A grounded theory study on the development of a professional identity in trainee counselling psychologists

Stapley, Torstein (2014) A grounded theory study on the development of a professional identity in trainee counselling psychologists. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This study set out to explore the development of a professional identity in trainee Counselling Psychologists in the United Kingdom. Professional identity development involves the acquisition of attitudes, values, knowledge and skills pertaining to the profession (Page, 2005), as well as the acquirement of new role behaviours and new views of the self (McElhinney, 2008). Bucher and Stelling (1977) argued that the basic foundation of a professional identity is constructed during the professional training period when the individual undergoes an initial socialisation to the profession. Yet, research exploring professional identity development in trainee Counselling Psychologists in the UK is limited.

Adopting a constructivist grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2006), this research expected to identify and understand which factors aid and inhibit professional identity development in trainee Counselling Psychologists. Semi-structured interviews were used to explore how nine trainee Counselling Psychologists from a selection of universities and training stages experienced the development of their professional identity. Four interconnected concepts were identified as influential in professional identity development: process, competing/selling, character and subjugating.

The results indicated that professional identity development involves attaining a sense of authority, competence, responsibility and autonomy in the professional role through engagement with self, others and the wider contexts of the training. Role ambiguity and role conflict were found to impede the trainee’s identification with the professional role. It appears that the process of developing a professional identity includes a willingness to negotiate tensions between the subjective and the objective, engage with a multitude of demands, and that the development of a professional identity occurs throughout the training. The findings were discussed, with particular consideration to how trainee Counselling Psychologists can be facilitated in their development of a professional identity.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: uk.bl.ethos.629447
Uncontrolled Keywords: trainee counselling psychologists; trainee counsellors; trainee psychotherapists; counselling psychology; grounded theory; career development
Subjects: 100 Philosophy & psychology > 150 Psychology
Department: School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2016 10:28
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2016 10:00
URI: http://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/718

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