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Professional Identity Paper Essay

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A professional identity is figuring out results from a scientific study process that simplify a knowledge of your field of choice, that allows you to verbally express his or her function with anyone that is obsolete (Brott & Myers, (1999); Smith & Robinson, (1995). According to (Healey, Hays, (n.d.) “Within counseling, professional identity is a sequence of actions from an experimental execution which helps forward growing mental process of comprehension in your field of choice”. A professional identity gives the professional an opportunity to define his or her role within and outside of his or her profession.

The author explored philosophies and characteristics of the counseling profession.

Additionally, the author viewed roles and characteristics of an effective professional counselor. The author will explore two professional counseling organizations to examine the similarities and differences. The author will include the requirements for licensure and certification within the state of residence. The research will include an assessment of the current and future professional development. The author will consider the increase in the use of technology and the affect that it has on the creativity and performance within the counseling profession.

Key Philosophies

The author suggest that apprehension for the profession of counseling which encourages making wise choices is defined in terms of prevention, development, and wellness (Myers & Sweeney, p 483, 2008). According to Lawson (2007) “The wellness of a counselor has a direct impact on the quality of services that the clients receive”. The wellness of the counselor considers the counselor’s mental, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual health. In order for the counselor to be effective he or she must be in a place of function and growth. The counselor has to be well or grounded before he or she can assist others with their mental state. The idea of the key philosophies in counseling are relative to the counseling professional’s life span. The key philosophies are to sustain the counselor’s personal and professional identity.

Resilience is based on the endurance that one has when coping with stressful or crisis situations (Cherry, (2014). The profession requires that counselors apply their skills and strengths to help others cope with difficulties and obstacles. The resilience includes the counselor being able to cope with his or her personal problems as wells. Prevention in counseling is getting to the root of the problem. Getting to the root of the problem allows the counselor to help detour or prevent the cycle from continuing. The importance of prevention is to allow the counselor the privilege to prevent a crisis from happening (Cherry, (2014).

Roles and Characteristics

Marital and family therapist roles are professionals of mental health that must have a minimum master’s degree along with 2 years of clinical experience supervised. Marriage and family therapists are trained and licensed independently to recognize signs and symptoms to treat mental health issues along with substance abuse problems. The author states that marriage and family therapy is one of the core mental health disciplines and is based on the research and theory that mental illness and family problems are best treated in a family context. Trained in psychotherapy and family systems, marriage and family therapists focus on understanding their clients’ symptoms and interaction patterns within their existing environment (Marriage and Family Therapy (n.d.). The marital and family therapist treats clients but also perform couples and family therapy in groups. Family Therapists examine from relationship points of view that may incorporate family systems. The author states that roles and characteristics of an effective professional counselors’ possess special skills to state something with a wide range of problems to be had by clients. Author says the largest ranked characteristics that are major in rural marital and family therapy counselors as recognized, was more successful in experience in marital and family therapy (Hovestadt, Fenell, & Canfield, 2002).

The current project identified nine major supporting characteristic competencies. The research study has six major characteristics but nine competencies that reflect the need for marital and family therapists to be skilled proficiently in core. Marital and family therapy service providers were suggested to be prepared to use large ranges of clinical tactics within counseling with couples and families. The study specifies the common influence in change of therapeutics, understanding empathy and listening (Hovestadt, Fenell, & Canfield, 2002). The author says the six major characteristics are as follows: (1) Effectual proficient skills in Marriage and Family Therapy, (2) Small town understanding, being thankful, and Enthusiastic response, (3) Personal Characteristics and Flexibility, (4) Generalist a Non-specialization Organization, (5) Education, Training, and Skills in Marital Family Therapy (MFT) and (6) Using Formal and Informal rganization Resources ( Hovestadt, Fenell, & Canfield, 2002).

The author’s study stated the nine major characteristic competencies in rural marital family therapy incorporates: (1) Clinical flexibility with use of a variety of marital and family therapy therapeutic approaches, (2) Create a rapport to make successful connections with clients that have different values of the therapist, (3) marital and family therapist must demonstrate respect, empathy, being genuine and work concretely with rural families, (4) must have ability to maintain professionalism and a caring heart, (5) having knowledge and understanding of a systems functioning orientation, (6) interpret good case observations conceptually, (7) non-stereotypic and able to handle male and female clients, (8) able to work with families with alcohol and substance abuse problems (Hovestadt, Fenell, & Canfield, 2002).

