Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Paradise, Louis V.

Second Advisor

Watson, Zarus

Third Advisor

Herlihy, Barbara

Fourth Advisor

Romano, Dawn


Both the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) and the Association for Specialists in Group Work (ASGW) require counselor education programs to provide experiential training to group workers (CACREP, 2009; ASGW, 2000). However, no specific models are given to counselor educators to implement the experiential component. Only two research studies have examined the overall structure and type of instructor involvement commonly used in counselor training programs (Anderson & Price, 2001; Merta, Wolfgang, & McNeil, 1993). In addition, researchers have documented ethical concerns in the use of experiential training methods (Davenport, 2004; Furr & Barret, 2000; Riva & Korinek, 2004) including the role of dual relationships, confidentiality, and competency. Student experience of the experiential training is impacted by both the structure of the experiential group and the ethical pitfalls associated with each (Goodrich, 2008). Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine the current models of group work and how the structure of these models impacted student attitudes toward ethical concerns of dual relationships, confidentiality, and competency and overall student experience. Members of the American Counseling Association (ACA) who had graduated with their master's degree in the past five years were asked to respond to the Survey of Student Attitudes and Instructor Participation in Experiential Groups online survey. The findings of this study suggested that the most common group work training model is to have a full-time faculty member both instruct the group work course and facilitate the experiential group. In addition, concern over ethical issues was found to be an important component in student's comfort level and belief that the experiential group was instrumental in their development as a group counselor. These results do not support the findings of Anderson and Price (2001) which suggested a growing trend of group work instructors not being both the facilitator of the experiential group and the instructor of the course. However, the findings do support previous research which indicated that ethical concerns do negatively impact student involvement in the experiential group (Davenport, 2004; Hall, Hall, Harris, Hay, Biddulph, & Duffy, 1999).


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