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The professional identity of school counselors has evolved over time. This article traces the historical context driving this evolution, and suggests it is time for the profession to conjoin the roles of educational leader and mental health professional. This proposal is prompted by heightened awareness of unmet student mental health needs, referrals that go unmet, school counselors displaced by other mental health providers in schools, the potential loss of the unique school counselor role, and the natural link between the mental health professional role and the array of personal-social factors that impact student achievement. A conjoint professional school counselor identity that includes the roles of both educational leader and mental health professional positions school counselors to better respond to all students, including those with mental health needs. This article discusses potential roadblocks and offers suggestions for action.


Originally published in Professional School Counseling, 16(5). 271-282.

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