A personal guiding theory of counseling is an important component of professional identity development for counselors. We utilized the qualitative methodology of portraiture to explore how professional counselors understand their own personal guiding theories of counseling. Three research portraits are shared that demonstrate how participants use the counseling relationship as the means to incorporate their personal guiding theories into their work with clients. Implications for counselors and counselor educators and future research are presented.


Personal Guiding Theory, Qualitative Research, Portraiture, Counselor Identity Development

Author Bio(s)

Amy L. Barth, PhD, LPC is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counselor Education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where she has taught courses in clinical skills, counseling theories, marriage and family counseling, and lifespan development. Her research interests include personal guiding theory development, counselor identity development, and supervision. Dr. Barth is holds counseling licenses in both Illinois and Wisconsin. She has over 15 years of counseling experience, working with individuals, families, and groups in both agency and university settings. Additionally, Dr. Barth provides clinical supervision to post-graduate counselor trainees. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: bartha@uww.edu.

Jane E. Rheineck, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at Mount Mary University, where she has taught classes in clinical skills, counseling ethics, and lesbian, gay, bisexual issues (LGBT). Dr. Rheineck has an ongoing program of research and scholarship that focuses on a variety of LGBT and Gender issues. Dr. Rheineck is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in the state of Illinois and has a clinical background that reflects a broad range of experiences that include adolescent inpatient residential treatment, outpatient counseling with adults, and mental health counseling in the schools. In addition to her clinical background, Dr. Rheineck has experience in higher education/student affairs with an emphasis in student development and counseling. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: jrheineck@niu.edu.

Carrie Merino PhD., LPC is an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Carrie teaches courses related to research, psychological assessment and addictions in addition to core clinical courses. She has clinical experience with numerous populations including individuals who struggle with AODA, crisis and suicide, couple and family counseling, working with children and adolescents, and juveniles with sexual behavior problems. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: merinoc@uww.edu.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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