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- Analysis of the Impact of CACREP Accreditation of Counselor Education Programs on Student Knowledge Outcomes
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The principal investigator (PI) for this study analyzed mean scores on the National Counselor Examination (NCE) of students from CACREP accredited and non- CACREP accredited programs. Data was provided by the National Board of Certified Counselors, Inc., for a total of ten examination administrations across six years. The fourteen variables examined in the study consisted of the eight common-core knowledge domains identified in CACREP standards, the five counselor work behavior areas identified by NBCC via periodic job analysis of counseling practice, and one overall or total score on the NCE. NCE mean scores of students from CACREP accredited programs were higher than NCE mean scores of students from non-CACREP accredited programs on all variables across all ten NCE administrations. Data seem to indicate that students from CACREP accredited programs perform significantly better on the NCE than students from non-CACREP accredited programs, in all fourteen variables. Sample size was large, totaling 9707, so the PI calculated effect sizes using Cohen's d for each variable to aid interpretation of statistical significance. Five variables had large effect sizes of .70 or higher. The higher effect size statistics were associated with the counselor work behavior areas, with the highest effect size (.85) associated with the overall, or total, score on the NCE. Statistically significant results in the counselor work behavior areas, in the presence of large effect size statistics, may represent reasonably good support for CACREP accredited programs' superiority in developing overall counselor clinical skills and knowledge beyond simply content knowledge. Additionally, the large effect size of the Total Score variable might be interpreted to indicate that student knowledge gained from CACREP accredited programs is superior to student knowledge gained from non-CACREP accredited programs.
- Attitudes of American School Counselor Association Members toward Utilizing Paraprofessionals in School Counseling
- The principal investigator (PI) for this study surveyed 207 American School Counselor Association (ASCA) members on their attitudes toward utilizing trained counseling paraprofessionals in school counseling. The PI also examined the relationship between participants attitudes and their subjective reports of the counselor-student ratios in their schools, the amount of work time they spent providing direct counseling services to students, and the extent to which their districts experienced a school counselor shortage. The participants mean reported counselor-student ratio (1:464.63) significantly exceeded ASCA recommendations of 1:250. Elementary counselors reported the highest counselor-student ratios while high school counselors reported the lowest. Furthermore the PI found a significant linear trend for counselor-student ratios to decrease as school level increased. The participants reported mean percentage of time involved in direct counseling services (61.48%) fell significantly below the ASCA recommended 70%. Elementary counselors reported the highest amount of time involved in direct counseling services while high school counselors reported the lowest. The PI also found a significant linear trend for percentages of time involved in direct services to decrease as school level increased. Over one-fourth of the participants indicated school counselor shortages existed in their districts. A majority of participants supported utilizing counseling paraprofessionals in their schools. The PI found a significant negative correlation between support for counseling paraprofessionals and percentage of time involved in direct services. Participants reporting the lowest percentage of time providing direct services to students thus expressed the strongest endorsement for utilizing counseling paraprofessionals. Participants most strongly endorsed assigning clerical duties to counseling paraprofessionals. They likewise endorsed assigning some indirect helping duties to counseling paraprofessionals. However, participants strongly opposed assigning direct counseling duties to counseling paraprofessionals. Based on the results of the study the PI developed recommendations for school counselors, school administrators, state education agencies, and institutions of higher learning regarding the training, education, and job duties of counseling paraprofessionals.
- A descriptive study of accredited counseling programs.
