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Helping Identity Transformations of Counselors-in-Training with Previous Mental Health Work Experience
Department: Counseling
Specimen Elements
Unknown to Unknown
Timothy J. Hakenewerth
Idaho State University
City: Pocatello
Previous work experiences are highly valued in the world of work (Tesluk & Jacobs, 1998) and can greatly impact one’s professional identity development (Taber & Blankemeyer, 2015).For counselors-in-training (CITs), previous mental health work experiences (PMHWE) are of significant interest due to their overlapping nature with professional counseling. There is a dearth ofliterature exploring the impact of previous work experiences in counseling, although some studies have suggested that PMHWE may pose unique benefits and challenges to counselor development (Purswell et al., 2019; Skovholt & Rønnestad,2003).The current study employed a social constructionist grounded theory using the methodology of Corbin and Strauss (2015) to explore the process of CITs integrating their PMHWE during a basic counseling skills course. Five CITs from CACREP-accredited programs contributed to the process during two intensive interviews and a member check. A grounded theory of the helping identity transformations of CITs with PMHWE was co-constructed.This process was characterized by four major categories: (1) Previous Mental Health Work Experience, (2) Reconciliation of Helping Identity, (3) The Reflective/Experiential Cycle of Meaning Making,and (4)Comparing to Other Students without Previous Mental Health Work Experience.The results of this study have implications for counselor educators and counselor educations programs to prepare CITs to facilitate successful growth and development during a transformative professional identity shift. Through guided reflection and intentional efforts at building a support network, CITs may also mitigate some of the unsettling effects as they reconcile their helping identities. xviii Recommendations for future research at the intersection of career and counselor development are also provided.Keywords: counselor development, counselor identity development, work experience, basic counseling skills, grounded theory

Helping Identity Transformations of Counselors-in-Training with Previous Mental Health Work Experience

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