also walk or jog on the indoor track, or you could pick a different type of exercise machine.

6. The pharmacy where you’ve had your prescriptions filled for the past several years no longer takes your health insurance plan. Health care is a beast. While it can be quite daunting to find the right plan, you also feel very accomplished when you have conquered it. Before your prescription runs out, make sure you have refills available. Call the pharmacy ahead of time and ask them if they take your health insurance plan. Also ask if they keep your prescriptions in stock. Plan to fill them at least a week before you run out.

7. Your new health insurance plan doesn’t cover the same doctor you’ve used forever. Call your provider and ask what doctors are covered by their plan. Do this as soon as you select the plan that you want. Once you have confirmed who is covered, go ahead and call to make an appointment with the new doctor. This will help you get established as a new patient. Fair warning, though: if your new doctor is thorough in his or her practice, he or she will ask you just about every kind of question they can about your health, including things that might be uncomfortable to talk about.

8. Through a series of complaints and interviews, you discover that a trusted colleague has betrayed you. This can be really tough. When trust is betrayed, you feel violated and deeply hurt. You try to think of how this happened and run through possible explanations, but you only end up feeling angry and bitter. While it is necessary to get to the bottom of why or how a conflict arose, it’s also healthy to restrict yourself from thinking about it too much. When we overthink things, that is usually when we come up with false explanations. This is when it is good to have a friend, mentor, or counselor to talk to, someone who won’t gossip about your situation, someone to whom you can vent about the situation. You might could benefit from conflict resolution skills and assertiveness training. At some point, you will need to have a conversation with that colleague, as long as you feel safe doing so. Make a list of all the things you want to say, run it by your mentor, and make sure you cover all points on the list in your conversation. You don’t want to leave anything out, because you don’t want bitterness and resentment to develop.

9. The new job you just got doesn’t allow long enough breaks for your appointments (doctor’s, counseling, etc.). Plan to take a day off occasionally and schedule all of your appointments for that day. Ask the scheduler of your appointments if there is any penalty for being late.

10. Someone steals your credit card. This one definitely makes you feel violated. One way to conquer it is to carry cash on you, or especially to places where your information could be compromised. Places that are vulnerable to credit card fraud are gas stations, grocery stores, drug stores, etc. Plan to bring cash with you and pay that way. You can also keep a prepaid card on you to use. This way, the card isn’t connected to your bank information, so if the number gets stolen, only the amount that’s on the card could be used.