Comparing and Contrasting Two Counseling Associations

The American Mental Health Counselors Association and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy compare somewhat in certain ways. These associations both have morals for education and training, clinical practice and display professional ethics. The author states since 1976, a mental health community agency and private counselors introduced the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA, 2013). An association for up and coming new counselors that were known as the practice of “mental health counseling.” Without credentials, licensure education and training standards, or other inscriptions of clinical profession, these mental health counselors worked with social workers and psychologists in developing community health service systems as ”paraprofessionals” or “allied health professionals” despite the fact that they held Master’s or Doctoral degrees (AMHCA,2013). In 1979, author states the early counselors of American Mental Health Counselors Association had organized four new key mechanisms for defining clinical professional specialties. This helped in the professional development of counselors. (1) Identifying definition of mental health counseling; (2) setting standards for educational and training, clinical practices and professional ethics; (3) creating national credentialing system; and (4) starting a professional journal, which includes research and clinical practice content (AMHCA).

The author states that American Mental Health Counselors Association aids in professional development of counselors with continuing education, standards of practice and research according to the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational programs (CACREP), knowledge and skills, post degree and pre licensure issues finally legal and ethical issues (AMHCA, 2013). According to the author (Marriage and Family Therapists (n.d.) “The counselors association comparison with the American Mental Health Counselors Association developed standards for education, training for Marriage and Family Therapists”. Marital and Family Therapist must have a master’s degree that includes graduate training in marriage and family therapy. The research states that it is also combined with 2 years of managed clinical practice with individuals, couples and families. Training of clinical members is in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment as a variety of uses of therapeutic techniques (Marriage and Family Therapy, (n.d.). According to (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT, (n.d.)

“Clinical members have to observe codes of ethics, welcome studies referring to training, experience, hypothetical introductory session and fees”. The association is a professional organization that represents over 23,000 Marriage and Family Therapist in the US, Canada, and abroad. In 1942, the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy believe therapists who have exact detailed education and training give the best actual mental health care to individuals, couples, and families (Marital and Family Therapy, (n.d.). The author further states that mental health professionals and clients notice needs for providing care for mental and emotional troubles within the families. Research has shows that family-based actions affecting another’s affairs are as effective, in many cases more effective than other different interventions, sometimes at decreased cost. Studies demonstrate that family therapy is sometimes the preferred method of depression treatment, alcohol and substance abuse, marital problems, children problems, couple enrichment, and schizophrenia (Marital and Family Therapy, (n.d.).

State Licensure and Certification Requirements

Research obtained to be a licensed professional counselor in Georgia is meeting educational and experience requirements to qualify for a state license to practice. In Georgia counseling practice includes counseling to treat and evaluate patients. As an applicant in Georgia for licensure, a master’s degree with focus in counseling must complete 4 years of supervised experience in professional counseling after degree is completed (Georgia Board of Prof., (2012). Three years supervised experience and completion of 300/hour internship during degree program. Planned coursework from Capella aligns itself with state licensure of Georgia and the course requirements of Georgia in order to obtain licensure and practice counseling in Georgia.

The Board is responsible by law for regulating the practice of professional counseling, social work, and marriage and family therapy, to protect health, safety and well being of people in Georgia (Georgia Board of Prof., (2012). According to (Georgia Board of Prof., (2012) “These roles are enforced by the education and training requirements established by law for licensure within each profession”. Also, by adopting and imposing code of ethics governing licensees, creating and demanding continuing education requirements are performed. Additionally, they also address unlicensed practices in these professions (Georgia Board of Prof., (2012).

Professional Development Key Areas

Professional development is defined as the process of obtaining acquisition skills, knowledge, quality attributes and experience for personal development that permits you to move forward and advance in your career. It encompasses many types of learning from degrees to formal coursework, conferences and informal education opportunities in practice. The resource gave nouns, adverbs, and adjectives supporting key areas that you would look at when assessing your own professional development (Macmillan Publisher Limited, (2009-2014).

The areas that influence my current and future professional development are; procuring an appointment for a job, especially an important job, my calling a strong feeling that you must do a particular type of job, especially one that you consider morally well, collaboration the process of my counseling career now and in the future to produce by working together with people, being able to function professionally, my particular responsibility, job security knowing that the knowledge that is gained and future educational training will allow me to have a permanent career, prospects networking and forming different relationships for chances of success, especially in the career of my choosing lastly, work experience establishing training experience and skills that you gain in doing a particular job setting up for future career (Macmillan Publishers Limited, (2009-2014).


