Description: This study investigated potential relationships between master's level counseling students' levels of ego development and their identified orientations to one of six guiding theories of counseling; students' theoretical orientation classifications when classified according to the theory's domain of emphasis: affective, behavioral, or cognitive; students' degrees of confidence in identifying their theoretical orientations; and students' degrees of comfort in applying their theories in clinical practice. Seventy participants enrolled in a master's level practicum course completed the Washington University Sentence Completion Test, a measure of ego development, and the Counseling Theory Survey, a survey developed by the researcher, in order to identify students' identified theoretical orientations, students' degrees of confidence in identifying their theoretical orientations, and students' degrees of comfort in applying their theories in clinical practice. Ego development level was operationalized as a dichotomous variable consisting of level E5 and below and E6 and above, based on the developmental task attained at E6: a shift from emphasis on in-group identity to self-evaluated standards. To determine potential relationships between the students' ego development levels and their theoretical orientations and their orientations when classified by domain of emphasis, 2 x 4 and 2 x 3 Chi-square analyses were used. Independent t-tests were conducted to determine if the students' degrees of confidence in identifying their theoretical orientation and their degrees of comfort in applying their orientation varied across the two groups. No statistically significant results were found. Alternative explanations for the identification of theoretical orientation, limitations of the study, and suggestions for future research are discussed with emphasis on the need for greater integration of current theories related to the identification of theoretical orientation.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Warren, Edward Scott