Impact of an Online Education Program on Counselors' Knowledge and Attitudes about Near-Death Experiences
Description: An estimated 15 million people in the US have had a near‐death experience (NDE), an experience of usually lucid consciousness during a close brush with death. Following an NDE, experiencers (NDErs) sometimes feel challenged and seek counseling to integrate the experience into their subsequent lives. They have reported psychologically harmful experiences disclosing their NDEs to healthcare professionals, including counselors. Counselors' knowledge and attitude about NDEs appear to be critical variables in their ability to uphold the ethical imperative to do no harm to clients. The recent development of a psychometrically sound instrument to assess these variables, coupled with online availability of a three-part NDE educational program for health professionals, made possible for the first time a large‐scale pre‐post study of the effect of the program on counselors' knowledge and attitude about NDEs. Participants were 212 licensed professional counselors (LPCs) aged 23 to 71 years old (M = 44.93, SD = 12.69); sex self-identified as 12.3% male, 87.3% female, and .5% other; racially/ethnically self-identified as 84% White and 17% non-White and as 6.6% Latino-Hispanic and 92.5% non-Latino/Hispanic; and representing four regions of the US. Results revealed that, compared to control group, composed of LPCs who completed topically unrelated online programs (n = 112), those who completed the NDE program (n = 100) showed significantly more accurate knowledge and more positive attitude about NDEs. Participants also overwhelmingly expressed enjoyment of the programs. These results support the use of online training to increase counselors' knowledge and improve their attitude about NDEs so they can provide clinically and ethically sound treatment to NDErs. Limitations of the study and future research are addressed.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Loseu, Saharnaz
Partner: UNT Libraries