Professional identity development is crucial for counselors-in-training, as it provides a frame of reference for understanding their chosen field and contributes to a sense of belonging within the professional community. This qualitative study examined the impact of mindfulness on professional identity development among counselors-in-training. Participants reported that mindfulness, along with experiential learning and mentoring, served as a facilitator in completing the transformational tasks in the process of professional identity development. The preliminary results from this qualitative study warrant further research to examine and validate the impact of mindfulness on professional identity development among counselors-in-training.
Counselors-in-training may struggle in working with addictions populations for various reasons, including limited training, pre-existing stigma toward the population, and low self-efficacy treating substance use disorders. This is concerning because professional counselors have the highest proportion of clients with a primary substance abuse diagnosis. The authors explored the experiential learning approach of an abstinence project within an addictions course in an attempt to give students a genuine experience that parallels what an individual with an addiction may experience. The authors utilized generic qualitative analysis to explore the experience of 17 counseling students completing the abstinence assignment. The emergent themes of (1) concrete experiences, (2) dealing with cravings, (3) student’s self-reflection of learning, and (4) empathetic understanding and challenging attitudes are presented. Finally, future areas of research and implications for counselor educators are discussed.