Professional Identity and Careers Paper
The rising need in society for meeting basic physical, emotional, and mental needs demands a greater visibility for the counseling profession that does not exist today. Understanding the definition of the concept of counseling as a professional identity empowers professionals going into this field. In addition to this understanding, there is a need for counselors to develop key characteristics in order to be effective. In various roles and functions, counselors serve in various settings such as schools, community, and private practice. As counselors in the profession, there are many opportunities for careers to meet the overwhelming needs of society. In general, professional identity has been defined as "the possession of a core set of values, beliefs, and assumptions about the unique characteristics of one’s selected profession that differentiates it from other professions" (Weinrach, Thomas, & Chan, 2001, p. 168). While researching the concept of counseling as a professional identity, there were many definitions given, however, most of the literature or professional organizations failed to give a comprehensive definition. One definition that most comprehensively represents the professional identity of counseling came from Emerson’s 2010 dissertation. “This definition is comprised of six components including knowledge and understanding of (a) counseling’s history, (b) counseling’s philosophy, (c) the roles and functions of counselors, and (d) professional ethics, as well as the components of (e) professional pride and (f) professional engagement” (Emerson, 2010, p.5). The importance of applying this definition to a counselor’s professional identity helps to increase the visibility and validity of the counseling profession, not only within the field, but also in the general public. In addition to understanding the importance of a professional identity, there
References: Emerson, C.H. (2010). Counselor Professional Identity: Construction and Validation of the Counselor Professional Identity Measure. Retrieved from http://libres.uncg.edu/ir/uncg/f/Emerson_uncg_0154D_10396.pdf Weinrach, S. G., Thomas, K. R., & Chan, F. (2001). The professional identity of contributors to the Journal of Counseling & Development: Does it matter? Journal of Counseling and Development, 79, 166-170.