UNT Theses and Dissertations - 68 Matching Results

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Addressing Multicultural Issues in the Counselor Education Classroom: a Phenomenological Analysis
Multicultural education in counselor education is a popular topic among counselor educators and scholars. To date, scholars have focused on understanding the experiences of counselor educators who teach dedicated multicultural courses. However, less attention has been given to other counselor educators who are required by ethical and training standards to address multicultural issues across the curriculum. The purpose of this study was to understand counselor educators’ experiences addressing multicultural issues in courses that do not have a specific multicultural or diversity focus. I used phenomenological methodology to explore the experiences of counselor educators who hold doctoral degrees in counseling or a related field, have taken a multicultural/diversity course in their graduate training, are full-time clinical or tenure-line faculty members in CACREP-accredited programs, and have never taught courses dedicated to multicultural or diversity issues. Twelve participants (six men and six women), ranging in age ranged from 31 to 65, participated in the study. Ten participants identified as White, one African-American, and one Hispanic. The research team identified eight themes: (1) reasons for avoidance, (2) constraints, (3) qualities and practices, (4) educator as a factor in student development, (5) infusion, (6) personal background, (7) awareness of biases and assumptions, and (8) counselor educator responsibility/gatekeeping. Findings from this study will add to the literature regarding infusion of multicultural issues across the curriculum. Additionally, the implications offered will serve as a resource for counselor educators as they experience unique personal and professional challenges when addressing multicultural issues in classrooms beyond the main multicultural or diversity course offered in counseling programs. Implications for this study may lead to development of more focused guidelines on how to increase the increase the comfort of counselor educators as they facilitate multicultural discussions and assist counselors-in-training in working toward cultural competence.
Adlerian Play Therapy: Effectiveness on Disruptive Behaviors of Early Elementary-Aged Children
Approximately 20% of children experience serious mental health problems severe enough to meet diagnosis criteria, and less than one third of these children receive the services they need. Identifying effective school-based counseling interventions provides a viable and accessible solution, especially for families with financial barriers. This randomized, controlled outcome study examined the effectiveness of Adlerian play therapy (AdPT) compared to reading mentoring (RM) with 58 kindergarten through third grade students who qualified with clinical levels of disruptive behavior in the classroom. Participants were identified as 48% Latino, 33% European American, and 19% African American. Approximately four-fifths of participants were male. Children were randomly assigned to AdPT (experimental group) or RM (active control group) for 16 sessions of treatment. Children in both groups participated in twice weekly, individual, 30-minute interventions that took place in their schools. Results from a two (group) by two (repeated measures) split plot ANOVA indicated that, compared to the RM group over time, the AdPT group demonstrated statistically significant improvement on (a) disruptive behaviors in the classroom, as directly observed by objective raters and as reported by teachers, and (b) stress in the teacher-child relationship, as reported by teachers. Teachers and observers were blinded to children's treatment group assignment. AdPT demonstrated moderate to large effect sizes on all measures, indicating the practical significance of treatment. Further, 72% of children receiving AdPT improved from clinical/borderline levels of disruptive behavior problems to more normative functioning post-intervention, demonstrating the clinical significance of results. Whereas further research is warranted, results from this preliminary study are promising and support the use of AdPT in elementary schools to meet the needs of children exhibiting disruptive classroom behavior.
Adventure Based Counseling: Exploring the Impact of Abc on Adaptive Functioning in High School Males
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of ABC on adaptive functioning in high school males. Specifically, a pretest/posttest, experimental design (N = 46; Caucasian = 26, Hispanic = 20) was used to examine the changes in adaptive and maladaptive functioning in ABC participants (n = 21) compared to those in a control/waitlist group (n = 25) as measured by the Behavior Assessment System for Children, second edition (BASC-2). Participants randomly assigned to the treatment group engaged in 10 ABC sessions. In order to better understand group process in ABC, I had experimental group participants complete the Group Climate Question Short form (GCQ-S) three times during the intervention. A mixed between/within subjects ANOVA of the BASC-2 scores revealed a statistically significant increase in adaptive functioning for both groups, F(1, 33) = 8.58, p < .01, with a partial eta squared of .21 indicating a large effect. There was no statistically significant difference between the experimental and control/waitlist groups, F(1, 33) = .064, p = .80, and a very small effect size (partial eta squared < .01). A repeated measures ANOVA of the GCQ-S scores revealed a statistically significant increase in engagement, F(2, 38) = 4.067, p = .025, with an eta squared of .21, indicating a large effect. Limitations of the study, implications of the results for practice, and recommendations for future research are presented.
Black Males' Treatment Experiences in Mental Health Court: A Phenomenological Analysis
Mental health courts (MHCs) are part of an umbrella of specialty courts in which court officials, law enforcement, and treatment providers work together to seek alternative solutions to failed traditional approaches to justice. Researchers investigating MHCs indicated that the courts may be helpful in reducing recidivism and introducing offenders with mental health disorders to treatment services. I used the qualitative method of phenomenology to understand the experiences of young adult Black male clients' perceptions of mental health treatment in MHCs. Twelve participants ranged in age from 21-40 years. The research team identified three themes -- (a) helpful treatment factors, (b) relational growth, (c) treatment barriers – and five subthemes: (a) internal growth, (b) relational growth, (c) behavioral growth, (d) factors of marginalization, and (e) interpersonal barriers. Meaning pertaining to findings and implications for research and practice are discussed.
A Canonical Correlational Analysis Exploring Characteristics of Children Presenting to Counseling for Grief and Loss
To date, researchers who have explored the complexity of childhood bereavement have utilized unstandardized assessment instruments and/or have independently evaluated specific constructs rather than factoring in the dimensionality of loss. The purpose of this study was to use parents' completion of established instruments--the Child Behavior Checklist and the Parenting Stress Index--to examine the multivariate shared relationship between characteristics of bereaved children referred for counseling--their ages, genders, ethnicities, types of loss, and life stressors--and their behavioral manifestations as well as the relationship between these characteristics and levels of parent-child relational stress. Utilizing archival clinical files, I examined these characteristics from bereaved children (N = 98) whose parents sought counseling services from two university-based counseling clinics. The sample consisted of 67 boys and 31 girls between the ages 3 and 11 years old (M = 6.28). The majority of participants (67%, n = 66) identified as Caucasian, 10% (n = 10) as African American, 10% (n = 10) as Hispanic/Latino, 6% as Bi-racial (n = 6), 4% as Native American (n = 4), and 2% as Asian (n = 2). A canonical correlational analyses (CCA) was conducted to examine relationship between characteristics of children and their subsequent behavioral manifestations. The full model was found to be statistically significant using the Wilks’s λ = .611 criterion, F(25, 328.41) = 1.862, p = .008. The R2 type effect size was .389, which indicates the full model explains about 39% of the variance shared between the two variable sets. A second CCA was conducted to explore the relationship between characteristics of bereaved children and levels of parent-child relational stress. The full model was found statistically to be significant using the Wilks’s λ = .790 criterion, F(10, 154) = 1.926, p = .045. The R2 type effect size was .210, which indicates the full model explains ...
Characteristics of Mothers among Counselor Education Faculty
Pre-tenured faculty in higher education and as well as mothers have reportedly struggled with low wellness levels, high demands, little social support, and an imbalance of work and home life. Mothers in higher education and in counselor education have reported struggling with work-life balance, high scholarly productivity, and long hours as well as the emotional and physical energy demands of working with counselors-in-training. A search of the professional literature revealed a paucity of quantitative research regarding demographic characteristics, wellness levels, and social support levels of mothers among counselor education faculty (MCEs). Participants for this study were faculties of counselor education programs recruited from the Holland List of Counseling Programs and from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs online directory. A total of 180 MCEs participated (aged 29-63, with mean age 40.6 years; 83% Caucasian, 8% other, 5% African American, 3% Hispanic, <1% Asian). Results showed that faculty rank did not account for a significant difference among wellness scores of MCEs and that reported social support, tenure or non-tenure track, number of children in the care of MCEs, number of children under age 8, number of publications, and teaching workload accounted for 14% of the variance in wellness levels of MCEs. Specifically, reported higher teaching workload (β = -.194, rs2 = .35, p = .012) and higher social support (β = -.258, rs2 = .36, p = <.001) were found to be significant predictors of lower wellness levels among MCEs, both with small effects. Based on these results, MCEs may benefit from advocating that their departments and universities adapt to their unique needs to improve their levels of wellness and social support through mentoring, which, in turn, may result in not only their own increased productivity but also their students' increased wellness levels.
Child-Centered Play Therapy Parent Services: a Q-Methodological Investigation
Child-centered play therapy (CCPT) is an empirically supported and developmentally appropriate counseling intervention for young children. Despite the clinical effectiveness of CCPT with children, no known study has been conducted in which parents were surveyed or interviewed regarding the services they have received as a part of their children’s participation in CCPT. Therefore, this study was designed to gain a better understanding of parents’ reported needs and expectations in CCPT. This study utilized Q-methodology in which participants completed a Q-sort by actively sorting 40 items on a continuum of least important to most important. Items included services and processes regarded by CCPT scholars and child therapy practitioners as being important to working with parents. Data was collected from 19 parents of children receiving CCPT services in a community-based counseling clinic. Participants included 16 females and 3 males; 15 Caucasian and 4 Hispanic; and 14 biological parents, 2 adoptive parents, and 3 other biological caregivers. Data was analyzed using centroid factor analysis, and results revealed a one factor solution representing 18 of the 19 participants. Eighteen parents reported similar beliefs regarding the processes they consider most and least important to their experience in working with child-centered play therapists. In general, parents’ beliefs aligned with CCPT philosophy, particularly in regards to respecting children’s natural pace of development and healing. Furthermore, parents shared preferences for play therapists who demonstrate expert knowledge and training and who understand the individual needs of their children. Discussion includes implications for the practice of CCPT and training of future play therapists, limitations of the study, and implications for future research.
Child Centered Play Therapy with Children Exhibiting Aggressive Behaviors
Aggressive behaviors in childhood currently serve as the leading cause of counselor referrals within the United States. Children exhibiting maladaptive aggressive symptomology are at an increased risk for highly externalized and problematic behaviors across the lifespan. Emotional self-regulation and empathy are two constructs currently believed to be closely related to aggression, but a lack of research exploring these variables currently exists in the counseling literature. In this study I examined the effect of child-centered play therapy (CCPT), is a manualized, developmentally responsive, and nondirective intervention, on these variables. Participants were 71 students from four Title 1 elementary schools in the southwest U.S. referred by teachers for aggressive behavior (12 females, 59 males; age range 5-10 years with mean age 6.28. The sample consisted of 52.1% (n = 37) children identified as African American, 21.1% (n = 15) as Latina/Latino, 19.7% (n = 14) as Caucasian, and 7% as multiracial (n = 5). Participants were randomly assigned to 8 weeks of a twice-weekly CCPT experimental group (n = 36) or a waitlist control group (n = 35). Results of descriptive discriminant analyses (DDA) of the Social Emotional Assets and Resilience Scale and the Children’s Aggression Scale scores revealed that parents perceived children’s group membership in CCPT as significant and reasonably predictive of improvement in children’s aggression, self-regulation, and empathy. However, teachers did not perceive a statistically significant difference between the two groups with respect to these variables. These results suggest the relevancy of CCPT for parents in providing children with a developmentally responsive intervention to reduce aggressive behaviors and support their healthy development.
Child Parent Relationship Therapy: A Program Evaluation
For the past 40 years, one southwestern US university counseling program has sponsored two mental health training clinics in which master's and doctoral level students have learned to provide child parent relationship therapy (CPRT) services to community parents. In their training, students learn about the positive effects of CPRT, particularly on parental stress. To date, however, no program evaluation has been conducted at these clinics focusing specifically on parental stress outcomes after the completion of CPRT or to determine the demographics and characteristics of parents who pursue CPRT. The purpose of this study was to conduct such an evaluation of archival data spanning 7 years. Participants were 129 parents (70% female, 30% male; 80% Caucasian, 35% Hispanic/ Latino, 6% African American, and 4% Asian; 62% married, 9% separated, 16% divorced). Results from a t-test indicated a statistically significant decrease in self-reported parental stress, with a moderate effect size. Multiple regression revealed that women and those who attended with a co-parent reported greater stress reduction. This study confirmed the benefit of CPRT, provided by counselors-in-training, on reducing parental stress and indicated clientele for which and conditions in which those benefits might be optimized.
Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) with Adoptive Families: Effects on Child Behavior, Parent-Child Relationship Stress, and Parental Empathy
This randomized controlled study is a preliminary investigation on the effects of Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) with 61 adoptive parents. The participants in this study identified themselves as the following: 54 European American, 3 Black American, 3 Hispanic/Latino, and 1 individual who chose not to indicate ethnicity. The study included 23 couples and 15 individual mothers. The CPRT is a structured, time limited approach that trains caregivers to be an active participant as a therapeutic change agent in their child's life. Results from a two (group) by two (measures) split plot ANOVA indicated that adoptive parents who participated in 10 weeks of CPRT reported statistically significant decreases in child behavior problems and parent child-relationship stress. Statistically significant increases in parent empathy were also reported by raters blinded to the study. CPRT demonstrated a medium to large treatment effect on reducing children's behavior problems and parent-child relationship stress. In addition, CPRT demonstrated a large treatment effect on increasing parental empathy. The results of the study provide preliminary support for CPRT as a responsive intervention for adoptive parents and their children.
Child Teacher Relationship Training As a Head Start Early Mental Health Intervention for Children Exhibiting Disruptive Behavior: an Exploratory Study
This exploratory study examined the effectiveness of child teacher relationship training (CTRT) with at-risk preschool children exhibiting disruptive behavior. The participants included a total of 23 Head Start teachers and their aides, and children identified by their teachers as exhibiting clinical or borderline levels of externalizing behavior problems. Teacher participants included 22 females and 1 male; demographics were reported as 56% Hispanic ethnicity, 17% Black American, and 22% European American. Child participants included 15 males and 5 females; demographics were reported as 60% Hispanic, 30% Black American, and 10% European American. A 2 by 3 (Group x Repeated Measures) split plot ANOVA was used to analyze the data. According to teacher reports using the Teacher Report Form (C-TRF) and blinded raters’ reports using the Direct Observation Form (DOF) to assess disruptive behaviors, children whose teachers received the CTRT intervention demonstrated statistically significant decreases (p < .05) in externalizing behaviors on the C-TRF and total problems on the DOF from pre- to mid- to post-test, compared to children whose teachers participated in the active control group. The CTRT intervention demonstrated large treatment effects on both measures (C-TRF: ?p2 =.173; DOF: ?p2=.164) when compared to CD, revealing the practical significance of the findings on reducing disruptive behaviors. According to independent raters on the DOF, 90% of children receiving the CTRT intervention moved from clinical levels of behavioral concern to more normative levels of functioning following treatment, establishing the clinical significance of CTRT as an early mental health intervention for preschool children in Head start exhibiting disruptive behavior.
Child Teacher Relationship Training (Ctrt) with Children Exhibiting Disruptive Behavior: Effects on Teachers’ Ability to Provide Emotional and Relational Support to Students and on Student-teacher Relationship Stress
This study investigated the impact of child teacher relationship training (CTRT) on teachers’ ability to provide emotional support in the classroom, teachers’ use of relationship-building skills, and teachers’ level of stress related to the student-child relationship. Teachers and aides from one Head Start school were randomly assigned to the experimental group CTRT (n = 11) or an active control Conscious Discipline group (CD; n = 12). Overall, 21 females, 11 (CTRT) and 11 (CD), and one male (CD) participated in the study. Participating teachers and aides identified themselves as the following: 13 Hispanic/Latino, 5 Black American, and 5 European American. Teachers and aides identified children with clinical levels of disruptive behavior problems for the purpose of selecting children of focus for the study. The children’s mean age was 3.63 for CTRT group and 3.36 for CD group. Overall, 9 females, 2 (CTRT) and 7 (CD), and 10 males, 6 (CTRT) and 4 (CD) participated in the study. Teachers reported children’s ethnicity: 13 Hispanic/Latino, 5 African American, and 1 other. A two-factor (Treatment x Group) repeated measures split plot ANOVA was utilized to analyze the data with an alpha level of .05. According to objective raters blinded to the study using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) and the Child Teacher Relationship Skills Checklist (CTRT-SC) and teacher reports using Index of Teaching Stress (ITS), results revealed a statistically significant interaction effect for the experimental teachers’ use of child-teacher relationship skills (CTRT-SC: p = .036), a non-statistically significant interaction effect for the experimental teachers’ ability to provide emotional support (CLASS: p = .50), and a non-statistically significant interaction effect on teacher stress (ITS: p = .997). Partial eta squared effect sizes were calculated to determine the practical significance of the findings. Compared to the active control, CTRT demonstrated large treatment effects over ...
