Counsellor identity development : an authoethnographic account of emergent counsellor identity.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Counselling
In New Zealand counselling degree programmes there is a focus on skill development within social learning environments, yet there is limited autoethnographic research exploring the identity development of trainee and beginning counsellors within social learning systems. This autoethnographic research uses Wenger’s (1998) Communities of Practice (CoP) framework to show how practices within social learning systems influenced my own identity development as a counsellor, and how the reflective and reflexive practices of supervision, poetry reading, and meditation, enabled counter-narratives to emerge, which enabled me to develop and/or transform my identity as a counsellor.
Counselling social learning systems enabled me to negotiate the meaning of practices, and develop an identity of competence, an identity of participation, and construct a future identity as a counsellor. Some counselling social learning systems were very challenging and within them I developed an identity of non-participation, and felt powerless and incompetent. Reflective and reflexive practices enabled me to reexamine my experiences in social learning systems and consequently I was able to develop and/or transform my identity as a counsellor. Through supervision and the introspective practices of meditation and reading of poetry I strengthened an identity of competence, increased my awareness of how I was being influenced by social learning systems and how my own practices influenced them in return, and was able to view situations from changed perspectives. My identity as a counsellor emerged from the dynamic interplay between experiences in social learning systems, and reflective and reflexive practices.