Saturday, February 8, 2014

Professional Identity: What's In a Name?

This post is dedicated to all "school counselors" out there! Especially my friend, former classmate and colleague, Dr. Amy Upton. If you take one of her better ever not say the words "guidance counselor".

Lately, I have been getting annoyed by the lack of unity the school counseling profession seems to have as it relates to what we call ourselves. While on Linkedin, I saw "counselor", "school counselor", "guidance counselor" and "professional school counselor". WHAT!!!????!!!!???? Colleagues, I ask you...can we use ONE name, please???? Joe Public is NEVER NEVER EVER going to stop calling us "guidance counselor", if we don't stop calling ourselves that! We are school counselors! If you want to throw the professional in front  of it...that's fine; but for Pete's sake stop identifying yourself as a "guidance counselor". The term is outdated, antiquated and degrading. There are no professional organizations that even have the term "guidance counselor" in them. Does your state license still say "guidance counselor"? State legislation? The contract for your school division? If it does, then you need to contact your state SC organization and lobby for a change in terminology = advocacy.

Today, we are so much more! We are collaborators, consultants, data conquerors, advocates, leaders, role models and I could go on and on and on...We just don't "guide"! A whole bunch of professions "guide", but that doesn't make them a school counselor. Whenever, I hear someone say "guidance counselor", I correct them and say "oh, you mean the school counselor? It's not the "home ec" teacher anymore! It's not the "gym" teacher anymore! It's not the "shop" teacher anymore! So, we shouldn't be the "guidance counselor" anymore! C'mon people!!! It's 2014. It's PAST the time for a change. It's time to unite...One Name. Period! If you are still calling yourself a guidance counselor then I want you to look in the mirror and say three times to yourself, "I'm a school counselor. I'm a school counselor. I'm a school counselor. 

Now, doesn't that feel better? Because you can't be EXTRAORDINARY calling yourself a "guidance counselor"! 


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  2. Yes, yes, yes! Thank you! I need to actively work to get "guidance" removed from my colleagues' language and anywhere it is listed in my district. When I needed new business cards, I had "School Counselor" put under my name when before it just said "Counselor." We also need to stop using "head" counselor. ASCA prefers "lead" counselor just like it is lead architect and lead counsel for attorneys. "Head" sounds sedentary and static and "lead" is dynamic, leading the way. I am a school counselor and my department has a lead counselor.
    Paula at :)