Children’s Experiences in the Therapeutic Relationship: Development and Validation of a Self-report Measure
Most counselors agree that the therapeutic relationship is essential in counseling. However, the current evidence-based treatment movement has resulted in a focus on treatment protocols and techniques in outcome research. Researchers have called for the inclusion of relationship variables in future outcome research. Child-centered play therapy (CCPT) is an empirically-supported, developmentally responsive intervention for children that emphasizes building a therapeutic relationship based on the philosophy of person-centered theory. Exploring the impact of the relationship on CCPT outcomes would be beneficial, but no current quantitative measure exists for obtaining the child’s view of the therapeutic relationship. The purpose of this study was to create a developmentally appropriate instrument to measure children’s perceptions of the therapeutic relationship. Established instrument development procedures were followed to create the Relationship Inventory for Children (RIC), a 15-item instrument for use in outcome research that measures the child’s perspective of the therapeutic relationship. Participants were 33 child experts who participated in interviews and preliminary testing of the instrument as well as 100 children whose scores on the 31-item pilot instrument were submitted to exploratory factor analysis (EFA). Children (62% male) ranged in age from 6 to 9 years (M = 6.92) and 53% identified as Caucasian, 14% as Hispanic, 14% as African American, 2% as Asian American, 0.8% as Native American, 8% as Multiracial, and 9% unreported. The EFA resulted in three factors: Positive Regard, Unconditional Acceptance, and Empathy. Implications for further development of the RIC, for use of the RIC in research, and for application of the RIC to person-centered theory are discussed.
College Student Resilience: Selected Effects of Service-Learning
Resilience implies the concept of buoyancy. Specifically, it denotes an individual's capacity to persevere and even do well in the face of adversity. Service-learning is pedagogy often used to enable students to apply classroom learning in a real world context. The goal of this study was to examine the effects of service-learning upon college student resilience. The study utilized a convenience sample of undergraduate students (N = 172) across three disciplines including counseling, social work and kinesiology. In a pre-post test design, the CD-RISC was employed to measure resilience of the experimental and control groups. Factor analysis of the CD-RISC was also conducted in order to explore interrelationship of the variables among the data. One undergraduate sample (N = 210) was used to conduct the EFA before determining a best fit factor structure for this study's population. A repeated measures analysis of variance was employed to detect any differences between pre-post test groups. No statistical significance was found across pre and post-test among the two groups (p=.49, &#951;2=.00). However significant results were found between the experimental and control groups (p=.00, &#951;2 =.09). Examination of mean score differences among demographic variable yielded interesting findings across the three disciplines as well as between age and gender of the participants. Findings indicated students given freedom of choice within service-learning logistics scored greatest gains in resilience.
Combat Near-Death Experiences: An Exploratory, Mixed-Methods Study
This mixed-methods study’s purpose was a systematic comparison of contents and aftereffects of near-death experiences (NDEs) occurring in a variety of circumstances with those occurring in combat. They completed an online survey: a demographic questionnaire, the Near-Death Experience Scale, the Life Changes Inventory-Revised (LCI-R), and four narrative response items. Survey completers were 68 participants: 20 combat near-death experiencers (cNDErs) and 48 non-NDErs (nNDErs). The 29% of participants who met NDE Scale criterion for an NDE was comparable to NDE incidence findings from previous retrospective studies. For statistical analyses, significance was set at p < .05, and effect size (Cohen’s d) was calculated. Mean total NDE Scale scores were significantly lower for cNDErs than variety-of-circumstance NDErs from one of two comparable studies (t = 5.083, p < .0001, d = -1.26), possibly suggesting cNDEs may have “less depth” than other-variety NDEs. Regarding cNDE aftereffects, absence of previous LCI-R data made comparison impossible. Cronbach’s alpha analysis yielded acceptable reliability on the total scale and seven of nine subscales, a finding that matched Schneeberger’s (2010); however, factor analytic results did not support the hypothesized subscale structure of the LCI-R. Although cNDErs did not score significantly higher than nNDErs on the total scale or subscales after Bonferroni correction, results indicated a possible trend toward greater absolute changes (p = 0.02, d = 0.74) and spirituality (p = 0.02, d = 0.67) with the latter finding substantiated by narrative responses. Informal analysis of narrative responses yielded several themes.
Coming Out: The Lived Experiences of LGB College Students who Feel Supported by Their Parents
The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore how LGB college students created meaning out of their coming out process to their parents. I recruited LGB college students who perceived support from their parents during their coming out process and asked the following research question: What are the lived experiences of LGB college students who have experienced support from their parents during the coming out process? Seven White (n = 4), African American (n = 2), and Hispanic (n = 1) college students, three men and four women aged 18-24 years, shared narratives that included time periods before, during, and after their coming out disclosures to their parents. Using an adapted phenomenological analysis, I identified nine major themes: awareness of feeling different, positive relationship with parents prior to coming out, college impacting the coming out process, feeling unsure of how parents would respond to disclosure, parents assuring continued loved and acceptance, parents affirming LGB identity, increased relational depth with parents, increased sense of authenticity, and an appreciation for family's response and support. The findings provide insight into how counselors might work most beneficially with LGB college students and their parents around the coming out process. Opportunities for future research and limitations of the study are discussed.
Confirming the Constructs of the Adlerian Personality Priority Assessment (Appa)
The primary purpose of this study was to confirm the four-factor structure of the 30-item Adlerian Personality Priority Assessment (APPA) using a split-sample cross-validation confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). The APPA is an assessment, grounded in Adlerian theory, used to conceptualize clients based on the four personality priorities most commonly used in the Adlerian literature: superiority, pleasing, control, and comfort. The secondary purpose of this study was to provide evidence for discriminant validity, examine predictive qualities of demographics, and explore the prevalence of the four priorities across demographics. For the cross validation CFA, I randomly divided the sample, 1210 undergraduates, at a large public research university (53% Caucasian, 13.1% Hispanic/Latino(a), 21.4% African American, 5.4% American Indian, and 5.8% biracial; mean age =19.8; 58.9% females), into two equal subsamples. I used Subsample 1 (n = 605) to conduct the initial CFA. I held out Subsample 2 (n = 605) to test any possible model changes resulting from Subsample 1 results and to provide further confirmation of the APPA's construct validity. Findings from the split-sample cross-validation CFA confirmed the four-factor structure of the APPA and provided support for the factorial/structure validity of the APPA's scores. Results also present initial evidence of discriminant validity and support the applicability of the instrument across demographics. Overall, these findings suggest Adlerian counselors can confidently use the APPA as a tool to conceptualize clients.
Confirming the Constructs of the Child Interpersonal Relationship and Attitudes Assessment
The purpose of this study was to confirm the four-factor model of the Child Interpersonal Relationship and Attitudes Assessment (CIRAA) in order to establish the instrument’s factor/structure validity using a sample different than that used in instrument development. The CIRAA was the first parent-report instrument based on child-centered theory and designed to measure play therapy outcomes. Its four factors are Self-Regulation (formerly Self-Control), Interpersonal Relationships, Coping Skills, and Internal Locus of Evaluation. For this study, the CIRAA was administered to 206 parents; their children were 75 females and 131 males aged 3 to 10 years old. The distributions of children’s genders and ages in this study were similar to the distributions of the sample used to develop the CIRAA. Based on confirmatory factor analysis results of overall goodness-of-fit indices; localized areas of strain; and interpretability, size, and statistical significance (p < .001) of the model's parameter estimate, the four-factor model of the CIRAA was confirmed with both theoretical and empirical support. Internal consistency reliability for the subscales and total score were acceptable, with an overall reliability coefficient of .928. A medium negative correlation (r = -.417, n = 47, p < .01) was found between the CIRAA total scores and Child Behavior Checklist Total Problems scores, a result in the expected direction. All subscales and total scores, except the Internal Locus of Evaluation score, distinguished differences between non-clinical and clinical samples. Altogether, results indicated that the CIRAA is appropriate for making clinical decisions about individuals. Limitations, additional implications, and future research are discussed.
