The Effects of an Oral History Interview on Counselor Trainees' Confidence and Couples' Intimacy

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A major concern many counselor trainees face when preparing to see their first couple-client is that of confidence because they have had little to no experience in interacting in a professional capacity with couples. Many beginning counselors experience anxiety, which can inhibit their effectiveness with clients (Scanlon & Baille, 1994). Introducing counselor trainees to a relatively non-threatening interaction with couples might reduce the initial anxiety that characterizes the neophyte counselor venturing into new clinical territory. The interaction may also enhance feelings of warmth and closeness of the couples. John Gottman's Oral History Interview (Gottman, 1999) was the protocol used in ... continued below

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Toler, Jane K. May 2003.

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  • Toler, Jane K.

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A major concern many counselor trainees face when preparing to see their first couple-client is that of confidence because they have had little to no experience in interacting in a professional capacity with couples. Many beginning counselors experience anxiety, which can inhibit their effectiveness with clients (Scanlon & Baille, 1994). Introducing counselor trainees to a relatively non-threatening interaction with couples might reduce the initial anxiety that characterizes the neophyte counselor venturing into new clinical territory. The interaction may also enhance feelings of warmth and closeness of the couples. John Gottman's Oral History Interview (Gottman, 1999) was the protocol used in the interaction between trainee and couple. An instrument developed for this study to measure couple counseling confidence, the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger, 1983), and the Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships (Schaefer & Olson, 1981) were used to assess levels of counselor confidence, counselor anxiety, and couple intimacy, respectively. The confidence instrument and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory were administered to 37 students who were enrolled in four graduate level introductory couple counseling classes and who interviewed couples, as well as to 34 counselor-trainees who were enrolled in five graduate level counseling courses other than couple counseling and who did not interview couples. Analyses of the quantitative data revealed no statistically significant differences in confidence between trainees who interviewed a couple and trainees who did not interview a couple. Analyses of qualitative data suggested there were differences. The Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships was administered to 67 individual couple participants who were interviewed by counselor trainees, and 35 individual couple participants who were not interviewed by counselor-trainees. Analyses of the quantitative data revealed no statistically significant differences in couples who participated in the Oral History Interview and those who did not. Analyses of qualitative data suggested there were differences. Regarding both counselor confidence and couple intimacy, future research using a larger sample size and more refined quantitative methods appears warranted.

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  • May 2003

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  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:45 p.m.

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  • April 11, 2016, 3:58 p.m.

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Toler, Jane K. The Effects of an Oral History Interview on Counselor Trainees' Confidence and Couples' Intimacy, dissertation, May 2003; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc4172/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .