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Title: Anticipatory and emerging selves in the 'impossible professions' : a psychoanalytic analysis of the development of self and identity within the initial development of teachers, nurses and police officers
Author: Glasspoole-Bird, Helen
ISNI:       0000 0004 9359 8434
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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This research examines the development of self and identity during the initial stages of professional development for Freud’s ‘impossible professions’ - translated for this study as teaching, nursing and policing. Using a psychoanalytic framework, the thesis conceptualises the first professional placement as a transitional space where unconscious conflicts and anxiety in relation to diverse aspects of students’ expectations and experiences are played out. At a time of increasing emphasis on competency, performativity and measurable outcomes within the focus professions, this study explores the value of considering the complex unconscious dynamics of the individual during the process of professional education. In the first stage of the study, 121 students from across the three professions completed a questionnaire to map feelings about their professional education and forthcoming first placement. The findings, which revealed both excitement and fear of the unknown, supported the decision to focus on management of anxiety in the development of identity during students’ professional education. The second stage of the study included unstructured interviews with students before and towards the end of their first professional placement. Using a psychoanalytical approach, analysis of transcripts from the first interview develops a conceptualisation of an idealised, future ‘anticipatory-self’ which offered some stability at a time of transition and change. Analysis of transcripts from the second interview develops a conceptualisation of an ‘emerging-self’ which identified how each student was uniquely and psychically positioned to three common concepts within professional development: professional competence; professional responsibility; and professional recognition. The thesis constitutes an argument for the importance of acknowledging the influence of individuals’ affective and unconscious dynamics during professional education programmes which could enable more supportive management of anxiety and more meaningful development of a student’s sense of self.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available