Date of Award

5-2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Counselor Education

Major Professor

Casey Barrio Minton

Committee Members

Laura Wheat, Pamelia Brott, Barbara Thayer-Bacon

Abstract

The purpose of this narrative inquiry was to understand the experiences of marginalized counselor educators (CEs) as they negotiated their personal identities during professional identity development (PID). Three research questions addressed this purpose: How do personal attributes play a role in CEs’ experiences negotiating identity during PID? How are CEs’ personal attributes impacted by engagement in the PID process? And, in what ways do CEs express their personal identities in their professional settings?Participants in this study were individuals (n = 8) who identified as women, racial/ethnic minorities, and/or sexual/gender minorities, earned doctoral degrees in counselor education and supervision between 2015-2018, and were currently employed as full-time faculty members in CACREP-accredited counseling programs. Data were collected via 60-90 minute, semi-structured interviews and written letters to self provided by participants post-interview. The researcher used the transformational task model (Gibson et al., 2010; Gibson et al., 2015) of PID with a constructivist, narrative framework to gather and explore participants’ stories negotiating marginalized identity during PID and develop themes.Findings from a narrative thematic analysis indicated that participants faced multiple types of adversity, primarily through interpersonal relationships in professional settings, that provoked experiences of ongoing identity negotiation. Contexts included environments, norms, and expectations set by individuals within individual environments and heavily influenced participants’ experiences with the phenomenon of inquiry. Contexts influenced what, how, and to what degree participants negotiated marginalized identities in professional settings. Participants’ identity negotiation experiences included more than suppression of an individual identity form or expression. Participants engaged in a process of navigation that included negotiation of marginalized identity and action steps to promote intersectional identity development and expression in professional settings. Participants expressed an ongoing need to engage in navigation, which impacted their perceptions and expressions of identity over time. Despite adverse experiences, participants authentically expressed intersectional forms of their personal identities in some professional settings. Inclusive environments and supportive relationships that encouraged and validated intersectionality and authenticity were noted as influential to participants’ authentic expressions. Based on these findings, implications for professional practice in counselor education and future research were provided.

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