Congruence, Unconditional Positive Regard, and Empathic Understanding in Child-centered Play Therapy
The purpose of this study was to explore how the therapist-provided conditions of congruence, unconditional positive regard, and empathic understanding were experienced and conveyed in child-centered play therapy (CCPT). Although the therapist-provided conditions are considered essential to the therapeutic process in CCPT, a gap exists between child-centered theory and empirical exploration of the process and dynamics of these relational variables in CCPT. Due to the limited research in this area, a grounded theory approach was utilized to explore how the three variables emerge in CCPT. Participants included four advanced doctoral students, all Caucasian females with extensive training in CCPT, and 12 children ranging from 4 to 8 years of age receiving weekly, individual CCPT. One individual CCPT session was observed and video-recorded for each therapist-child dyad (n = 12). Following each observation, play therapists were interviewed regarding the observed play session (n = 12). During each interview, the researcher and therapist watched the recorded play session in its entirety and discussed noteworthy interactions between the child and therapist. The video-recorded play therapy sessions and therapist interviews were analyzed using a multiphasic, constant comparative method. Results of the analysis included a process-model of the therapist-provided conditions in CCPT, examples of play therapists’ internal experiences and external behaviors associated with the presence and absence of the therapist-provided conditions, and a model of the process play therapists utilize to respond to breaks and barriers to congruence, unconditional positive regard, empathic understanding, and unconditional positive self-regard in CCPT. Implications for clinical practice, training, supervision, and research are discussed.
Contemporary Research on Child-Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) Modalities: A Meta-Analytic Review of Controlled Outcome Studies
The present meta-analytic study estimated the overall effectiveness of child therapy interventions using CCPT methodology and explored the relationships between study characteristics and treatment effects. Fifty-two studies between 1995 and the present were included based on the following criteria: (a) the use of CCPT methodology, (b) the use of control or comparison repeated measure design, (c) the use of standardized psychometric assessment, and (d) clear reports of effect sizes or sufficient information for effect size calculation. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) techniques were utilized to estimate the overall effect size for the collected studies and explore relationships between effect sizes and study characteristics. Dependent variable included 239 effect sizes, and independent variables included 22 study characteristics. The mean age of all child participants in the collected studies was 6.7. In 15 studies, the majority of participants were Caucasian. An equal number of studies were made up of non-Caucasian participants, including 3 with majority African American, 4 with majority Hispanic/Latino participants, 5 with majority Asian/Asian American participants, and 3 with other ethnic populations. Study collection included 33 studies with majority of boys and 11 studies with majority of girls. HLM analysis estimated a statistically significant overall effect size of 0.47 for the collected studies (p < 0.001). This result indicated that the overall improvement from pre to post treatment demonstrated by children in experimental groups was approximately 1/2 standard deviation better than by children in control groups. A statistically significant amount (49.2%) of between-study variance was found (p < 0.001), indicating the heterogeneity among the 52 studies Statistically significant relationships were found between effect sizes and study characteristics including child age, child ethnicity, clinical level of referral, treatment integrity, presenting issue, source of data, population, and caregiver involvement. Effect size findings for CCPT and its moderators should be interpreted in light of ...
The Development of Disordered Eating Among Female Undergraduates: A Test of Objectification Theory
Objectification theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997) has been used to explain how mechanisms related to socialization, sexual objectification, and psychological variables interact to predict mental health difficulties. Among a sample of 626 undergraduate women (age 18-24), this study empirically tested components of Moradi and Huang’s (2008) model and extended it by including additional socialization experiences (i.e., sexual abuse, societal pressures regarding weight and body size). Structural equation modeling analyses suggested that the model provided a good fit to the data and the model was tested in the confirmatory sample. Across the two samples, high levels of Body Shame and low levels of Internal Bodily Awareness directly led and high levels of Societal Pressures Regarding Weight and Body Size, Internalization of Cultural Standards of Beauty, and Self-objectification indirectly led to increased Bulimic Symptomatology and accounted for 65 to 73% of the variance in Bulimic Symptomatology. A history of sexual abuse and sexual objectification were not consistently supported within the model and do not appear to be as salient as the experience of societal pressures regarding weight and body size in understanding women’s experience of bulimic symptomatology. Implications for practice and future research are discussed.
The Development of the Child Interpersonal Relationships and Attitudes Assessment for Child Centered Play Therapy
The purpose of this study was to develop a parent report form instrument congruent with the philosophy of child-centered play therapy. The study sought to develop an instrument with acceptable levels of construct validity, reliability, sensitivity to clinical attitudes and relationships, and responsiveness to intervention. The Child Interpersonal Relationships and Attitudes Assessment (CIRAA) and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBC) and the Parenting Stress Index (PSI) were administered to 136 parents of children aged 3 to 10. The children of the parents sample consisted of 90 males and 46 females. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted for construct validity. Parallel analysis was conducted to determine the number of factors to retain. The factor solution explained 53.86% of the variance, which is an acceptable amount of the variance. Cronbach's alpha was conducted for total scale and all subscales. Reliability scores for the total score and subscales were acceptable, with an overall reliability coefficient of .93. A Pearson's r was conducted for concurrent validity between the instrument, the CBC, and the PSI, with Pearsons' r of .75 and .74 respectively. Paired-sample t-tests using the pretest and posttest scores of the instrument in development examined the responsiveness of the instrument to play therapy intervention at the same level as the CBC and PSI. ROC curve analysis, indicated acceptable discrimination of clinical scores and adaptive scores, with a clinical score being generated from the analysis. It is the first parent-report form developed for child-centered play therapy, and provides an efficient and philosophically consistent instrument for child centered play therapists to use in clinical and research settings.
Development of the Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Near-death Experiences Scale
The purpose of this study was to develop an instrument to measure healthcare professionals’ knowledge and attitudes about near-death experiences (NDEs) that would demonstrate acceptable psychometric properties. In consultation with a focus group of six NDE experts, I developed the 50-item Knowledge and Attitudes toward Near-Death Experiences Scale (KANDES), including the 24-item KANDES–Attitude subscale (KANDES-A) and the 26-item KANDES–Knowledge subscale (KANDES-K). Including a pilot administration in which feedback indicated no need for revision, a total of 256 professional and student counselors completed the KANDES. Separate reliability and validity analyses were conducted for each subscale. For the KANDES–A, Cronbach’s alpha was .909, and Pearson’s r for test-retest was .748, both indicating acceptable reliability. An exploratory factor analysis indicated four factors to retain and yielded a factor solution that explained 54.87% of the variance, an acceptable amount of variance to substantiate construct validity. For the KANDES–K, Cronbach’s alpha was .816, indicating acceptable reliability. For each of the scale’s three domains, Cronbach’s alpha was .816 for Domain 1: NDE Content, .817 for Domain 2: NDE Aftereffects, and .631 for Domain 3: Experiencer Characteristics, indicating acceptable reliability. Pearson’s r for test-retest on the total KANDES–K was .812, further demonstrating acceptable reliability.
Doctoral Level Counseling Students’ Experiences and Perceptions of Learning in a Cohort Environment
Learning community literature supports the use of student cohorts to enhance learning through increased peer interaction and common course work. Researchers employed the qualitative method of phenomenography to identify various ways doctoral counseling students conceptualize and experience learning in a cohort over the course of a single academic year. Participants were all 10 members of a single southwestern U.S. university counseling program doctoral cohort of full-time students between 20 and 59 years of age with 5 members 20-29, 4 members 30-39, 1 member 50-59; 8 female, 2 male; 9 White non-Hispanic, 1 African-American. Data were transcripts from 30 one-hour interviews, three for each participant over the course of their first year of study. The research team that analyzed the data consisted of three advanced counseling program doctoral students, each with research methods coursework. Results revealed nine dynamic structural aspects of learning: dialogue, diversity, knowledge, motivation, support, shared experience, relationship development, interpersonal awareness, and conflict. Findings support the use of learning communities in doctoral level counselor education programs. Cohort members demonstrated increasing awareness of the potential learning benefits of cohort interaction and developed more in depth strategies over time to utilize the cohort to enhance learning. Future counselor educators may now with greater confidence design learning communities and curriculum to facilitate doctoral cohort development for optimal student interaction.
Effectiveness Of Group Activity Play Therapy On Internalizing And Externalizing Behavior Problems Of Preadolescent Orphans In Uganda
This pilot study investigated the impact of group activity play therapy (GAPT) on displaced orphans aged 10 to 12 years living in a large children.s village in Uganda. Teachers and housemothers identified 60 preadolescents exhibiting clinical levels of internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. The participants ethnicity was African and included an equal number of females and males. Participants were randomly assigned to GAPT (n = 30) or reading mentoring (RM; n = 30), which served as an active control. Preadolescents in both treatment groups participated in an average of 16 sessions, twice weekly with each session lasting 50 minutes. Sessions were held in the school located within the village complex. A two (group) by two (repeated measures) split plot ANOVA was used to analyze the data. According to teacher reports using the Teacher Report Form (TRF) and housemother reports using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), children receiving the GAPT intervention demonstrated statistically significant decreases (p < .025) in internalizing behaviors (TRF: p < .001; CBCL: p < .001 ) and externalizing behaviors (TRF: p = .006; CBCL: p < .001) from pretest to posttest compared to children who received RM. The GAPT intervention demonstrated a large treatment effect on reducing orphaned childrenÆs internalizing problems (TRF: ?p2= .213; CBCL: ?p2 = . 244) and a moderate to large treatment effect on reducing externalizing problems (TRF: ?p2= .121; CBCL: ?p2 = .217). The statistical, practical, and clinical significance of the findings provided strong, preliminary support for using GAPT as a developmentally and culturally responsive school-based intervention for troubled Ugandan orphans.
Effectiveness of Play Therapy on Problem Behaviors of Children with Intellectual Disabilities: A Single Subject Design
A growing disparity between the mental health needs of children and their lack of treatment served as the basis of this study. To address this existent gap, I proposed that child-centered play therapy (CCPT), a holistic treatment that fosters children's emotional, developmental, and social growth would serve as a viable treatment. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of CCPT on problem behaviors among children identified with an intellectual disability. Specifically, a single case, A-B-A design (N = 2) was used to examine changes in participant's problem behaviors as measured on the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) across conditions. Trained raters used the ABC to rate participant's problem behaviors 3 times per week during the course of this study. Participants completed 2 weeks of a no-intervention phase, 5 weeks of play therapy 3 times per week, and 2 weeks of a no-intervention maintenance phase. Additionally, participants were administered the Gesell Developmental Observation to assess their maturational age during the baseline and maintenance phases. Parents also completed the ABC during two intervals: baseline phase, and maintenance phase. Analysis of results indicated that problem behaviors decreased for both participants. Results from the percent of non-overlapping data (PND), an indice for effect size further revealed that play therapy was a very effective treatment for participants. Follow-up interviews suggested that play therapy is a viable intervention for children with intellectual disabilities and problem behaviors. Clinical observations and implications for future research are presented.
Effectiveness of Relational Equine-Partnered Counseling (REPC) on Reduction of Symptoms of PTSD in Military Veterans: a Single Case Design
There is currently a crisis in military veteran mental health care. At 5-30% of veterans receive a PTSD diagnosis. Veterans face a large gap that exists in accessing and receiving high quality care. One intervention that is becoming more popular is equine assisted counseling (EAC). The purpose of the present study was to examine the effectiveness of Relational Equine-Partnered Counseling (REPC) in reducing symptoms of PTSD in military veterans. I also examined specific PTSD symptom clusters including intrusion, avoidance, negative alterations in cognitions and mood, and alterations in arousal and reactivity. The present study utilized a single-case design consisting of a baseline phase, intervention phase, and post-intervention phase. Participants included four military veterans presenting for war zone-related PTSD: four males and one female, aged 32-67 years, two White/European non-Hispanic, one African American non-Hispanic, and one mixed ethnicity. Symptoms were assessed weekly using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale and the PTSD Checklist (PCL-5). The data were analyzed by visual analysis and statistical effect size. The results were mixed across the participants. All participants experienced decreased means between the baseline and intervention phases. However, interpretation of the results indicated that the intervention was effective in some areas for some of the participants. All participants reported that the intervention was beneficial in targeting specific symptoms. Overall, the results indicated that REPC may have some benefit in reducing distress related to PTSD. More research is needed to further explore the effectiveness of REPC on the reduction of PTSD-related distress.
Effects and Mediation of Child-centered Play Therapy on Young Children Who Are Anxious
Anxiety is one of the most pervasive childhood disorders, with a poor prognosis if left untreated. Traditional methods of treating anxiety have been less effective with young children. Based on theoretical assumptions regarding the potential effectiveness of child-centered play therapy (CCPT) as a treatment approach, I sought to explore the effects and mediating factors of CCPT on young children with symptoms of anxiety. Fifty-three participants between the ages of 6 to 8 years old were recruited from four elementary schools, including 36 males and 17 females. Of participants, 11 were African American, 24 were Caucasian, 10 were Hispanic/Latino, one was Asian, and seven were biracial. Twenty-five participants were randomly assigned to an experimental group receiving a mean of 15 sessions of individual CCPT, and 28 participants were assigned to an 8-session active control group. Five factorial analyses of variance (ANOVA) were conducted applying an alpha level of .05 for interpretation of statistical significance and Cohen’s d to assess practical significance. ANOVA results indicated a statistically significant interaction with a large effect size on Total Anxiety score of the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale-2nd edition (p = .013, d = .715). Subscale ANOVA results indicated a statistically significant interaction effect with large effect size on the Worry subscale (p = .006, d = .795), no statistically significant interaction on the Defensiveness subscale (p = .710, d = .110), no statistically significant interaction but moderate effect size on the Physiological subscale (p = .076, d = .506), and no statistically significant interaction but moderate effect size on the Social Anxiety subscale (p = .162, d = .398). Statistically significant differences with large practical effects were found in total anxiety and worry, suggesting that children who received CCPT decreased their overall levels of anxiety and worry whereas children who were in the active ...
Effects of a Near-Death Experience Learning Module on Grief
The researcher examined the effectiveness of a near-death experience (NDE) learning module on reducing distressing aspects and enhancing a growth aspect of grief among bereaved adults. Participants were 22 females and 2 males; 2 identified as African American, 3 as Asian, 2 as Latina/o, and 17 as White; aged 20 to 71 years with mean age 35.3 years. In this experimental design, the researcher randomly assigned 12 participants to the experimental group and 12 participants to the waitlist no treatment control group. Participants in the experimental group received the NDE learning module intervention, which consisted of 3 sessions over consecutive weeks. Six research questions were explored. A two-factor repeated measures analysis of variance was performed on five dependent variables to determine if the two groups performed differently across time according to the pretest and posttest results of the Despair, Panic Behavior, Personal Growth, Detachment, and Disorganization subscales of the Hogan Grief Reaction Checklist (HGRC). A one-way analysis of covariance was performed on one dependent variable to determine if the groups were statistically different according to the posttest results of the Blame and Anger subscale of the HGRC. Additionally, univariate eta squared was hand calculated to determine practical significance. Findings indicated that bereaved adults who participated in the NDE learning module showed small effect size for interaction on Panic Behavior (&#951;2 = .05) and Personal Growth (&#951;2 = .05), large effect size for interaction on Detachment (&#951;2 = .15), large effect size for treatment type on Blame and Anger (&#951;2 = .15), and negligible effect size for interaction on Despair (&#951;2 < .01) and Disorganization (&#951;2 < .01). Although no statistically significant results were found for any of the dependent variables (p > .05), effect size findings indicated modest to substantial benefits of the NDE learning module intervention for bereaved adults ...
Effects of a Play-Based Teacher Consultation (PBTC) Program on Interpersonal Skills of Elementary School Teachers in the Classroom
The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a play-based teacher consultation (PBTC) program on individual teachers’ interpersonal classroom behaviors and teacher-child relationships. The research questions addressed the application of child-centered play therapy principles and PBTC increasing teacher responsiveness, decreasing teacher criticism, and enhancing teachers‟ perceptions of the teacher-child relationship in elementary school classrooms. Single-case design was utilized to examine eight teachers‟ perceptions over 16 weeks. The sample included 8 White female teachers from three local elementary schools. Teacher ages ranged from 28 to 59 years old. There were 5 kindergarten, 1 first grade, and 2 second grade teachers. The teachers participated in one educational training session followed by play sessions with children of focus and interactive modeling sessions. Trained observers, blind to the study’s purpose, utilized the Interaction Analysis System in classroom observations of the teachers, three times per week, to examine teachers’ interpersonal skills. Additionally, the teachers completed the Student Teacher Relationship Scale for the children of focus before and after the play session phase to examine change in the teacher-child relationship. Visual analysis of the data indicated the PBTC’s overall positive impact. 5 out of 8 teachers demonstrated increases in teacher responding scores at mildly to very effective criteria levels. All 8 teachers demonstrated decreases teacher criticism at effective to very effective criteria levels. The teacher-child relationships indicated mixed results, with 5 out of 8 teachers indicating positive changes in teacher-child relationships. Discussion includes implications for future research regarding single-case design, measurement of teacher change, and modifications of the PBTC model.
