Date of Award

5-20-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Degree Program

Counselor Education

Department

Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Paradise, Louis V.

Second Advisor

Herlihy, Barbara

Third Advisor

Ebrahim, Christine

Abstract

Leaders in the counseling field are encouraging practitioners to develop a social justice perspective to counseling to ensure fair and equitable treatment of clients and stress the importance of advocating on behalf of these individuals (Lee, 2007; Lee & Waltz, 1998; Lewis, Arnold, House, & Toporek, 2003; Lewis & Bradley, 2000). The counseling profession, because it is a relatively young field struggling with its own identity (Chi Sigma Iota, 2005; Eriksen, 1999; Gale & Austin, 2003; Myers & Sweeney, 2004) could also benefit from advocacy. A two-pronged approach of professional advocacy, which is the process of advocating for both clients and the profession is the most effective and comprehensive method. The results of this study were intended to bring greater insight into professional counselors' willingness and ability to advocate on behalf of the profession by identifying their perceptions of activities, knowledge, skills, qualities, importance, need, barriers and support for professional advocacy, and by exploring the relationship between counseling professionals' attitudes toward professional counselor advocacy and their perceived level of conducting professional advocacy activities. Results indicated that professional counselors believe that they participate in professional advocacy activities and that they have the knowledge, skills, and qualities to conduct those professional advocacy activities. They report gaining most knowledge of professional advocacy from publications, then from modeling, then conferences and workshops, then from their master's or doctoral program, and last from websites. They endorsed the importance and need to conduct professional advocacy most due to needing to improve the public and professional image of counselors. Participants indicated the top three barriers to advocating are: not enough time, roadblocks caused by other professionals, and insufficient knowledge of professional advocacy strategies; however generally find support to advocate in colleagues, counselor xi educators, supervisors and professional associations. Knowledge, skill, qualities, importance/need, barriers and support produced positive relationships when correlated to professional advocacy activities meaning that they will be more involved in professional counselor advocacy activities if they endorse these ideas. Additionally, several barriers produced significant, negative relationships with advocacy activities indicating that if they perceive barriers, they are less likely to be involved in those advocacy activities.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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