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Development of professional identity – Singapore counsellors in tertiary educational institutions

Hsi, TKT; (2017) Development of professional identity – Singapore counsellors in tertiary educational institutions. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Though Counselling as a field has been in existence in Singapore for the last 30 years, many individuals (both public and members of other professions) still do not have a clear idea of the roles played by counsellors. Even though attempts have been made towards becoming a fully professionalised practice, counsellors’ professional identity is still fairly weak. The purpose of this study was to identify elements of practice which influence the development of professional identity amongst counsellors working in tertiary educational institutions in Singapore. The findings from this study seek to fill a gap in the limited literature on professional development of counsellors in Singapore as well as to potentially be used as the foundation for the construction of a competency framework for future professional development of counsellors. Adopting a constructivist grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2006), this research sought to identify factors which assisted or hindered the development of professional identity amongst counsellors in Singapore’s tertiary educational institutions. Individual interviews and focus groups were conducted with 20 counsellors from across the various tertiary educational institutions in Singapore. Four categories were identified to be significant influencers for the development of professional identity: ‘Adapting to expectations’ and ‘Building knowledge and skills’ within the personal dimension of self and ‘Building support networks’ and ‘Navigating practice within the socio-politico environment’ within the interpersonal dimension of self. The results indicated that professional identity development happens in a process when counsellors become intentionally engaged with stakeholders whilst ensuring good service to students and being responsive to management requests. Additionally, counsellors who continually build their knowledge and practice increase their credibility amongst stakeholders as well. It appears that the process of building a professional identity requires a willingness of the counsellor to negotiate the personal and interpersonal dimensions of their professional self, whilst being engaged in the various job demands.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Development of professional identity – Singapore counsellors in tertiary educational institutions
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1535372
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