Effects of a Self-care Intervention for Counselors on Compassion Fatigue and Compassion Satisfaction
This study investigated the impact of a psychoeducational and experiential structured counselor self-care curriculum, developed by Drs. Charles and Kathleen Figley, on compassion fatigue and the prevention of professional impairment as measured by the Professional Quality of Life (ProQOL), Version 5. Volunteer licensed professional counselors, supervisors, and interns from four children's advocacy centers in Texas were assigned to treatment group (n = 21; 20 females, 1 male; mean age 34.4 years) or waitlist control group (n = 21; 19 females, 2 males; mean age 34.6 years). Participating counselors identified themselves ethnically as 64% Caucasian, 26% Hispanic, 7% African-American, and 2% Native-American. Employing a quasi-experimental design, three reliability-corrected analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) were utilized to analyze the data with an alpha level of .05 to assess statistical significance and partial eta squared to assess effect size. With pre-test scores as the covariate, results revealed in the experimental group a statistically significant reduction with large treatment effect for burnout (p = .01; partial ?2 = .15), a statistically nonsignificant reduction with a medium effect for secondary traumatic stress (p = .18; partial ?2 = .05), and a statistically nonsignificant increase with a medium effect for compassion satisfaction (p = .06; partial ?2= .09). Findings supported the use of this curriculum to train counselors on self-care as required of professional counselors by the American Counseling Association code of ethics and listed as a necessary skill in the standards of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
The Effects of Adlerian Play Therapy on Maladaptive Perfectionism and Anxiety and in Children
I used singlecase A-B-A experimental design to examine the effectiveness of Adlerian play therapy (AdPT) for children identified with clinical levels of perfectionism on the Conners Parent Rating Scale-Revised and Conners Teacher Rating Scale-Revised. Participants were 2 children, a 10 year-old Hispanic male and a 7 year-old Caucasian female. To examine the effect of AdPT on maladaptive perfectionism and anxiety, the Child-Adolescent Perfectionism Scale and the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale were administered to the children twice weekly over 3 phases of the study: baseline (6 administrations), intervention (12-16 administrations), and maintenance (6 administrations) for a total of 24 to 29 data points. Additionally, parents and teachers completed the Conners Rating Scales-Revised5 times: (1) prior to study, (2) following baseline/prior to treatment, (3) midpoint of treatment, (4) following treatment, and (5) following maintenance phase.During the intervention phase, the male and female participants attended 21 and 16 play therapy sessions, their mothers attended 6 and 5 parent consultations, and their teachers attended 6 and 3 teacher consultations, respectively. Analysis of the child self-report assessments indicated mixed and inconclusive results regarding the effects of AdPT on target behaviors. However, results of the parent and teacher reports indicated clinically significant reductionsin maladaptive perfectionism and anxiety over the five points of measurement for both participants. The participants’ maladaptive perfectionism moved from the clinical to the normal range. Implications for practice and future research are indicated.
The Effects of Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) for Adoptive Families
Adoptive parents often struggle to understand and meet the social-emotional behavioral needs of their adopted child, particularly when the child's pre-adoption experience lacked a secure relationship with an attuned and responsive caregiver. This randomized controlled study, a replication of Carnes-Holt and Bratton's 2014 research, investigated the effects of child parent relationship therapy (CPRT) for adoptive families who reported attached-related concerns such as difficulties establishing a mutually satisfying parent-child relationship as well as concerns about the adopted child's behavior and parental stress. Participants were 49 adoptive parents (61% female; 7% couples; 86% European American, 6% Latino, 6% Asian, and 2% Black American) with adoptees between the ages of 2.5 to 9 (50% female; 35% European American, 22% Asian, 12% Latino, 10% Black American, and 21% Biracial or other). Eighty-four percent of children were adopted internationally or from the foster care system. Parents were randomly assigned to CPRT or treatment as usual (TAU). Results from 2 (group) by 2 (time) repeated measures ANOVAs indicated that compared to the TAU control group, parents who participated in CPRT reported statistically significant improvement in child behavior problems, parent-child relationship stress, and parental empathy, with a large treatment effects on all measures. Findings confirmed results from Carnes-Holt and Bratton's study and provided strong support for CPRT as a responsive intervention for adoptive parents and their children.
The Emotional Needs of Mothers of Multiple Birth Children
The purpose of this study was to assess the emotional support needs of mothers of multiple birth children based on administration of a survey the researcher developed. The survey consisted of 25 demographic items, six 6-point Likert scale items, and three open-ended questions. Likert scale items were based on amount of perceived emotional support mothers received in their environments at the time of survey administration. Open-ended questions addressed negative and positive aspects of parenting multiples and emotional support needs. The sample consisted of 171 mothers of multiple birth children from 23 states in the United States. Participants ranged in age from 20-50 years old with 38% not reporting age. Participants were 95.3% Caucasian, 0% African-American, 1.8% Asian, 0% Native American and 1.2% other; of these, 5.8% were Hispanic. We used demographic statistics and constant comparison to determine basic demographic characteristics of this sample and to identify emotional support needs of mothers of multiple birth children. We used Pearson product moment correlation to determine potential relationships between variables. Results indicated a statistically significant positive correlation between overall life satisfaction and partner satisfaction (r = .420, n = 170, p < 0.01). Therefore, mothers of multiples experience increased satisfaction with their lives when they receive greater support from partners. Also, results indicated a statistically significant positive correlation between partner satisfaction and partner caretaking responsibilities (r = .305, n = 169, p < 0.01). As partners of mothers of multiples increase contribution to caretaking of children, mothers demonstrate greater relationship fulfillment. Implications for mental health professionals working with mothers of multiple birth children are discussed.
Empirical Benchmarks for Interpreting Effect Sizes in Child Counseling Research
The goal of this study was to establish empirical benchmarks for Cohen's d in child counseling research. After initial review of over 1,200 child intervention research studies published from 1990 to 2016, 41 randomized clinical trials were identified in which intervention and control groups were compared with children 3-12 years old (N = 3,586). Upon identification or calculation of a Cohen's d for each study, I calculated a weighted mean d by multiplying the effect size of each study by the number of participants in that study then dividing by total number of effect sizes. The weighted mean accounted for study sample size and served as the suggested medium effect size benchmark. Results indicated effect size is impacted in large part by type of reporter, with parents apparently most sensitive to improvement and yielding higher effect sizes overall; teachers relatively less sensitive, perhaps due to difficulty observing change in a classroom setting; and children self-reporting lowest levels of improvement, perhaps reflecting a lack of sufficient measures of child development. Suggested medium benchmarks for Cohen's d in child counseling literature are .70. for parent report, .50 for teacher report, and .36 for child self-report. Small and large benchmarks are suggested based on the use of standard deviations of the mean Cohen's d for each reporter.
The Essence of African Americans’ Decisions to Seek Professional Counseling Services: a Phenomenological Study
Mental health disparity is an emerging national concern with evidence suggesting individuals from non-dominant populations are less likely to seek and persist in mental health services compared to their dominant culture peers. In particular, African Americans may underutilize professional counseling services due to factors such as stigma, healthy cultural mistrust, and cultural values. To date, researchers have paid limited attention to ways to break through barriers to mental health equity. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore African Americans’ experiences and decision-making seeking professional counseling services. I addressed the following questions: How do African Americans make meaning of their decision to seek counselor services? What considerations are involved in decision- making with African Americans who decide to seek professional counseling services? Participants included 10 African American women who had attended counseling with a licensed professional counselor (LPC) or LPC Intern in the past three years. I identified six emergent themes through adapted classic phenomenological analysis: feelings prior to attending counseling, coping mechanisms utilized prior to counseling, barriers to treatment, motivation to attend counseling, characteristics of counselor, and post counseling experiences. Participants reported increased personal growth, insight, and desire to recommend counseling to others. Findings inform communities about what counseling is (and is not) as well as different types of support that can be obtained from a professional counselor. Limitations and future research directions are discussed.
An Examination of Parents' Preferred School Counselor Professional Activities
The purpose of this study was to examine parent preferences for school counselor professional activities. The primary focus of research was to determine if any relationship exists between (1) parents' demographic factors - gender, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity - and their preferences for school counselors' professional activities; (2) educational factors - parents' level of education and grade level of their student (9-12) - and parents' preferences for professional activities; and (3) parents' experience parenting high school students and their preferences for school counselors' professional activities. I utilized a 7-item demographic questionnaire and an adapted version of the School Counselor Activity Rating Scale (SCARS; Scarborough, 2005). The SCARS is a 48-item standardized instrument that measures how school counselors actually spend their time engaged in professional activities compared to how they would prefer to spend that time. The format was adapted from a verbal frequency scale to a 5-point Likert-type scale. In the current study, parents indicated their preference for school counselors to enact certain tasks, with higher scores indicating greater endorsement of the task. Cronbach's alpha for each of the SCARS subscales indicated good internal consistency: Counseling .879; Consultation .831; Curriculum .933; Coordination .867; and "other" .828. The sample was composed of 250 parents from a school district in the southwestern United States. The study population consisted of 198 female and 52 male participants ranging in age from 31 to 66 years old and included 6.4% African American, 1.6% Asian/Pacific Islander, 8.0% Hispanic, 4% Native American, and 83.6% White. Results indicated that parents overall preferred counselors to engage, from most to least, in Coordination, Counseling, "other," Curriculum, and Consultation activities and that they most strongly endorsed counselors providing students with academic advising and counseling for school related behavior. Regarding the primary focus of this study, the Pearson product moment correlation coefficient ...
Examining Help-Seeking Intentions of Chinese Individuals: A Path Analysis
Utilizing the theory of planned behavior, I examined the variables that affect Chinese individuals' help-seeking intention. A total of 251 Chinese individuals participated in this study. Results showed that the variables in the theory of planned behavior accounted for 16% of the variance in help-seeking intention. Specifically, attitude (r = .22, p < .001) and perceived behavioral control (r = .22, p < .001) were found to be significant predictors of help-seeking intention. Based on these results, mental health professionals can design outreach interventions, such as psychoeducational programs, to improve Chinese individuals' help-seeking attitude and perceived behavioral control in an attempt to increase mental health service utilization. Additionally, counselors can discuss with clients' their attitude and perceived behavioral control regarding seeking counseling in an attempt to assist clients in being committed to the counseling process.
Experiences Learning Interpersonal Neurobiology: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Neuroscience is increasingly part of the national dialogue regarding mental health. The field of interpersonal neurobiology may offer a framework for helping mental health professionals identify and apply the most relevant neuroscience principles to counseling. This study explored mental health professionals’ experiences learning IPNB. I conducted semi-structured interviews with participants (n = 6), all of whom were licensed mental health professionals and had completed a year-long study in the application of IPNB through Nurturing the Heart with the Brain in Mind. I analyzed the data, along with a research partner, according to interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) protocol. Four super-ordinate themes emerged from the analysis: (1) learning process as dynamic and engaging, (2) deepening knowledge and understanding of self and others, (3) personal and professional growth, and (4) impact on therapeutic practice. A number of sub-ordinate themes also emerged through the analysis , including experiential learning; learning through group process; influence of the past on the present; increased understanding of the change process; increased compassion, empathy, and acceptance for self and for others; increased confidence; using IPNB to educate clients; using IPNB to conceptualize clients; and using IPNB to select interventions. Finally, I identified three higher-order constructs that appeared embedded within and across themes: learning as ongoing, person of the participant, and person of the instructor. The findings in this study suggest that participants’ learning of IPNB had a significant impact on their personal and professional development, specifically in areas related to characteristics of effective counselors. The findings also suggest that these meaningful changes occurred in a learning environment characterized by emotional engagement, experiential activities, and group process. Limitations to this research, as well as further discussion of the results are included. Implications for future research, clinical practice, and counselor education are also offered.
Filial Therapy and the Family: Examining the Impact of Child Parent Relationship Therapy (Cprt) on Family Functioning
Research has indicated that filial therapy, an approach in which parents conduct play sessions with their young children, has strong effects on the participating parents and children. As a result, some have speculated that filial therapy improves the family system; however, minimal research exists to support this claim. Using a single-case, time-series design, I examined the impact of child parent relationship therapy (CPRT), a filial therapy approach, on the functioning of 8 diverse families (two-parent, biological children = 4; two-parent, adopted children = 3; single-parent, biological children = 1). 15 parents and 17 children (male = 15, female = 17) participated in the study. All but 1 parent was Caucasian. The children were more ethnically diverse (Caucasian = 5, Hispanic/Caucasian = 5, Hispanic = 3, Asian = 2). Parents’ ages ranged from 29 to 49 and children’s from 2 to 13. Results from simulation modeling analyses (SMA) indicated that 6 of 7 families experienced a statistically significant improvement in their targeted areas of family functioning, and the average effect size was moderate. Results from self-reported measures indicated that 7 families experienced notable improvements in family satisfaction, 4 in cohesion, 3 in communication, and 1 in flexibility. Data from an observational measure rated by independent assessors also indicated improvements pre- to post-intervention: 5 families in flexibility, 4 families in cohesion, and 4 families in communication. All families reported improved functioning in post-intervention interviews. The results support that the benefits of filial therapy may indeed extend to the family system.
Graduate Counseling Students’ Preferences for Counselor Educators’ Teaching Dispositions, Orientations, and Behaviors: a Q Methodology Inquiry
Teaching is a central role of counselor educators. However, teaching in counselor education lacks guiding standards or best practice recommendations. Existing scholarly dialogue predominantly features the perspectives of educators and addresses content knowledge, techniques, activities, and assignments for courses across the curriculum with relatively less emphasis on foundations of teaching. The purpose of this study was to develop greater understanding of counselor educator dispositions, orientations, and behaviors that students perceive as important to their learning. Q methodology was utilized to gather and distill counselor education students’ (N = 48) preferences for characteristics identified via focus groups and a comprehensive literature review. Factor analysis revealed four distinct factors, upon which 45 participants’ sorts loaded and which accounted for 41% of total variance. The findings of this study support the importance of the person of the counselor educator in the teaching and learning process in addition to behavioral characteristics. Moreover, these findings support the use of student learning style assessments and customization of course facilitation to fit students’ unique preferences and values.
Group Activity Play Therapy for Preadolescents: Effects on Low Self-Esteem
Research shows that preadolescent females are more prone to negative self-perceptions than their male counterparts which places them at greater risk of developing mental health problems stemming from low self-image. The purpose of this randomized, controlled outcome study was to examine the effectiveness of group activity play therapy (GAPT) compared to an evidenced based social skills/self-esteem group. Participants were 29 fourth and fifth grade girls in two Title I schools in the southwest U.S. referred by teachers and school counselors as presenting with low self-esteem. Participants identified as 45% Latina, 38% Caucasian, 14% African American, and 3% Asian. Children were randomly assigned to either 16 sessions of GAPT (experimental group; n = 15) or 13 sessions of an evidenced based social skills/self-esteem group intervention (control group; n = 14). Results from a 2 (Group) by 3 (Times) repeated measures ANOVA indicated that, compared to the control group over time, the GAPT group reported statistically significant improvement in self-esteem with a moderate to large treatment effect. Teachers did not report a statistically significant difference between the two groups over time. However, teachers reported noteworthy improvement for children in both treatment groups, with generally stronger improvement for the GAPT group. Overall, results indicate that GAPT may be a promising school-based intervention for preadolescent females suffering with low self-esteem.
Human-Animal Relational Theory: A Constructivist-Grounded Theory Investigation
Constructs of human-animal relational theory (HART) were investigated to determine how those constructs manifested in animal-assisted therapy in counseling (AAT-C) from the perspectives of 6 participants (2 counselors, females, ages 28 and 32, both non-Hispanic and White; 2 clients, male and female, ages 55 and 23, respectively, both non-Hispanic and White; and, 2 therapy animals, canines, Labrador retriever and spaniel mix, ages 4 and 5, respectively). Using constructivist-grounded theory, a research team analyzed qualitative data from observations, interviews, and field notes. From the iterative process of multiphasic coding and constant comparison, these findings emerged: (a) consistency between Chandler's (in press) constructs and participants' experiences of AAT-C, (b) more meaningful therapeutic impacts for clients from client-initiated human-animal relational processes (HARPs) than counselor-initiated HARPs, (c) development of rich definitions and descriptions of Chandler's constructs, and (d) descriptions of interactive experiences of AAT-C and client resistance in the context of HART. Clinicians and educators in the field of AAT can apply the processes, practices, and principles from this study in their work to enhance positive therapeutic impacts for clients. As Chandler's constructs were supported in this study, AAT authors and researchers can solve a glaring problem of inconsistent terminology in the AAT literature by using those constructs in future studies and publications as operationalized nomenclature for standardized AAT interventions.