- The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) is the accrediting body for the field of counselor education. Since the inception of the standards, several individuals have published journal articles reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of CACREP accreditation. The purpose of this study was to do a preliminary survey of the opinions of individuals within CACREP accredited programs to discover the effects of accreditation on programs. The survey of opinions from respondent CACREP accredited programs indicated interesting results. The eleven frequently held beliefs about improvements after accreditation was substantiated by the number, the percentage, and the Chi Square results from respondent programs. Therefore, after CACREP accreditation, most programs reported the opinion that: students have higher grade point averages and test scores; students are younger, learn better, and receive more employment opportunities; a higher percentage of students pass the licensed professional counselor examination; average scores are higher on the nationally certified counselor examination; programs receive more applicants and faculty is more professionally active, publishes more, and presents more. The second part of the survey indicated that a large percentage of respondent programs offer courses beyond the CACREP core curriculum experiences (91%) and that a variety of courses are offered (78 courses). In addition, 91 respondent programs indicated that courses are required beyond the CACREP core curriculum experiences and that a variety of courses are required (29 courses). Three primary limitations exist in this study. First, the eleven frequently held beliefs were marked by the opinion of one faculty member for each program. Second, the number of blanks for each item was frequently close to or sometimes exceeded the number of respondents who marked the after CACREP column. Third, the survey data collected on courses that were offered by programs beyond the core were based upon memory and/or opinion and may be inaccurate. A recommendation for future research would be to study the hard data collected prior to and after accreditation.
- Domestic Violence Study for Counselor Education Masters Students
- The issue of domestic violence continues to be of great concern to society. It is crucial counselors have an understanding of dynamics of domestic violence and the impact it has on victims. Even with heightened awareness of the past decade, the issue continues to be misunderstood, missed altogether by counselors, and sometimes misdiagnosed. This study was created to explore the level of understanding masters level counseling students have of domestic violence, battering behavior, victimization, socioeconomic preconceptions, and counseling victims. Masters level counseling students from the University of North Texas, Denton, TX and staff members of two battered women's shelters from the Dallas, TX area participated in a survey to identify the level of knowing and sensitivity to the issue of domestic violence. Upon completion, an independent t-test was conducted to measure differences in these areas between the two groups. Results indicate a need for counseling students to better understand this issue and implications for client/victims.
- Effect of Biofeedback-Assisted Relaxation Therapy on the Psychophysiological Measures of Stressed-Out Working Professional Mothers
- This study was designed to determine the effectiveness of biofeedback-assisted relaxation therapy on reducing psychophysiological stress levels of working professional mothers. Participants were 14 working professional mothers from a major daily newspaper. Reported stress levels were measured with the 123 question Stress Profile (Nowack, 1990) three times during the eight week treatment study that was held at the women's workplace. A repeated measure ANOVA design was used to analyze the data and a partial eta squared was used to calculate effect size. As hypothesized, the study found a statistically significant reduction of reported stress levels (F=8.62; p=.001) and a statistically significant (F=3.65; p=.01) reduction in measured muscle tension across subjects. Practical significance (effect size) was found for reduction in reported stress levels (n=.39) and reduction in muscle tension (n=.21).
- The efficacy of intensive individual play therapy for children diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
- This study was design to determine the efficacy of intensive individual play therapy as a method of intervention for children diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. The purpose of this study was designed to study the effectiveness of an intensive play therapy intervention in: a) reducing symptoms of childhood depression in children with IDDM; b) reducing symptoms of anxiety in children with IDDM; c) reducing the overall behavior difficulties in children with IDDM; d) increasing healthy adjustment in children with IDDM; e) increasing diabetic's children's adherence to their diabetic regime; and f) impacting these emotional and behavioral symptoms over time. The 15 children in the experimental group received 12, daily play therapy sessions while attending a summer camp for children with diabetes. The control group, consisting of 15 children who attended the diabetic summer camp, received no play therapy. Children and parents in both groups completed pretest, post-test and three-month follow-up data, consisting of: the Children's Depression Inventory, the Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale, the Filial Problems Checklist and the Diabetes Adaptation Scale. Analysis of covariance revealed that the children in the experimental group significantly improved their adaptation to their diabetes following intensive play therapy as reflected by the Diabetes Adaptation Scale. No other hypothesis were retained, although statistical trends noted increased improvement in the experimental group in the areas of behavior difficulties and adherence behavior. Possible explanations for these results include a lack of symptoms reported at the time of pretesting and the validity of these instruments for a chronically ill population. The results of this study indicate that intensive play therapy may be an effective intervention for children diagnosed with IDDM. Qualitative observations and progress noted in therapy reveal that young children with IDDM have the capability to address and resolve issues of anxiety, depression and other emotional issues related to their diabetes in play therapy. Preventative approaches such as play therapy for children with IDDM are particularly important for this population as current behavior patterns and treatment adherence are highly correlated with long-term medical and psychological health.
