Professional Identity

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Angelle Hobbs Joanna is a 16-year-old eleventh grader, the oldest of four children. Her best friend had died suddenly of leukemia the previous year. Presently, Joanna’s grades have begun to drop and she cuts class. She feels she should have done more to help her best friend. Joanna’s mother has been contacted for a parent conference, but she works two jobs to financially support her children. Joanna’s homeroom teacher is very concern and refers her to the school counselor. This heartbreaking event has had tremendous implications on Joanna. I trust that an experience, as such, leads someone to initially choose counseling as a profession. Counseling entails a provision of assistance and guidance sessions, provided by a trained professional who assists in resolving personal conflicts, social/emotional, or psychological difficulties. Remley and Herlihy, authors of Ethics, Legal, and Professional Issues in Counseling, provide a constructive framework for an aspirant counselor who seeks to develop a professional identity in the counseling profession, functioning through the acts of integrity, discernment, acceptance of emotion, self-awareness, and interdependence within the community. If you’re like most counselors, you want to actively promote the mental health and wellness of the client, provide compassion, aid in the development of their life-enhancing qualities, and advocate in behalf of the client and the profession. Comparably, various mental health professions possess interchangeable objectives. Then, what distinguishes counseling from other mental health professions? Often, counselors describe themselves as professional “skilled helpers” – helping others resolve difficult issues, while moving towards productive decisions in a non-judgmental atmosphere. They are professionals to the degree that they have mastered the requisite knowledge base, developed competencies in the required skills, and...
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