Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Critical Incidents in Student Counselor Development

Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

Critical Incidents in Student Counselor Development

Article excerpt

Throughout the history of counselor education, it has been observed that students studying to be counselors change as they progress through the educational process (Brown & Srebalus, 1996; Stoltenberg, 1998). As we have focused on students' cognitive understanding and skill development, we have also of-ten noticed that students grow on the interpersonal and intrapersonal levels. To design appropriate educational experiences that address all aspects of counselor development, we believe that counselor educators need to identify and examine experiences that influence counselor development. Thus far, research on these experiences, which may be termed critical incidents, among counselor education students has been meager (Morrissette, 1996). In this article, a critical incident is defined as a positive or negative experience recognized by the student as significant because of its influence on the student's development as a counselor. Because many of these experiences occur outside the classroom setting, it is important to examine student perceptions of the nature of events that have influenced their development as counselors.

Counselor development during graduate education has been examined from the perspective of cognitive development (e.g., Etringer, Hillerbrand, & Claiborn, 1995), development during supervision (e.g., Stoltenberg, 1998), and the relationship among faculty and students (e.g., Chung, Case, & Loundy, 1997). Each of these perspectives made significant contributions to understanding how students change as they progress through counseling programs. Particular emphasis has been on the changes that occur during supervision and fieldwork. By identifying the external events that trigger counseling student development, the research on critical incidents focuses on an additional and different perspective of development.

COGNITIVE PERSPECTIVE

Etringer et al. (1995) stated that the developmental process involved in learning to counsel is a process that allows individuals to move from declarative (factual) knowledge to procedural knowledge. If students are to develop generalized schemas that they can apply across various situations, they must be exposed to repeated presentations of examples that have varying degrees of similarity. Morran, Kurpius, Brack, and Brack (1995) also emphasized the importance of counselors learning to direct their thoughts to form schemas related to client concerns. To help students develop cognitive skills, Morran et al. proposed a model focused on counselor self-talk. The model included"(a) attending to and seeking information about self, client, and the therapeutic relationship; (b) organizing and integrating information into viable hypotheses and client conceptualizations; and (c) planning, guiding, and evaluating therapeutic interventions" (p. 383).

Student counselor attitude is another form of cognitive development. Claiborn, Etringer, and Hillerbrand (1995) noted that "the trainee's attitudes change as a result of all sorts of experiences" (p. 44) and that the interpersonal context of supervision can be a source of influence in attitude change. Self-efficacy is one attitude that has been studied. Leach and Stoltenberg (1997) found that Level-II trainees (mean of 3.5 supervised practice courses completed) reported greater self-efficacy regarding counseling microskills than did Level-I trainees (mean of 2.6 supervised practice courses completed). Level II trainees also showed a greater understanding of process issues as well as a better understanding of expressing" self" in a natural way. Level-II trainees indicated greater efficacy for counseling culturally diverse clients and clients with difficult behaviors. M. Heppner, Multon, Gysbers, Ellis, and Zook (1998) discovered a positive relationship between counselor self-efficacy and client motivation. As counselor confidence about building a firm alliance with clients increased, client motivation to work on career goals increased. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.