A “Chameleonic” Identity: Foreign-Born Doctoral Students in U.S. Counselor Education

  • Claudia G. InterianoEmail author
  • Jae Hoon Lim


This study explored the interplay between a multidimensional model of acculturation and professional identity development among eight foreign-born doctoral students in U.S. counselor education. Themes generated through an interpretive phenomenological analysis revealed that the participants, while trying to adapt to the Euro-American cultural context of their counselor programs, experienced a sense of conflict, loss, and grief, resulting in what they called a “chameleonic” professional identity. Findings illustrated that for international counseling students, professional identity development is an arduous and complex process deeply intertwined with their acculturation experiences. Implications for counselor programs and future research are further discussed.


Foreign-born students Acculturation Counselor education 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CounselingUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational LeadershipUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA

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