Date of Award

Spring 5-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Barbara Herlihy

Second Advisor

Zarus Watson

Third Advisor

Louis Paradise

Fourth Advisor

Carolyn White


Six hundred fifty-seven (657) members of the American School Counseling Association responded to the researcher-developed survey, the School Counselors Perceptions of Family Systems Perspectives Questionnaire (SCP-FSPQ). The instrument assessed school counselors’ perceptions of preparedness, competency, importance and frequency of use of family systems perspectives when working with youth in the school setting. The purposes of this quantitative study were to understand school counselors’ perceptions of their educational preparation in family systems perspectives; whether school counselors are using family systems strategies and, if so, how often; and how important school counselors believe those strategies are when implemented. This study also explores the barriers school counselors may face when working with a family systems perspective. Items from the SCP-FSPQ were analyzed using descriptive statistics, ANOVA, t-test, Pearson correlation and principal component analysis. When exploring the relationships between school counselors’ type of degree, methods of learning, frequency of usage, beliefs about preparedness, competence and importance of family systems perspective, significant relationships were identified among all the variables. The results of this study supported the need for required family systems education that prepares school counselors to work with students and their families in the school setting. Findings resulted in training and education recommendations for school counselors, counselor educators, counselor education programs and the school counseling accreditation bodies.


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