Stipanovic, Natalie

Committee Member

Helm, Heather

Committee Member

Rings, Jeffrey

Committee Member

Birnbaum, Matthew


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; Applied Psychology and Counselor Education, Counselor Education and Supervision


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



297 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Similar to other mental health professionals, Counselor Educators work in a variety academic, clinical and business settings. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) (2016) describes CES doctoral programs as preparing “graduates to work as Counselor Educators, supervisors, researchers, and practitioners in academic and clinical settings” (p. 38). However, research has only minimally focused on Counselor Educators who work in private practice settings, especially group counseling practices. Swickert’s (1997) research on the professional identity of Counselor Educators in private practice settings signifies the most recent study of counselor education that references Counselor Educators’ professional identities and private practices. Additionally, CACREP (2016) standards indicate that leadership is one of Counselor Educators’ central roles in the field of counseling. Yet, researchers have not investigated Counselor Educators in private practices or group counseling practices and their leadership roles. This dissertation study addresses the gap in the literature through a narrative inquiry of eight Counselor Educators who work full time in a private group counseling practice. The research process steps, included a semistructured interview with a photo-elicitation component and a member-checking process that involved participants’ reading of their restoried narrative poetry that I created based on our interview transcriptions. Results indicate that Counselor Educators in full time group counseling practice settings experience their professional identity and leadership development and roles in conjunction with their navigation of alignment with the self, navigation of alignment with professional identity and navigation of alignment with the field and being a Counselor Educator in a group counseling practice. Furthermore, results suggest that there are several variables that impact how closely aligned participants feel to themselves, their professional identity, and the field of counselor education. Implications of the findings include that Counselor Educators can be more intentional in their pedagogy to ensure they are inclusive of future practice in a variety of settings, and leadership development. Specific recommendations for Counselor Educators are presented. Areas for future research include an examination of practicing Counselor Educators, specifically for those in private practice settings, and leadership roles.

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