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Keywords:

  • professional identity development;
  • practicing counselors

The purpose of this qualitative grounded theory study was to investigate practicing counselors' professional identity development at nodal points during their career. Through the use of 6 focus groups of beginning, experienced, and expert counselors, 26 participants shared their experiences, and 6 themes emerged to form a theory of transformational tasks of professional identity development. Through these tasks, counselors encountered issues of idealism toward realism, burnout toward rejuvenation, and compartmentalization toward congruency.