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Human-Animal Relational Theory: A Constructivist-Grounded Theory Investigation

Description: 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.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Otting, Tiffany L

Black Males' Treatment Experiences in Mental Health Court: A Phenomenological Analysis

Description: 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.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Stare, Bryan

The Impact of Psychotherapeutic Reiki on Anxiety and Mindfulness: A Single-Case Design

Description: 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.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Webster, Lindsay

Child Parent Relationship Therapy: A Program Evaluation

Description: 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.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Ley, Tiffany Andresen

The Impact of Family Resilience Factors and Parent Gender on Stress Among Parents of Children with Autism

Description: 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.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Cheatham, Kelly L.

The Effects of Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) for Adoptive Families

Description: 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.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Opiola, Kristie K

Group Activity Play Therapy for Preadolescents: Effects on Low Self-Esteem

Description: 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.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Yousef, Dina K.

Social-Emotional Competencies of African American Children: Impact of Child-Centered Play Therapy

Description: African American children experience risks due to heightened socio-environmental problems and responding to negative racial messages in their environments. Child Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) is one viable intervention for the development of social emotional competence among African American children to help mediate adverse conditions. I sought to explore the effects of CCPT on the social emotional competencies of African American children utilizing Social Emotional Assets and Resilience Scale-Parent & Teacher (SEARS-P; SEARS-T) reports. Thirty-seven African American participants with a mean age of 6.68 years were recruited from four suburban elementary schools in the southwest U.S. Twenty participants were randomly assigned to the intervention group receiving a mean of 13.3 CCPT sessions over 8 weeks, and 17 participants were assigned to the waitlist control group. Factorial ANOVA results indicated that parents reported statistically and practically significant improvement for children who participated in CCPT in overall social-emotional competencies. Follow-up analysis revealed statistical and practical improvement in children’s empathy, as well as practical improvement in self-regulation/responsibility and social competence. Teacher-reported results indicated practical but non-statistically significant improvement in overall social-emotional competencies for children who participated in CCPT, including statistical and practical improvement in children’s responsibility, as well as practical improvement in self-regulation, social competence, and empathy. Thus, CCPT showed promise as a culturally responsive treatment intervention to improve African American children’s social-emotional competencies
Date: May 2016
Creator: Taylor, LaKaavia

Master Therapists' Decision Making Process Concerning Adolescent Confidentiality: A Grounded Theory Approach

Description: Ethical codes and laws provide counselors with guidance for how to approach confidentiality, but there is a gap in the literature surrounding counselors' process of decision-making when managing confidentiality with a adolescent clients. This study explored the decision-making process of master therapists concerning adolescent clients. I conducted semi-structured interviews with peer identified master therapist (N=10), all of whom were licensed professional counselors with 15 or more years of counseling experience and whose case load contained 25% or more adolescent clients. Participants included seven females and three males; nine participants identified as Caucasian, and one participant identified as Hispanic. Participants ages ranged from 39-61. I analyzed the data, along with two research partner, according to Grounded Theory (GT) methodology. Through constant comparative analysis, a grounded theory emerged from the data in which participants converged understanding of client safety, relationships, clinical intuition in a process of integrated experience and consultation. With the exception of mandated reported and mortal danger, ethical guidelines and laws did not seem to factor into participants' decision making. Implications for counseling practice, preparation, and research are provided.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Michero, Emily

Child Centered Play Therapy with Children Exhibiting Aggressive Behaviors

Description: 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.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Wilson, Brittany Jean

Individual and Group Child-Centered Play Therapy: Impact on Social-Emotional Competencies

Description: 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.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Blalock, Sarah M.

Addressing Multicultural Issues in the Counselor Education Classroom: a Phenomenological Analysis

Description: 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.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Wagner, Terra M.

The Impact of Kinder Training on Early Elementary School Children’s On-task Behavior: a Single Case Design

Description: 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.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Chen, Szu-Yu

A Canonical Correlational Analysis Exploring Characteristics of Children Presenting to Counseling for Grief and Loss

Description: 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 ...
Date: August 2015
Creator: Ener, Liz D.

