Date of Award

8-1998

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Karen Blaisure

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan Hovestadt

Third Advisor

Dr. Ronald Werner-Wilson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Paul Yelsma

Abstract

Over the years, numerous proposals have been made in the counselor education (CE) literature about what counseling philosophy can best lead the profession to a distinctive professional identity (Bauman & Waldo, 1998; Fong & Lease, 1994; Guterman, 1994). An issue in this debate is whether psychiatric diagnostic training forms a part of a counseling philosophy (i.e., model-for-helping) and professional identity that is more focused on client psychopathology than on normal developmental issues. This study explored how training and experience in psychiatric diagnostic categories (PDCs) influenced counselors’ development of their counseling philosophy and professional identity.

Focus-group interviews were held at four regional universities. Data from these interviews were analyzed using a form o f poststructural discourse analysis (Potter & Wetherell, 1994). Participant orientation (Potter & Wetherell, 1987) was among the methods used to validate the study results (Lincoln & Guba, 1985).

Results shed light on the relationships among psychiatric diagnostic training, counseling philosophy, and professional identity. Research participants’ talk about the place of psychiatric diagnostic training in their counseling philosophy and professional identity occurred in two broad, mutually exclusive ways that reflected their PDC training and experience. Research participants with more PDC training and experience talked more favorably about PDCs but were less likely to describe a distinctive counseling philosophy and professional identity. Research participants with less PDC training and experience talked less favorably about PDCs but were more likely to describe a distinctive counseling philosophy and professional identity.

Given these data, counseling students would benefit from an earlier introduction of PDCs into the counseling curriculum in a way that retains what they see as distinctive about the counseling profession while helping them integrate their counseling philosophy with the philosophy of PDCs.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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