The Concept Of Counseling As A Professional Identity, What it Means To Have A Professional Identity As A Counselor and Why Is A Professional Counseling Identity Important
The development of a professional identity has been recognized as a salient focus in the counseling profession. Counselors should develop a clear professional identity and take pride in the identity. The formation of a counselor identity entails a process of engaging with attitudes, values, and actions championed by the counseling profession (Owens & Neale-McFall, 2014). Owens and Neale-McFall elucidate that the development of a counselor identity entails exploring as well as working to integrate the professional values, behaviors, and values emphasized by the counseling community with an individual’s larger identity system. Individuals in the counseling profession represent a wide array of values, life experiences, beliefs, and worldviews. While diversity is important, professional counselors need to develop certain attitudes, values, and actions that unify the profession to effectively serve a diverse society (Lile, 2021).
The process incorporates three transformational tasks. The first one is the development of a personal definition of counseling. The second one entails embracing responsibility for professional growth. The third one is the recognition of the professional counselor identity as interlinked with larger systems; that is, the professional counseling community and the larger systems of counseling practice (Owens & Neale-McFall, 2014). Additionally, the identity style theory offers a useful model that entails various approaches to the development of a professional counseling identity. The theory identifies three different processes used by professionals when encountering identity development-related challenges. The three styles include diffuse/avoidant, normative, and informative. The informative style is the most effective in helping individuals develop a professional counselor identity (Lile, 2021).
Importance of a Professional Counseling Identity
Notably, the development of identity is important as it allows professional counselors to consider their values and how they relate to the behaviors expected of counselors by the profession, colleagues, and patients. The development of a professional counseling identity allows for empowerment and the cultivation of relationships that facilitate human development and wellness. It also fosters a contextual and culturally sensitive approach in the counseling profession. This facilitates the achievement of the best patient outcomes in the counselor-patient relationship (Lile, 2021).
How Adhering To A Counseling Code Of Ethics Support My Professional Counseling Identity
Adhering to the counseling code of ethics is significantly important to one’s professional identity as a counselor. According to Lile (2021), adhering to the counseling code of ethics allows one to uphold the values, attitudes, and behaviors expected in the counseling profession. As mentioned earlier in this paper, the development of a professional identity as a counselor involves recognizing that the professional counselor identity is interlinked with larger systems; that is, the professional counseling community and the larger systems of counseling practice. Thus, it promotes the development of a counselor identity that aligns with the counseling profession. Consequently, one is able to develop a counselor identity that best aligns with the counseling profession, colleagues, and patients (Lile, 2021).
Counselling Careers and Duties of a Professional Counselor
A professional counselor has many duties including assisting patients to realize a change in attitude or behavior for the better. A professional counselor also teaches individuals social skills, and communication skills, and offers guidance in decision-making when making career choices. A counselor also helps clients effectively cope with crises or challenging times such as divorce, grief, amputation, et cetera (“A Guide to Counseling Career Paths”, 2022). Thus, the role of a counselor helps individuals develop their potential to the fullest, utilize their potential to the fullest, plan for the future, and cope with challenging times or events.
The career paths that I would like to pursue after graduation include a career counselor and mental health counselor. A career counselor helps individuals make important career decisions. A professional career counselor helps individuals figure out who they are and what they want out of their careers. He/she also helps individuals identify factors influencing their career development to ensure they optimize their competencies and abilities. In a nutshell, a professional career counselor helps individuals develop and utilize their potential to the fullest as well as plan the future of their career (“A Guide to Counseling Career Paths”, 2022).
A mental health counselor helps people facing mental and emotional challenges. He/she assesses and treats mental and emotional health disorders, relationship issues, as well as other life challenges. The counselor provides people with support and guidance that help them identify triggers, properly cope with negative emotions, and reduce symptoms of various mental health disorders to improve their quality of life (“A Guide to Counseling Career Paths”, 2022).