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Child Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) with Latina/o Children Exhibiting School Behavior Problems: Comparative Effects of Delivery by Spanish-Speaking and English-Speaking Counselors

Description: The shortage of bilingual counselors is one barrier to young Latina/o children receiving mental health services. Child-centered play therapy (CCPT) is a developmentally responsive intervention based on the premise that play is children's natural means of communication across cultures. This randomized controlled study examined the effects of CCPT with young Spanish-speaking Latina/o children exhibiting clinical levels of school behavior problems. Participants were 57 pre-K to kindergarten Latina/o children (72% male; mean age = 4.0) randomly assigned to three treatment groups: CCPT with Spanish-speaking, bilingual counselors; CCPT with English-speaking, monolingual counselors; or active control (bilingual mentoring). Monolingual counselors participated in cultural competency training and supervision with bilingual counselors and supervisors. According to independent observers and teachers blinded to children's group assignment, both the bilingual CCPT group and the monolingual CCPT group demonstrated moderate treatment effects over bilingual mentoring, yet between-group differences were not statistically significant. Analysis of within-group change over time indicated that children in both CCPT interventions demonstrated statistically significant improvement, while the mentoring group did not. The percentage of children in each treatment group who improved from clinical to normal behavioral functioning suggests the clinical significance of the findings: 80% bilingual CCPT, 70% monolingual CCPT, 15% bilingual mentoring. Overall, findings indicate that CCPT, whether delivered by bilingual counselors or culturally-competent, monolingual counselors, is a promising intervention for young Latina/o children exhibiting behavior problems.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Barcenas Jaimez, Gustavo

Child-Centered Play Therapy with Children Affected by Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Single Case Design

Description: Child centered play therapy (CCPT) is a therapeutic intervention that provides the environment for children to work through and heal from difficult experiences through expression of play and therapeutic relationship. It has been demonstrated effective with multiple types of disruptive behaviors. I conducted single-case research to explore CCPT's influence on children who had four or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and provided analysis of data collected from one assessment administered weekly and one assessment at pre-, mid-, and post-intervention: the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire and the Trauma Symptoms Checklist for Young Children. The two participants (one 8-year-old White American male and one 9-year-old White American female) demonstrated significant improvement in total difficulties and prosocial behaviors. The study revealed potential therapeutic benefits for utilizing CCPT with children who had four or more ACEs. Encompassed in discussion of study results are implications for practice, suggestions for future research, and limitations.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Haas, Sara C

Counselors Explore their Attachment Strategies: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Description: This study explored participants' experiences of being interviewed with the Adult Attachment Interview as a means of supporting counselor self-awareness and fostering effective counselor-client working alliances. A sample of first-year counselor education doctoral students (n = 7) completed an AAI interview and feedback session. Participants completed five reflective journals over three weeks and explored their experiences in individual, semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed according to interpretative phenomenological analysis protocol. Four superordinate themes emerged from the analysis: (a) reactions to the AAI interview process, (b) process with AAI feedback, (c) AAI and intrapersonal process, and (d) AAI and interpersonal process. Additionally, there were eight subordinate themes: (a) surprised by AAI interview process, (b) interview process sparked reflection, (c) initial reaction to AAI feedback, (d) evolving process of integrating AAI feedback, (e) AAI process increased awareness, (f) increased self-awareness increased self-efficacy, (g) awareness from AAI process prompted relational shifts, (h) impact of AAI on clinical work, (i) importance of relationships, (j) importance of self-awareness, and (k) mutual influence of personal and professional. Findings in this study suggest that the AAI is an effective tool in supporting counselor self-awareness regarding attachment strategies. Additionally, findings suggest multiple personal and professional benefits, such as increased awareness of conflict and stress management strategies. Limitations to the study and further discussion of the results are presented. Implications for clinical practice, counselor education, and future research are also included.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Spellings, Maria

Effect of Child Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) with Adoptive Parents of Preadolescents: A Pilot Study

Description: Older adopted children and their families often express high need for support for attachment and trauma related concerns. Post-adoption mental health intervention focused on enhancing the parent-child relationship among adoptive parents and adoptees is essential for fostering placement permanency among these families. This single group pilot study explored the effect of Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (CPRT) for adoptive parents of preadolescents who reported attachment related concerns, stress in the parent-child relationship, and child behavior problems. Participants were 11 adoptive parents ages 25 to 64 (55% male; 91% couples; 100% married; 56% European American, 27% Asian, 9% Hispanic, and 9% Black American) with adoptees between the ages of 8 to 14 (56% male; 56% Hispanic, 33% European American, and 11% Black American). All child participants were adopted out of foster care. Data was collected at baseline, pretest, midtest, and posttest. Results from non-parametric Friedman test of differences across 4 points of measure indicated that CPRT demonstrated statistically significant improvement for the 3 outcome variables: parental empathy, child behavior, and parent child relationship stress. Specifically, results indicated that prior to receiving CPRT (baseline to pretest), parents demonstrated no change or worsening in functioning across all variables, whereas during the intervention phase findings showed a large treatment effect for parental empathy, a medium effect for parenting stress, and a small effect for child behavior problems. Findings from this pilot study support CPRT as a promising mental health intervention for adoptive parents and preadolescent children. Clinical implications and recommendations for working with adoptive parents of preadolescents are explored within the context of these findings.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Swan, Alyssa

