Professional Identity

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When developing a professional identity, there are many factors which come into play. However, two of the most key areas involve the integration of personal beliefs and life experiences and facilitating training/ field experiences into one’s desired field area. According to Healey and Hays, “In order to merge the personal and professional, every arena of one’s life will be reflected upon as the new professional emerges” (2). In the second area of importance, to paraphrase Bryan (2009), one must possess a basic understanding of the desired working environment, and must obtain relevant field experiences and training in order to collaborate effectively in a specific community or field setting. As I reflect on my personal goals and attempt to begin to define my professional identity, I can certainly see where my prior experiences and personal belief systems have begun to shape my theories, ideas, and approach. Even in determining the field of study I wished to pursue, my personal experiences came into play. Witnessing the need for child counseling and re-unification counseling in the CPS system was crucial to my process of determining an ultimate field of study and end goal. According to Brott and Myers (1999), “Professional identity results from a developmental process that facilitates a growing understanding of self in one’s chosen field.” The process may begin in childhood through life and school experiences. It may further blossom in college as education moves to the forefront. In adulthood, when one can combine education and experiences into a common goal, the full professional identity may be fully realized. At this juncture in my professional development, I have bachelor’s level education and I know through previous psychology coursework experience and some field experience what interests me, and where I want to generally focus. However, I am hoping to really develop a true sense of my professional identity through my Master’s level studies. It is...
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