Impact of an Online Education Program on Counselors' Knowledge and Attitudes about Near-Death Experiences
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.
Impact of Child-centered Group Play Therapy on Social-emotional Assets of Kindergarten Children
Early childhood is a critical period during which children develop social-emotional competence that will affect future success. Developing social-emotional assets is of importance for kindergarten children because of their concurrent cognitive and social changes as well as the experience of transitioning from home to school environment. A growing number of schools have adopted social-emotional learning (SEL) programming to focus on fostering children’s prosocial behaviors through direct instruction and engaging activities in classroom settings. However, some researchers have proposed that learning should capitalize on children’s natural interests rather than adult-determined agendas. Based on theoretical assumptions regarding potential effectiveness of child-centered group play therapy (CCGPT) as a treatment modality, I sought to explore the effects of CCGPT on social-emotional assets of kindergarten children utilizing parent and teacher reports across pretest, posttest, and one-month follow-up. Additionally, given that group sizes have been inconsistent and rarely explored across previous studies, I investigated the therapeutic aspect of group sizes in CCGPT outcome by comparing 2-member and 3-member CCGPT groups. Forty-three participants with mean age of 5.14 were recruited from three elementary schools, including 19 Hispanic, 14 Caucasian, and 10 African American. Twenty-one participants were randomly assigned to the intervention group receiving a mean of 15.32 CCGPT sessions over 8 weeks, and 22 participants were assigned to the waitlist control group. Six mixed between-within ANOVAs were conducted applying an alpha level of .05 to interpret statistical significance and η2 calculation to assess practical significance. Results indicated a statistically significant interaction effect on SEARS-P Total score, F (2, 72) = 4.533, p = .014, with medium effect size of η2 = .101. Post Hoc analyses indicated a non-statistically significant interaction effect on SEARS-P Self-Regulation/Responsibility subscale with a small effect, F (1.868, 67.248) = 1.776, p = .179, η2 = .043; a statistically significant interaction effect on SEARS-P ...
The Impact of Family Resilience Factors and Parent Gender on Stress Among Parents of Children with Autism
Parents of children with autism experience high degrees of stress. Research pertaining to the reduction of parental stress in families with a child with autism is needed. In this study, the relationship between family resilience, parent gender, and parental stress was examined. Seventy-one parents of young children with autism were surveyed. Regression and correlational analyses were performed. Results indicated that the vast majority of respondents reported significantly high levels of stress. Lower degrees of parental stress were correlated with higher degrees of family resilience. Family resiliency factors were significant contributors to the shared variance in parental stress. Mothers of children demonstrated higher levels of stress than fathers. Suggested explanations of these findings are presented and clinical and research implications are provided. The findings of this study provide evidence for the importance of facilitating family resilience for parents of children with autism and affirm differing stress levels between mothers and fathers.
The Impact of Kinder Training on Early Elementary School Children’s On-task Behavior: a Single Case Design
Teachers appear to feel challenged by children’s off-task behavior in the classroom. Children’s off-task behavior can result in reduced academic engagement, increased teaching stress, and strained teacher-child relationships. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of kinder training on young children’s on-task behavior in the classroom. This study utilized an experimental single-case methodology and a multiple baseline across subjects design. Three elementary school teachers conducted weekly individual play sessions with students they identified as frequently exhibiting off-task behavior. The three children ranged in age from five to six years: two males and one female, two Caucasian non-Hispanic and one biracial. Two trained observers repeatedly assessed the child participants’ on-task behavior using the Direct Observation Form throughout the baseline and intervention phases. The findings provide support for kinder training as an effective play-based professional development-training model that can improve children’s on-task behavior. Results demonstrated that all child participants showed improvement in on-task classroom behavior. Visual analysis revealed that all child participants demonstrated a positive change in on-task behavior during the intervention phase. All teacher participants reported observing improvement in the child participants’ on-task behavior and teacher-child relationships. Teachers’ post-intervention reports supported the notion of reciprocal interactions among teacher-child relationships, understanding of children’s lifestyle and goals of misbehavior, and children’s on-task behavior.
The Impact of Psychotherapeutic Reiki on Anxiety and Mindfulness: A Single-Case Design
Reiki healing is one of several complementary and integrative therapies becoming increasingly prevalent in mental health counseling. It has been identified in the medical field for its usefulness in treating anxiety, depression, distress, and pain but has rarely been studied for its counseling impact on client wellness. I conducted single-case research to explore psychotherapeutic Reiki's (PR's) influence on adult clients' anxiety symptoms and perceived sense of mindfulness and provided analysis of data collected from two assessments administered weekly: the Adult Manifest Anxiety Scale-Adult and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale. Three of the four participants demonstrated significant improvement in both anxiety and mindfulness over the course of the PR intervention. The study revealed potential therapeutic benefits for integrating PR with conventional talk therapy. Included in discussion of study results are clinical implications and importance, suggestions for future research, and limitations.
Individual and Group Child-Centered Play Therapy: Impact on Social-Emotional Competencies
A randomized controlled trial study was conducted to test the effectiveness of 16 sessions of the modalities of individual and group child-centered play therapy (CCPT) on improving social-emotional assets, including self-regulation/responsibility, social competence, and empathy. Participants were 56 students in four urban elementary schools in north central Texas, referred by teachers for disruptive or problematic behavior: 10 female and 46 male; ages 5 to 10 years with mean age 7.12; and 21 identifying as Hispanic, 17 as White, 8 as Multiracial, 1 as Asian, and 9 unspecified. Teachers and parents completed the Social and Emotional Assets and Resilience Scale (SEARS; Merrill, 2011) at pre- and post-treatment. With a significance criterion of p< .05, teacher reports provided no statistically significant results. However, parent reports indicated a statistically and practically significant interaction effect with a medium to large effect size, indicating a substantial improvement in children's scores from pre- to post-test attributed to group assignment. Mean differences indicated substantial gains in overall social-emotional assets, according to Total scores, in both individual and group treatment conditions as compared to the waitlist control group. Additionally, both individual and group play therapy was correlated with significant improvement with a large effect for the constructs of self-regulation/responsibility and social competence, with the group condition having a larger effect than the individual condition. Regarding empathy, neither modality resulted in significant improvement, though individual CCPT resulted practically in a large effect. These results indicate CCPT may provide a developmentally appropriate treatment for clinicians working with children in schools and in the community to foster their social and emotional competencies.
Intensive Short-term Child Centered Play Therapy and Externalizing Behaviors in Children
Play therapists use children’s natural symbolic play as a method of mental health treatment (Landreth, 2012). Meta-analysis research has demonstrated the effectiveness of treating children with play therapy (Bratton, Ray, Rhine, & Jones, 2005), and child-centered play therapy (CCPT) has proven to be an effective treatment for children with externalizing behaviors such as aggression and other disruptive behavior (Bratton & Ray, 2000; Bratton et al., 2005). Some studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of brief and short-term CCPT, such as twice weekly within two to three months (Blanco & Ray, 2011; Shen, 2002) and when delivered in an intensive format, conducting 12 sessions within three weeks (Jones & Landreth, 2002). In this current study, I sought to determine the effectiveness of intensive CCPT with children identified as having externalizing problem behaviors. Participants were recruited from public schools in the urban area of Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia area. A total of 24 participants completed the study: 18 boys and 6 girls aged 6 to 9 years old (M = 7); 17 Australian Caucasians, 1 English (UK) Caucasian, 1 Asian, 3 Hispanic/Latino, and 2 Biracial. Participants were randomly assigned: 12 to the experimental group and 12 to the wait-list control group. Children in the experimental group received 20 intensive CCPT sessions: twice daily for 10 days. For each child participant, a parent completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and a teacher completed the CBCL Teacher’s Report Form (TRF) three times: at pretest, posttest, and one-week follow-up. Mixed between-within ANOVAs were conducted applying an alpha level of .05 to interpret statistical significant and η2 calculation to assess practical significance. Follow-up results indicated a statistically significant interaction effect on CBCL Externalizing score, F (2, 44) = 14.747, p < .001, with a large effect size of η2 = .277. Results also indicated a statistically significant ...