Counsellors Negotiating Professional Identity In The Midst of Exogenous Change: A Case Study

Kate Gignac, Université D'Ottawa / University Of Ottawa, Université D'Ottawa / University Of Ottawa
This research study sought to understand how Canadian counsellors in the province of Ontario negotiated and constructed their professional identity amid unfolding regulatory changes. These changes would bring restrictions to both title use and practice of psychotherapy once the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario was established and legislation was fully enacted. For those who identify with the title of 'counsellor' and share overlapping scopes of practice with psychotherapy it is
more » ... uncertain what they will draw upon to construct, rework or maintain their counsellor professional identity. The intention was to build a descriptive, experiential account of the identity work being done by counsellors as they navigated through the uncertainty accompanying this period of transition. A qualitative single case study design was used to explore the particularity of this contemporary occurrence of professional identity construction employing multiple data collection sources to garner a holistic picture of this phenomenon. Input was gathered from twenty-four Ontario counsellors who were students, novice or experienced practitioners who either participated in two semi-structured interviews (n=10) or an asynchronous virtual focus group hosted in the discussion forum of Blackboard Learn™ (n= 14). Additional data sources included the use of a demographic questionnaire, participant observation, and document analysis. In order to augment more subtle or deeper meaning levels additional data collection instruments were employed and these included the use of participant diagramming, a request for a descriptive metaphor, and graphic elicitation diagram. Using a thematic analysis strategy, a within case and cross analysis of the embedded subunits was undertaken. Findings from the data analysis revealed a number of salient themes that offered insights into how counsellors construct their professional identity during periods of uncertainty. There were five higher order or global themes which emerged: (a) counsellors have a se [...]
doi:10.20381/ruor-4080 fatcat:fhhhelvi55bznbrw3guwwtdwc4