The Effectiveness of Peer Mentoring with High School Student Mentors and Child Mentees

Description: This randomized, controlled study examined the effectiveness of two mentoring programs, child mentor relationship training (CMRT) and peer assistance and leadership (PAL®), on high school mentor empathic behaviors and child mentee behavior problems. Participants were 60 young, at-risk students (61.7% male; 38.3% Hispanic/Latino/a, 31.7% Caucasian, 21.7% African American, 8.3% biracial) and 30 high school students (53.3% male; 66.7% Caucasian, 26.7% Hispanic/Latino/a, 0.03% African American, 0.03% Asian). Mentors and mentees were randomly assigned to CMRT or PAL®, which was treatment as usual in the participating school district. Results from 2 (group) by 2 (time) repeated measures ANOVAs indicated compared to the PAL® treatment group over time, mentors in the CMRT group demonstrated statistically significant improvement in empathic behaviors with a large treatment effect, as rated by independent observers. Analysis revealed a moderate treatment effect with CMRT group mentee behavior problems, but the difference was not statistically significant between treatment groups over time. Further analysis revealed the CMRT group demonstrated statistically significant reductions in behavior problems from pre- to post-test with a very large treatment effect. Overall, findings support CMRT as a promising school-based intervention for at-risk young children that potentially increases school counselor efficiency.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Dafoe, Eric C.

The Experience of Language Use for Second Generation, Bilingual, Mexican American, 5th Grade Students

Description: There is a paucity of research regarding language use among bilingual clients, particularly with Latino children. In order to provide culturally sensitive counseling for bilingual, Spanish-speaking, Latino children it is important to understand their experience of language use. The purpose of this study was to investigate how second generation, bilingual, Mexican American, 5th grade students experience language use in the two languages with which they communicate. I employed a phenomenological method to data collection and analysis and conducted semi-structured individual and group interviews with three boys and five girls (N = 8). Analysis of the individual and group interviews yielded four main structures: (a) dominant language determined perception of developing dual selves, (b) speaking two languages useful in language brokering and upward mobility, (c) dominant language determined experience of language use, and (d) language use and aspects of the complementarity principle. Findings from this study suggest that bilingual Latino children experience language brokering for their parents as difficult, speaking two languages as useful regarding upward mobility, and that their dominant language influences various aspects of their daily experiences such as with whom and where they use each language. Limitations to this research include insufficient time building rapport with participants and challenges related to unexplored dimensions of bilingualism in the counseling research literature. An overarching implication for future research, clinical practice, and counselor education is that bilingualism, language use, and the depth of experience of Latino children are largely understudied topics.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Paz, Michael

Characteristics of Mothers among Counselor Education Faculty

Description: 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.
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Jimenez, Kyrstin Anne

Coming Out: The Lived Experiences of LGB College Students who Feel Supported by Their Parents

Description: 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.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Price, Eric W

Empirical Benchmarks for Interpreting Effect Sizes in Child Counseling Research

Description: 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.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Weisberger, Andrea Godwin

Examining Help-Seeking Intentions of Chinese Individuals: A Path Analysis

Description: 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.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Yee, Terence

Impact of an Online Education Program on Counselors' Knowledge and Attitudes about Near-Death Experiences

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

A Phenomenological Exploration of Counselors' Experiences in Personal Therapy

Description: Professional counselors may choose to increase self-awareness and/or engage in self-care through the use of personal therapy. In particular, counselors may feel reluctant to pursue personal therapy due to stigma related to their professional identity. To date, researchers have paid limited attention to the unique concerns of counselors in personal therapy. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore counselors' experiences and decision-making in seeking personal therapy. I addressed the following questions: What contributes to counselors' decision to seek personal therapy? How do counselors make meaning of their experiences in utilizing personal therapy? Participants included 13 licensed professional counselors who had attended personal therapy with a licensed mental health professional in the past three years. I identified six emergent themes through adapted classic phenomenological analysis: presenting concerns, therapist attributes, intrapersonal growth, interpersonal growth, therapeutic factors, and challenges. Participants reported positive changes in personality and relationships, as well as several barriers specifically related to their counselor identity. Findings inform mental health professionals and the field of counselor education and supervision about the personal and professional needs of counselors. Limitations and future research directions are discussed.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Bevly, Cynthia

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

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

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 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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.