|dc.description.abstract||The following quotation raises an issue fundamental to career guidance practitioners’ professional the identity:
"We need to be mindful that the concept of guidance doesn’t get undermined, because one of the issues is everybody thinks they can do guidance." (Senior career guidance manager, England, 2001).
The complex multi-faceted environment within which career guidance is delivered requires practitioners to respond positively and operate ‘professionally’ to achieve visions created by social planners who may not share the same understanding of what constitutes guidance. In an age where everyone now lays claim to being a ‘professional’ (Fournier, 1999), guidance practitioners’ professional identity is threatened, changed and subtly redesigned to accommodate new circumstances.
This paper examines influences on the formation of professional identity, and outlines research based in Aotearoa New Zealand. By drawing on the work of Michel Foucault, the location of the subject (i.e. the career guidance practitioner) in relation to these discourses becomes significant, and the concept of ‘care of the self’ relating to identity formation becomes important in understanding practitioners’ own attitudes and feelings towards their work.||en