Professional Counseling Conferences: Influence on Professional Identity of Counselor Education Doctoral Students

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One approach to becoming acquainted with academia and the professional world is attending and presenting at professional conferences. Counselor education doctoral students (CEDS) are encouraged to attend and participate through networking, presenting, volunteering, and serving in leadership roles at professional conferences. Attending a professional conference is one way to elevate a professional identity and develop other specialized identities (e.g., counselor educator, advocator, researcher, and leadership). There is a plethora of literature on the significance of developing a professional identity. However, the literature is sparse on the significance of a professional conference in developing the professional identity of CEDS. This study addressed the lack of information on professional conferences’ influence on the professional identity development (PID) of CEDS who attend a Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) counselor education program. A qualitative instrumental case study was used to understand the conference experiences and perceptions of CEDS from CACREP programs in developing their professional identity. Furthermore, barriers were identified that might prevent conferences from contributing to the PID of CEDS. Findings from this study can inform counselor education programs, counseling associations, developers of professional conferences, supervisors, and mentors in endeavors to foster the professional identity of CEDS.

Embargo status: Restricted until 01/2025. To request the author grant access, click on the PDF link to the left.

professional identity development, counselor education doctoral students, professional conferences