Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

School Counselors Deliver Information about School Counseling and Their Work: What Professional Message Is Conveyed?

Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

School Counselors Deliver Information about School Counseling and Their Work: What Professional Message Is Conveyed?

Article excerpt

The establishment of a profession is based on the development of a clear, defined identity, role uniqueness, and recognition on the part of the professional community, stakeholders, and the public (Erhard & Klingman, 2004; Nugent & Jones, 2009). For many years, the school counseling profession has suffered from functional ambiguity that is evident in the field and described in the professional literature (Borders, 2002; Campbell & Dahir, 1997; Erhard & Klingman, 2004; House & Hayes, 2002; Sink, 2002; Shimoni & Lazovsky, 2007). In the last decade, research has increased understanding that the ambiguity surrounding the definition of the school counselor's role has led to school counselors' work often being derived from a set of priorities determined by the principal and other stakeholders rather than from a set of professional priorities (Clemens, Milsom, & Cashwell, 2009; Dodson, 2009; House & Hayes, 2002). This situation is also reflected in the fact that the counselor performs functions that are not included in the definition of the profession (American School Counselor Association [ASCA], 2012; Lambie & Williamson, 2004; Shimoni, 2005). In recent years, the preoccupation with establishing a distinct definition of school counseling has increased both in the U.S. (The Education Trust, 2009) and in Israel (Deshevsky, 2009). Professional and ethical school counselors are directed by the ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors (ASCA, 2010) to inform all stakeholders, including students, parents and guardians, teachers, administrators, community members, and others, of the best ethical practices, values and expected behaviors of the school counseling professional. The ASCA ethical standards (ASCA, 2010) emphasizes the ethical responsibilities to school, communities, and families by delineating and promoting the school counselor's role and by informing parents/guardians of the school counselor's role.

Although the progress achieved in consolidating a distinct, unique, and function-based definition contributes to the formation of an identity, it is not sufficient in itself to ensure recognition of the profession by stakeholders and the community; recognition requires familiarity with the profession and awareness of its mission and contribution. The underlying hypothesis of the present research is that the information school counselors deliver regarding school counseling, their work, and themselves affords an opportunity for role clarification and professional advocacy and may well advance the school counselor's professional work. The aims of this research were threefold: first, to identify the channels through which school counselors deliver information about themselves and their work and the extent of the use of these channels; second, to learn about the extent of the information that school counselors share with various populations; and third, to examine the existing transfer of information according to different domains.

School Counseling: Between Ambiguity and Distinction

The history of school counseling in the U.S. started at the turn of the 20th century. The identity of school counseling was strengthened in 1952 with the formation of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA; Lambie & Williamson, 2004). In Israel, school counseling was established nearly a decade later in 1960 (Karayanni, 1996). Since then, its definition has developed from a narrow one into a multidisciplinary one, and from an ambiguous and indistinct definition into that of a distinct profession (Deshevsky, 2009; Erhard & Klingman, 2004; Shimoni & Lazovsky, 2007). It seems that school counseling is a profession characterized by constant development (Calley & Hawley, 2008) and by numerous and accelerated changes and alterations.

Various trends, such as individual intervention versus systemic orientation and prevention versus remediation, have characterized the changing positioning of the profession in the system (Deshevsky, 2009). …

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