Date of Award

Fall 12-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Dr. Roxane Dufrene

Second Advisor

Dr. Barbara Herlihy

Third Advisor

Dr. Zarus Watson


Counselor educators are continually improving the quality of their training programs. The purpose of the present study was to investigate counseling students’ practicum experiences and development in community-based and department-based settings. The framework for this study was based on Stoltenberg’s integrated developmental model, which describes stages of counselor development and supervision conditions needed for a learning environment (Stoltenberg & Delworth, 1987; Stoltenberg & McNeill, 2010; Stoltenberg, McNeill, & Delworth, 1998)

A nation-wide study was conducted utilizing counselor education practicum students enrolled in programs listed in the CACREP program directory (2008) and Counselor Preparation: Programs, Faculty, Trends (12th ed.; Schweiger, Henderson, Clawson, Collins, & Nuckolls, 2008), and subscribed to three listserves COUNSGRAD, CESNET, and COUNSLINK. A total of 435 responses were collected electronically with a completion rate of 70% (N = 305). The Demographic and Experience Questionnaire and the Supervision Level Questionnaire Revised (SLQ-R) were used.

The results of this study indicated that practicum students’ experiences differed in community-based versus department-based settings. Students in department-based settings reported their settings were more structured than did students in community-based settings. Students who rated their settings as more structured also reported they were more satisfied with the amount of structure. Direct supervision modalities were utilized more often in department-based settings than in community-based settings. Students in community-based settings were supervised by licensed professional counselors, licensed professional counselor – supervisors, and licensed clinical social workers. Students in department-based settings were supervised by counseling professors, licensed professional counselors, licensed professional counselor – supervisors, and counseling doctoral students. Despite the differences in structure, supervision modalities, and supervisors, practicum students reported similar experiences in client population types and client issues.

Additionally, no differences were found in counseling practicum students’ SLQ-R scores in community-based versus department-based settings, and no differences in students’ SLQ-R scores were found in direct supervision in comparison to indirect supervision. The number of supervision modalities used in practicum settings was not related to students’ SLQ-R scores. Significant relationships were found in two of the sub-scales on the SLQ-R: self and others awareness and autonomy with practicum students’ number of credit hours completed.


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