The use of technology has afforded society ways to improve creativity and performance concerning the counseling profession. Over the years technology has been used to enhance the usual practice of counseling through the advancement and sharing of information amongst the professionals (Skovolt, Grier, and Hanson, (2001). The counseling profession uses technology for communication, training, treatment, and diagnosis. Although, technology has aided in improving the counseling profession there are some disadvantages. According to Goss and Anthony (2009) “Practitioners who partake in technological medicated therapies should be mindful of possible violations of ethical principles” (p 225). In any form of practice the counselor should be properly trained and equipped to handle the unexpected. The author states the use of technology is more than beneficial for the counselor in accessing experts, colleagues and various information that will allow the user to improve his or her practice.

Conversing with clients via chat forums or groups, one on one video chats, or through private websites can help the counselor in treatments or therapeutic mediating. Although some clients will prefer the office sessions, the idea of right now therapy can help in crisis situations and will allow the counselor and the patient almost immediate contact via advanced technology. Technology offers convenience and benefits for both the practitioner and participant. With the rapid changes in society, technology will continue to be a vehicle to enhance the performance and innovations of the counseling profession (Skovalt, Grier, and Hanson, (2001).


In conclusion, the study of professional identity not only encompassed the understanding that results from a developmental process in a chosen field. It is good to know that the wellness of the counselors’ mental, physical, social, emotional and spiritual health must be functional to be perfective. Having resilience of endurance to cope with stress and crisis situations is a major part of a counselors’ career. In the age of evolution now when everything incorporates some type of technology, it can be positive or negative. Although the majority of society communicates with modern technology, we have to think about those who are not literate of the devices. But, all in all it is a plus to every doctor, nurse, counselor etc. The research of the roles and characteristics, comparing and contrasting and professional develop seem to go hand in hand.

They all have many of the same attributes of effectiveness of skills, understanding, education, training and experience. Understanding state licensure and certification was nothing new because it had to be incorporated in the entrance essay. There is a lot that comes with being licensed and state board certified but it will be achieved. Heretofore, professional identity is the understanding that results from developmental processes that simplify a growing understanding of one’s chosen field, allowing one to articulate his or her role with others in and outside the discipline.


Brott, P. E., & Myers, J. E. (1999). Development of professional school counselor identity: A grounded theory. Professional School Counseling, 2(5), 339. Smith, H. B., & Robinson, G. P. (1995). Mental Health Counseling; Past, present, and future. Journal of Counseling & Development, 74(2), 158-162. Healey, A. and Hays, D. (n.d.) Retrieved October 25, 2014. http://www.shsu.edu/piic/DefiningCounselingProfessionalIdentityfromaGenderedPerspecti- ve.htm.

Hovestadt, A.J., Fenell, D.L., & Canfield, B. S. (2002). Characteristics of effective providers of marital and family therapy in rural mental health
settings. Retrieved October 23, 2014. http://search.proquest.com.library.cxapella.edu/docview/220968085?accountid=27965Marriage and Family Therapists. (n.d.). Retrieved October 25, 2014. http://www.aamft.org/iMIS15/AAMFT/Content/consumer_updates/Marriage_and_Family_Therapists.aspxAmerican Mental Health Counselors Association, (2013). Retrieved October 25, 2014. http://www.amhca.org GA Board of Prof. Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage & Family Therapists, (2012). Retrieved October 20, 2014. http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/licensing/plb/43 Macmillan Publishers Limited, (2009-2014). Retrieved October 20, 2014. http://www.macmillandictionary.com/thesaurus-category/british/professional-developmentCherry, Kendra (n.d.). What is Resilience? Coping with Crisis. Retrieved October 25, 2014, http://psychology.about.com/od/crisiscounseling/a/resilience.htm Gross, S. and Anthony, K.. (2009). Developments in the use of technology in counselling and psychotherapy. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling Vol. 37 No. 3 Lawson, Gerard. (2007). Counselor Wellness and Impairment: A National Survey. American Counseling Association. Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education, and Development. Skovholt, T., Grier, T., and Hanson, M.. (2001). Career Counseling for Longevity: Self-Care and Burnout Prevention Strategies for Counselor Resilience. Journal of Career Development. Vol. 27, No. 3

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