- Impact of Child-Centered Play Therapy on Children of Different Developmental Stages
- The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of child-centered play therapy on children of Piaget's preoperational and concrete operations developmental stages. Piaget's assertions about the contributions of play to cognitive, affective, and social development have provided a basis for the theoretical rationale for the use of play as a therapeutic intervention. The impact of child-centered play therapy was measured by a decrease in parent-child relationship stress as measured by scores on the Child Domain, Parent Domain, and Total Stress Score of the Parenting Stress Index. This study utilized a three wave repeated measures ANOVA design to analyze the impact of child-centered play therapy on children between the ages of 3-8 who received 19-23 individual child-centered play therapy sessions. A pretest, approximate midpoint, and posttest administration was collected for use in the analysis. The population study comprised 24 children referred to the Child and Family Resource Clinic on the University of North Texas campus. Participating children were divided into two treatment groups based on their age at the time of treatment. The preoperational development treatment group consisted of 12 children aged of 3-6 years and the concrete operations development treatment group consisted of children aged 7-8 years. Nine hypotheses were tested using three wave repeated measures ANOVA and eta squared. The results of this study tentatively support the impact of child-centered play therapy with children of both the preoperational and concrete operations developmental stages. The data indicates a statistically significant difference in the impact of child-centered play therapy for children of different developmental stages.
- An Investigation into how CACREP Accredited Institutions meet the CACREP Practicum Standards
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This study was designed to determine how institutions accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) meet the practicum requirements set forth in CACREP's 2001 standards. Practicum is a vital part of the matriculation process of counselors in training. This clinical based course allows students to practice the skills they have learned in previous, more didactic based courses. Trainees can stretch skills, all under the watch of a counselor supervisor with greater experience. Although CACREP instructs all accredited counseling programs to have such a course in place, the standards are not specific. Schools are often interpreting the standards in a multitude of ways, presumably to successfully meet the standards while still serving the student as well as the clientele who seek out mental health assistance (Pitts, 1992a). The purpose of this study was to determine what measures CACREP accredited institutions enact to meet the clinical practicum standards. The difference between this study and prior research that has addressed the practicum requirement is that the instrument used in this study specifically addressed every CACREP practicum standard, including technology, diversity, and concerns with supervision and meeting the direct client contact hour requirement. The results of the study showed that most programs do indeed meet the standards that have been set by CACREP. However, the way that these are met varies greatly from school to school. In addition, some schools have incorporated innovative practices that could be beneficial to both schools looking to gain accreditation and ones that are attempting to modify existing practices.
- An Investigation into the Current Practices of Group Counseling Instructors in the Delivery of the Required Experiential Group in Accredited Institutions
- This study was designed to determine the diverse practices of group counseling instructors in the delivery of the required experiential group. A small group experience (experiential group) is required of all counseling students in accredited institutions. The accreditation body for counseling programs is the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The experiential group has been considered to be a valuable and integral part of counselor training. However, the group has been controversial because of ethical issues involving dual relationships and the right to privacy. The purpose of this study was to determine how group counseling instructors deliver the experiential group, compare current practices to recommended practices in the literature, and recommend changes based on disparities that may exist. The difference between this study and previous surveys of group counseling instructors is that the sample in this study involves CACREP institutions exclusively and the focus is on CACREP standards rather than the standards of the Association for Specialists in Group Work. The results of the study showed that approximately one third of the instructors surveyed indicated that they also serve as leaders of the experiential group. Many of these instructors who serve as group leaders also indicated that they use the group for gatekeeping. Instructors in this study also indicated that understanding group process was the most important goal of the required experiential group. Personal growth was not ranked highly as a goal of the experiential group.
