Value clarification is a psychotherapy technique that can often help a person become aware of values that can affect lifestyle choices and actions. This technique can provide an opportunity for a person to reflect on personal moral dilemmas and to analyze and clarify values. This process can be helpful for self-improvement, increased well-being, and interaction with others. Therapy often provides an opportunity to clarify values. Value clarification exercises contain four main elements. The first is to choose a value-laden issue “such as one related to friendship, family, health, work, love, sex, drugs, leisure, personal taste, or politics” (Kirschenbaum, 2000, p. 5). This topic can be chosen by the educator or by the participants. Next, the facilitator raises a question or leads an activity “sometimes referred to as a value-clarification strategy to help participants think, read, write, and talk about the topic” (Kirschenbaum, 2000, p. 5).
In the third phase, the leader ensures that all perspectives are treated with respect, creating a safe space for conversation. In the fourth element, the organizer helps members use evaluation processes or appreciation skills to solve the problem in question. The fourth element is to “understand what one values and values, publicly affirm one`s values appropriately, consider other points of view, consider the consequences of various choices thoughtfully, make a choice free from undue peer or authority pressure, and act on one`s beliefs” (Kirschenbaum, 2000, p. 6). Specific research questions for this study include “Do students clarify their values through leadership courses?” and “What most influenced the process of clarifying student values in leadership courses?” The study context of this study is specifically leadership courses. More detailed information on this context will follow. This study is important for developing leadership learning opportunities in higher education. It reaffirms the importance of clarifying values in leadership education, both in a curricular and extracurricular format. In the study, students cited both curricular mechanisms (articles, discussions, courses, etc.) and extracurricular mechanisms (separations, challenges between roommates, role models, clubs, and organizations) as places to clarify their value. However, leadership courses were a place where students used their experiences in meaningful ways. They were able to apply their experiences outside the classroom and articulate what they learned through the leadership program. The program allowed students to reflect on their values in different ways, so we are not sure that without the lessons, participants would have been able to articulate their values so clearly.
To help someone clearly identify values, core values may need to be translated into intentional behavioral changes. For example, a person can identify a value of financial security. The therapist can then help break this down into specific goals, such as maintaining a financial plan, not having debt, and having sufficient savings. This value can be translated into realistic and achievable measures, such as working full-time for five years, creating a financial budget, and opening a savings account. By becoming aware of your values and embracing them as a source of truth and authenticity, you can clarify your goals and purpose, and answer any open-ended questions about what is right or wrong for you. Boone, T. (2003, June). Clarification of values in the physiology of training. Professionalisierung der Bewegungsphysiologie, 6(6), 1-5. Retrieved 26 May 2011. The importance of implementing certain beneficial tasks to clarify values was an important highlight of our results. It is important that values continue to be integrated into learning outcomes or the leadership training program.
Value-based assignments and activities make it easier to clarify values. Participation in these activities and experiences will help students clarify their values. Using tasks such as consistent weekly application questions allowed leaders to encourage participants to apply what they had learned in class to their lives outside the classroom. This practical application of leadership concepts has been effective and a clear option for the conscious growth of students` understanding of values in future classrooms. In addition, there were specific documents and other tasks that were beneficial, such as the personal amendment document and the amendment prospectus. The values portrait, where students were asked to select and discuss three values, was another task that affected their value clarification. Susan says I just left groups and communities. We had to do our self-portrait of values and we did it at the beginning. So the whole class, we kind of tied everything to our values and we just had our last class on Thursday and. Each question was, how does this relate to your values? Values, values, values. I think in the end, it made us more grateful because not only could we apply our class to real life, but I think we realized values that we said we had, that we didn`t have or that we didn`t have, that we thought we had.
The inclusion of assignments such as non-traditional creative assignments or assessments creates the expectation in the course that students will have a structured opportunity to review and formally express their values. This study was a qualitative phenomenological study of how students clarify their values and was conducted at a large PhD/research university in the southeastern United States of America. We chose a phenomenological study because we believe that capturing the essence of experience is the best way to determine answers to research questions (Creswell, 2007, 2008; Moustakas, 1994). As part of this study, two one-on-one interviews were conducted with 15 junior students who were enrolled in or successfully completed a leadership course. Prior to the first meeting, demographic information was collected on each participant. Participants received an email requesting predetermined demographic information. At the first meeting with participants, students were asked to conduct a value-clarification activity (Simon et al., 1978) to encourage them to reflect on their values. After this activity, questions were asked about values. In the second interview, their experiences were examined to clarify their values.
Once the interviews reached a saturation point where respondents no longer provide new information (Ryan & Bernard, 2004), we began analyzing the data using thematic coding and other phenomenological techniques. Clarification of values. There are many different definitions of value clarification in the literature (Attarian, 1996; Boone, 2003; Kirschenbaum, 1976; Kirschenbaum, Harmin, Howe & Simon, 1977; Mosconi and Emmett, 2003; Purpel, 1991; Simon and deSherbinin, 1975; Simon, Howe & Kirschenbaum, 1978). From this, we synthesized a definition of value clarification for this study. Values clarification is an ongoing process of developing the definition of what you value (what you think is most important and what is most important to you) and how you act on those values in everyday life. Value clarification is the process of defining one`s own values. By clarifying our values, it helps guide us in our daily activities and align what we say with what we do. Once someone has clarified their values, they should be able to quickly name the most valued values. Value clarification is a popular therapeutic exercise that can help a client become more aware of their beliefs and how to live up to them or not. Developing this information allows your customers to make positive lifestyle changes so they can better live up to their values.
This exercise is completed by a simple ranking of values from 1 to 10 in order of importance.