Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
It is likely that a counselor-in-training (CITs) will counsel a lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) client in practice. The American Counseling Association (ACA, 2014) and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP, 2009) address ethical and training standards about counseling clients from diverse populations and multicultural counselor competence. The purpose of this dissertation was to examine master's-level CITs' perceived LGB counselor competence and potentially related and predictive factors including age, gender, religiosity, spirituality, personal relationships with LGB individuals, and having an "out" faculty or peer in the training program. This quantitative study included 105 CITs from CACREP accredited counselor education programs, surveyed from a national stratified sample, based on CACREP regions. The survey included the Sexual Orientation Counselor Competence Scale (Bidell, 2005), the Toronto Empathy Questionnaire (Spreng, McKinnon, Mar, & Levine, 2009); a Religiosity Index (Statistics Canada, 2006), Spiritual Transcendence Index-Modified (Seidlitz et al., 2002), the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale-Sort Form C (Reynolds, 1982), and additional survey items to collect information on the number of personal relationships with LGB individuals (i.e., family, friends, faculty, and peers), age, gender and demographic information. Results indicated that CITs felt least competent in their skills to work with LGB clients and most competent in their attitudes towards LGB individuals. A regression analysis revealed that religiosity negatively predicts perceived LGB counselor competence and personal relationships with LGB individuals positively predicted LGB competence. Additionally, there was a significant positive relationship between having an "out" LGB peer in the training program and perceived LGB counselor competence. Implications suggest that counselor training programs increase the use of LGB themed case studies, role plays, and other classroom initiatives to help CITs meet the needs of their future LGB clients. An interesting finding in this study was the positive relationship between having an "out" LGB peer in the training program and increased LGB competence. Future research should investigate the dynamics of this relationship.
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