- Mental Health Professionals' Comparative Evaluations of the Integral Intake, The Life-Style Introductory Interview, and the Multimodal Life History Inventory
- This research study was performed in an attempt to fill an apparent void regarding the relative utility and comprehensiveness of three published, theoretically-based, idiographic, initial assessment inventories: Integral Intake (II), Life-Style Introductory Interview (LI), and Multimodal Life History Inventory (MI). “Experts” -- defined as professors of counseling or psychology and licensed practitioners who have been practicing as counselors or psychologists for at least five years - read through the inventories and then evaluated them by responding to both (qualitative) open-ended questions as well (quantitative) rankings and ratings. The researcher posed three primary research questions: 1) how do participants' evaluations differ regarding the overall helpfulness of the three inventories; 2) how do participants' evaluations differ regarding the comprehensiveness -- both relative to each of the eight dimensions of the client (thoughts, emotions, behaviors, physical aspects of the client, physical aspects of the client's environment, culture, spirituality, and what is most meaningful to the client) and overall -- of the three inventories; and 3) how do participants' evaluations differ regarding the efficiency with which the three inventories assessed the eight dimensions. Results indicated that participants consistently evaluated the II and MI as more helpful, comprehensive, and efficient than the LI - both overall and relative to the eight specific dimensions. The LI was consistently evaluated as the worst of the three inventories -- on all dimensions. The MI was evaluated as the best inventory on four dimensions: the client's thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and physical aspects. The II was evaluated as the best inventory on seven dimensions: physical aspects of the client's environment, client's culture, client's spirituality, what is most meaningful to the client, and, notably, on overall comprehensiveness, overall efficiency, and overall helpfulness. Another goal of this research was to obtain feedback from the participants relative to how to improve the II. This goal was also accomplished and the researcher will implement this feedback into subsequent versions of the Integral Intake.
- Parenting styles and spiritual maturity.
- Relationships between parenting styles practiced in individuals' families of origin and the measurement of individuals' spiritual maturity in adulthood were studied. Relationships between gender and the authoritative (facilitative) parenting style comprised the main focus of the study. Participants for this study were recruited from a large, non-denominational Christian church located in north Texas. A total of 300 individuals were randomly selected. A total of 160 individuals filled out the demographic sheet, the Parental Authority Questionnaire (PAQ), and the Spiritual Assessment Inventory (SAI). Canonical correlation procedures were performed among the set of SAI scales measuring individuals' spiritual maturity (awareness, instability, grandiosity, realistic acceptance, disappointment, and impression management) and the set of PAQ scales that measure parenting styles (authoritative or facilitative, authoritarian, and permissive) of mothers and fathers. Conclusions about female and male students raised in homes characterized by fathers and mothers with an authoritative (facilitative) parenting style were varied. Female adults raised in homes characterized by fathers and mothers with an authoritative (facilitative) parenting style were not correlated in a positive manner with spiritual maturity. Male adults raised in homes characterized by fathers with an authoritative (facilitative) parenting style demonstrated significance at only a large observed p value and therefore, could not be reported. Male students raised in homes characterized by mothers with an authoritative (facilitative) parenting style were correlated significantly with spiritual maturity in one correlation at the .04 level of significance. In another correlation, at the .003 level of significance, male adults raised in homes characterized by mothers with an authoritative (facilitative) parenting style were not correlated. Some cautions were discussed regarding the findings, and directions for future research on parenting styles and spiritual maturity were discussed.
- Quality of work environment for counselor education faculty.
- Though counselor education has always acknowledged the importance of work in the lives of individuals, there is a dearth of information concerning the worklives of counselor education faculty. The purpose of this study was to explore work and life variables that impact the work experiences of faculty members in counselor education. This study examined demographic or life variables including gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, relationship status, and parenting status; and work-related variables including rank, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, salary equity, mentoring, teaching activities, service activities, publication for collaboration, and decision-making representation. Three hundred and twenty-eight counselor education faculty members across the United States participated in the study. Participants completed a mailed questionnaire including demographic information, quantitative survey questions, and related qualitative items designed to investigate work and life factors impacting the subjective work experiences of counselor educators. Chi-square analyses and analysis of qualitative responses related to four research hypotheses indicated that experience of the work environment for counselor educators is impacted by gender, tenure rank, age, and relationship status. Post-hoc analysis indicated that work experiences are also impacted by ethnicity, sexual orientation, and parenting status. Results also indicated a need for continuing attention to the effects of rank, salary equity, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and decision-making representation in counselor education programs. Results of this study suggested implications for future research in counselor education and counseling.