Identity Development and Models
This chapter focuses on counsellor identity, how identity can affect the counselling relationship and the need for counsellors, regardless of cultural background, to understand their own and others' cultural identities. Identity formation actually begins in young children, and significant development occurs during adolescence, when maturational ability allows self-determination, abstract future-oriented thought, expanding social roles, and more astute recognitions of one's culture and those of others. Examining feminist identity development for White women is important due to women's experience of both White privilege and marginalization. Several models of lesbian and gay identity development have been proposed. Proposing various numbers of stages and times of acceptance of lesbian and gay identity development, each model can help counsellors better understand their own sexual orientations and identities as well as identity development in gay and lesbian clients. It is not feasible to explore in detail all the models of gay and lesbian identity development here; however, several models are examined in.