Impact of Child-centered Group Play Therapy on Social-emotional Assets of Kindergarten Children

Description: 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 ...
Date: August 2015
Creator: Cheng, Yi-Ju

The Essence of African Americans’ Decisions to Seek Professional Counseling Services: a Phenomenological Study

Description: 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.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Yaites, LaToya D.

Intensive Short-term Child Centered Play Therapy and Externalizing Behaviors in Children

Description: 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 ...
Date: August 2015
Creator: Ritzi, Rochelle M.

Effectiveness of Relational Equine-partnered Counseling (Repc) on Reduction of Symptoms of Ptsd in Military Veterans: a Single Case Design

Description: 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.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Sheade, Hallie E.

Graduate Counseling Students’ Preferences for Counselor Educators’ Teaching Dispositions, Orientations, and Behaviors: a Q Methodology Inquiry

Description: 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.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Hurt, Kara Marie

Sexual Identity Development: Findings From an Exploratory Grounded Theory Study

Description: Counselors and other mental health professionals lack training on healthy sexuality and sexual identity development (SID). To begin to construct a comprehensive model of SID that can be used in counseling and counselor education, I conducted an exploratory study utilizing a grounded theory approach to collect and analyze SID stories from a purposive sample of eight adults from the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area: four male and four female; seven White Caucasian-American and one Asian American; and self-identified as two gay, one lesbian, three heterosexual, and two sexually fluid. Participants elucidated a process model of the sexual-self that incorporated biological, psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual factors. Emergent themes included discovering, distinguishing, placing boundaries around, differentiating, and integrating the sexual-self. This preliminary model advanced a more holistic understanding of SID that counselors and other mental health professionals, educators, and researchers may find useful within their respective disciplines.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Kinsey, Lee

A Predictive Model of Adolescent Persistence in Counseling

Description: Adolescence is a developmental period characterized by profound social and emotional changes. Counseling can serve as a protective factor for decreasing the long-term negative emotional effects. Despite this fact, counselors continue to struggle with high rates of attrition among adolescent clients. When examining trends of client persistence in counseling across the lifespan, researchers found a relationship between the presence of internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Additionally, they found that high levels of familial stress predicted premature termination from counseling. The purpose of the current study was to create a predictive model of adolescent persistence in counseling. I examined both personal and environmental characteristics of adolescents who sought counseling services (N = 72) from an on-campus university counseling clinic that serves as a training facility for master’s and doctoral students at an accredited counselor education program in the southwestern United States. Participants were predominantly White (67.6%, n = 50), with a mean age of 14.23 (SD = 1.65). Nearly 60% (n = 44) of the clients were female, and 37.8% were male (n = 28). Beyond descriptive variables, eight predictor variables were examined: adolescent involvement in their intake, time spent on the wait list, four domains of parental stress, and parent perceptions of adolescent internalizing and externalizing behaviors. A multiple linear regression was conducted to understand how much of the variance in the number of counseling sessions attended by adolescent clients was explained by the predictor variables. The regression analysis was statistically significant (p = .008) and accounted for 29.1% (R2adj = .192) of the variance in sessions attended. Of the variables examined, externalizing behaviors (42.82%) accounted for the most variance in sessions attended, followed by whether the adolescent was involved in the intake (29.16%), internalizing behaviors (12.96%), and parent-focused stress (10.30%). An examination of the two strongest predictors in correlation to ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Holm, Jessica M.

Child-Centered Play Therapy Parent Services: a Q-Methodological Investigation

Description: 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.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Lee, Kasie R.

Experiences Learning Interpersonal Neurobiology: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Description: 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.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Miller, Raissa

Children’s Experiences in the Therapeutic Relationship: Development and Validation of a Self-report Measure

Description: 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.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Purswell, Katherine E.