Editorial Perspective

By Balkin, Richard S. | Journal of Professional Counseling, Practice, Theory, & Research, Winter 2012 | Go to article overview
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Editorial Perspective


Balkin, Richard S., Journal of Professional Counseling, Practice, Theory, & Research


This special issue on counselor identity presents a wide array of discussion points on counselor identity. With the advent of 20/20: A Vision for the Future of Counseling (Kaplan & Gladding, 2011), the issue of counselor identity became a central focus of the American Counseling Association. However, the debate over counselor identity spans decades. With counselor licensure present in all 50 states and some U.S. territories, a national accrediting body for graduate programs from the Council of Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs, and national certification through the National Board for Certified Counselors with national examinations (e.g., National Counselor Examination), the idea that counselors lack a professional identity may seem preposterous. The peer-reviewed articles in this special issue represent a variety of issues related to relevance, diversity, and history of counselor identity.

Dr. Shawn Spurgeon provides context for the history of the counseling profession and developing trends and challenges in counselor identity. Gibson, Dooley, Kelchner, Moss, and Vacchio address how the promotion of a professional counselor identity provides a foundation for school counselors. At times, school counseling identity may be viewed as a separate and distinct identity, and Gibson et al. provide context of professional counseling as a unified profession. While counseling identity emerged as a national issue through the American Counseling Association, state branches also exhibited leadership in this area. Dr. Chester Robinson's article on the parallel development of counselor identity within a state branch, Texas, and through the national association provides an interesting perspective on the challenges in establishing a voice for the counseling profession.

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