Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Herlihy, Barbara

Second Advisor

Paradise, Louis V.

Third Advisor

Watson, Zarus


There exists a strong endorsement in the literature of the effectiveness of an individual counseling experience as an influence in the personal and professional development of counseling students, yet few counselor education programs seem to require that students complete such an experience. Thus, the question arises as to why the required individual counseling experience as a client is not being required by a large proportion of counseling programs. The purposes of this descriptive, exploratory study were to determine the prevalence of the required experience as a client in individual counseling, examine the opinions of counselor education program leaders regarding the risks and benefits of experiential training components, determine the modalities used to deliver experiential training components, obtain counselor education program coordinators' views on the various modalities, and explore policies and procedures used in counselor education programs with respect to experiential training components. Finally, this study attempted to determine the level of satisfaction of those program directors who do utilize a required individual counseling experience, as well as their policies and procedures with regard to outcome measurement. Results of the study showed that there were some significant inverse relationships between counselor education program directors' opinions regarding potential benefits for counseling students and their policies regarding a required individual counseling experience. Additionally, although respondents did not strongly endorse the potential risks associated with the exercise, it is still not required by the majority of the counselor education programs surveyed. However, those program directors who do endorse a required individual counseling experience reported on its many benefits, and offered qualitative insights into how the requirement is implemented. The results of this study have implications for the counseling profession by offering empirical evidence regarding the prevalence of a required individual counseling experience for master's-level counseling students. The results of this study contribute to the counseling profession's knowledge base by determining counseling program directors' opinions of the potential benefits and risks of a required individual counseling experience, and by establishing that program directors whose programs require this exercise are overwhelmingly satisfied that the experience accomplishes the purposes for which it is intended.


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