Academic journal article Counseling and Values

Using a Values-Based Taxonomy in Counselor Education

Academic journal article Counseling and Values

Using a Values-Based Taxonomy in Counselor Education

Article excerpt

Values such as respect for the client's privacy and respect for diversity are integral to training new counselors. This requires learning in the affective domain, defined as the internalization of values (Krathwohl, Bloom, & Masia, 1964). The affective taxonomy of Krathwohl et al. (1964) is presented as a means of teaching values and measuring the internalization of values. An example from a multicultural counseling course is offered as a template for implications in counselor education.

Keywords: counselor education, multicultural values, taxonomies, counseling values


In counseling, values undergird every activity. Consequently, the ACA Code of Ethics (American Counseling Association [ACA], 2005) mandates respect for the values of the client and awareness of one's own values. In counselor training, programs provide curricular experiences to foster students' acquisition and internalization of values relative to self and clients for appropriate therapeutic counseling decision making and behaviors (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs [CACREP], 2009). These counseling behaviors, or dispositions, are the external manifestation of underlying values that guide decisions about clients, interventions, and practice (Holst, 2010; Sockett, 2009; Thompson, 2009). Dispositions and their underlying values can be innate qualities of the counselor's personality (open-mindedness, patience, or empathy) or learned (valuing diverse perspectives or appreciating cultural expressions [Sockett, 2009; Thompson, 2009]). In particular, dispositions (behaviors) that have been associated with effective counseling include empowerment, advocacy, and collaboration (Brubaker, Puig, Reese, & Young, 2010; Thompson, 2009), and the values that propel these behaviors include appreciation for diversity, empathy, and compassion, among others.

Although cognitive and behavioral skills are critical for counseling, values are the core of counseling (Boysen, 2010; Ratts, 2009). For example, asking questions (skill) without concurrent empathy (value) for the client's experience is an interrogation, not counseling. To reduce the mechanical mimicry of counseling skills, counselors-in-training must acquire values that are consistent with effective counseling. In order to evolve into counselors, these individuals must internalize professional perspectives and values (Auxier, Hughes, & Kline, 2003; Nugent & Jones, 2009). Therefore, counselor educators should facilitate values exploration, teach professional values, and then measure the extent of the students' values internalization.

There is a need for learning strategies that foster professional values and resulting ethical perspectives in counselor education (Boysen, 2010; Brubaker et al., 2010; Chang, Crethar, & Ratts, 2010; Odegard & Vereen, 2010). The purpose of this article is to suggest that counselor education could benefit from a taxonomy to promote and measure the internalization of professional values. This taxonomy will be applied and examined in a multicultural counseling class as an example of a heavily values-oriented course. Results of action research in this multicultural class will be presented to explore the efficacy of the taxonomy. First, taxonomies in counselor education will be explored; then, the affective taxonomy will be presented with pedagogical implications for teaching values in a multicultural counseling class as one example. Finally, action research data are presented to facilitate evaluation of the taxonomy.

Taxonomies in Counselor Education

Counselor educators currently assess knowledge and skills using cognitive and behavioral rubrics and instruments that are based on various taxonomies of learning (i.e., Cormier & Hackney, 1999; Granello, 2000; Hutchins & Vaught, 1997; Ivey, Ivey, & Zalaquett, 2010; McAuliffe & Lovell, 2006). In counselor education, current taxonomies that are used for curriculum design and student assessment focus on behavior (skills) and cognition (knowledge). …

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