Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Angela R. Staton


The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how counselor educators in Virginia define and describe Counseling as a distinct profession in light of the ACA’s 20/20 consensus definition. This research focused on directors and core faculty members (n=8) of eight separate counseling programs in Virginia. Participants engaged one 60-minute semistructured interview with the researcher. Member checking and bracketing were used to bolster the study’s trustworthiness. A priori coding using codes from the ACA’s 20/20 project (Kaplan, Tarvydas, & Gladding, 2014) and emergent coding processes were used separately to see if the data that emerged from the interviews mirrored the ACA’s codes and to create space for data outside of those preexisting codes to be seen. Five themes emerged from the data: Professional Standards and Accountability, Professional Differentiation, Professional Worldview, Professional Contributions, and Self as Professional. This study discusses how the interplay of these themes form the structure of Counseling as a distinct profession.



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