How do counselling psychologists in the UK construct their responsibilites to the wider world? : a Foucauldian discourse analysis
Counselling psychology’s Professional Practice Guidelines state that "counselling psychologists will consider at all times their responsibilities to the wider world". (Division of Counselling Psychology, 2005, p.7). It is suggested that the way in which counselling psychologists construct their relationship with the wider world could impact on practice, training, research and counselling psychology professional identity. A critique of the extant literature found that this issue has not previously been researched. Five counselling psychologists were asked in semi-structured interviews about their responsibilities to the wider world. Foucauldian Discourse Analysis was applied to the transcript of the interviews. Different constructions of the relationship between counselling psychology and the wider world were identified in the transcript and located in four wider discourses: professionalism, scientific, social activism and guru. Common themes across responsibilities constructed by participants utilising the different discourses included: the wider world being outside of the consulting room; difficulties defining responsibilities; and responsibilities being weighty. Responsibilities to communicate knowledge were constructed using three of the discourses. Both the guru and scientific discourses were mobilised to construct responsibilities to engage with technologies of the self (Foucault, 1988). In contrast the professionalism discourse was used to construct a responsibility to perform to others in order to appear professional. The implications of these constructions for counselling psychology, and the discourses mobilised by participants, are discussed.
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