Hypothesis and Purpose of the Study
Phillips and Leahy (2012) conducted a study among rehabilitation counselors to predict if participants have joined professional associations, joined but left, or refrained from membership. In terms of factors that can help predict the membership status (current, former, or never a member), the main hypothesis was that “rehabilitation counseling professional identity salience” (Phillips & Leahy, 2012, p. 209) was a factor of positive correlation; the greater it is, the higher the chances are that a rehabilitation counselor is a member of a professional association.
We will write a custom Research Paper on Rehabilitation Counseling Associations’ Membership specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Choice of Topic
I was browsing through different relevant articles, and I was intrigued when I came across the one by Phillips and Leahy (2012). Few studies are dedicated to professional association membership among rehabilitation counselors. The authors showed me that this was an important topic because the professionals’ unwillingness to join such associations may indicate serious issues in the professional community that can ultimately affect the quality of counseling.
Two instruments were used: the Professional Identification (PID) scale and the Professional Association Survey (PAS); the latter was designed for the study specifically. The instruments were distributed among the sample members in several steps: testing on the target population, revising, and delivering revised materials to the participants for data collection.
The participants were holders of certified rehabilitation counselors, members of rehabilitation counseling professional associations, or individuals with both the certificate and the membership. Out of 1,257 participants, 35.8 percent were current members, 25.8 percent were former members, and 38.4 percent were never members.
Generally, the authors’ main hypothesis was confirmed: rehabilitation counselors with greater professional identity salience were found to be more likely to be current members of professional associations. Also, it was shown that people who valued being members of a professional association were more likely to be current members of such associations, which I did not think was a valuable conclusion.
The main issue raised by the study was the professional identity of rehabilitation counselors. Professional association membership is used as a particular aspect of the professional community that demonstrated that the community might experience the insufficiency of a common vision or other factors that should contribute to strengthening the identity and the community. It is important because, according to Phillips and Leahy (2012), professional identity affects how professionals behave.
How I Would Do the Study Differently
I would exclude the variable of value in rehabilitation counseling professional association membership (see Findings). I think it is obvious that people who report that they appreciate membership in professional associations are more likely to be current members. I do not think that establishing this correlation deserved serious academic attention.
Other findings, however, I find it important, and I think they make a positive contribution to rehabilitation counseling. The authors linked activeness in the professional community (expressed in membership) to professional identity. They showed (although it was not their primary purpose) that rehabilitation counselors should work toward strengthening professional identity, and this should be carried out not on the individual but the group level.
Questions Not Answered
What I still want to know about the topic is several reasons for rehabilitation counselors to join professional associations. I think a qualitative study of the same population can help answer the question. The matter of professional identity has been explored for counseling in different spheres (Kaplan, Tarvydas, & Gladding, 2014). Exploring such aspects of the professional community as motives for membership in professional associations can contribute to better understanding this matter.
Kaplan, D. M., Tarvydas, V. M., & Gladding, S. T. (2014). 20/20: A vision for the future of counseling: The new consensus definition of counseling. Journal of Counseling & Development, 92(3), 366-372.
Phillips, B. N., & Leahy, M. J. (2012). Prediction of membership in rehabilitation counseling professional associations. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 55(4), 207-218.