Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Corey Colyer

Committee Member

Jason Manning

Committee Member

Christopher Scheitle


As a compulsory part of our society, schools are a prominent institution in the United States and abroad. In a system with multiple domains of specialized professionals, it is important to define their roles, determine where there is overlap, and assess if both professions are functioning to best assist students. This study examines the boundary work and professionalization of two emerging mental health professions within the school system: guidance counselors and school psychologists. Thematic analysis of the boundary work in the editorials of each professions’ flagship journal show that much of the boundary work between the journals is similar and has not differed much over time and includes themes of professional structures, developmental psychology, and the altering of teachers and administrators. The only exception to this is both professions’ new, contemporary focus on social advocacy and community activism. Further research in this topic may explore boundary work between guidance counselors and school psychologists and teachers and administrators since these are the main boundaries being drawn within the two professions analyzed. Additionally, if social justice and community work continues to be a focus of these professions, further research will be required to understand how school psychologists and guidance counselors justify their entrance into this problem and how they carve out their piece of it.