• A Comparison Study to Investigate Coping Skills of Mental Health Counselors who are Adult Children of Alcoholics and Mental Health Counselors who are Adult Children of Non-Alcoholics

      Morse, Andrew; College of Professional Advancement
      Adult children of alcoholics (ACOAs) often prioritize the needs of others ahead of their own. As this characteristic can lead individuals into maladaptive behavior patterns that involve helping others at their own expense, it may also lead them to careers in counseling or other helping professions. If these counseling professionals have not effectively processed or learned to cope with the potential maladaptive cognitive or behavioral patterns resulting from being raised in alcoholic families, ethical problems concerning potential harm to clients due to counselor effectiveness or impairment may arise (American Counseling Association, 2014). The purpose of this study was to examine if the coping skills of counseling professionals who were raised in a home with at least one alcoholic parent were different from those raised in a home without an alcoholic parent. This quantitative research study of 131 counseling professionals included the Children of Alcoholics Screening Test (CAST) to determine if they are ACOAs or adult children of non-alcoholics (non-ACOAs) and the COPE Inventory to determine their use of 15 different coping skills. Using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) to analyze the data collected, this study found there to be significant differences between the two groups in both overall coping and dysfunctional coping. The results indicated that counseling professionals that are ACOAs utilized less functional coping skills than their non-ACOA counterparts, leaving them susceptible to potential negative outcomes for themselves and their clients. Continued research is needed to better understand how family-of-origin dynamics can impact counselor well-being and client outcomes.
    • A Phenomenological Approach Exploring Veterinarians' Experience Performing Euthanasia on a Pet

      Shugart, Austin; College of Professional Advancement
      The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore veterinarians’ experience performing euthanasia on a pet. Various mental health effects from veterinarians’ performing euthanasia on pets have been discussed in the literature including risk of suicide, stress, compassion fatigue, and burnout (Bartram et al., 2009; Bartram & Baldwin, 2010; Hill et al., 2019; Miller, 2012). The objective of this phenomenological study was to further understand the experience that veterinarians have when performing the end-of-life procedure, euthanasia, and what themes may emerge as a result. Semi-structured interviews were used to understand veterinarians’ experiences with performing euthanasia. The sample included 8 veterinarians who have performed at least one euthanasia. The findings of this study included four emerging central themes that were identified in the data analysis process, including several subthemes. The first central theme identified was moral reasoning for euthanasia with subthemes including concern for quality of life, ending suffering for pets, and ending suffering for humans. The second central theme was effects on the mental health of the veterinarian with subthemes including suicidal risk, burnout, and compassion fatigue. The third central theme was the experience of performing euthanasia being emotionally difficult for the veterinarian including a subtheme of attending to the emotions and needs of owners. The last central theme was compartmentalization including a subtheme of professionalism. These findings contributed to the existing literature as they showed that performing euthanasia on a pet is an experience that affects the veterinarian in various ways. Continue research is needed to better understand the experience of a veterinarian performing euthanasia on a pet in order to better help veterinarians that may need help for their mental health.
    • A Study Of The 501(c)(3) Tax-exemption Law Pros And Cons And Its Effect On Community-based Church Institutions

      Lewis, Michael Todd
      The research study explored how community-based church institutions fulfilled its inherent Biblical mission in compliance with the dual pro and con dimensions of the 501(c)(3) tax-exemption law. The research investigated Pastoral knowledge of the 501(c)(3) program through phenomenological interviews as well as areas of improvement to 501(c)(3) policies that govern community-based churches as nonprofit organizations. The study further examined legislative and judicial controversies created by the 501(c)(3) revenue law dual dimensions against tenets of First Amendment church protection rights. The reviewed literature offered insight that framed this qualitative study. The research discovered that churches experienced little if any obstructions to preaching the Gospel or ministering to parishioners while complying with 501(c)(3) program policies. Community-based church pastoral leaders recognized having minimal knowledge with the 501(c)(3) program policies but exhibited sufficient understanding to make informed decisions. Conversely, church pastoral leaders’ perspectives varied on how legislative influence prohibitions imposed by the 501(c)(3) revenue code are upheld over First Amendment church protection rights. Some pastors viewed the 501(c)(3) prohibition as legal while others chose First Amendment rights as the preeminent law. The divergent views of church leaders give credence to existing governing conflicts for nonprofit churches manufactured by two incongruent legal documents.
    • Adult Siblings Of Individuals With Developmental And Psychiatric Disabilities: Relationship Quality, Coping, And Plans For The Future

      Rice, Margarita Velez
      The following study examines the experience of adult siblings of individuals who have developmental and psychiatric disabilities. Using a mixed methods research design, the researcher evaluated 84 self-reports of adult sibling relationship quality, coping strategies, and responses to qualitative questions regarding relational characterizations and expectations for the future planning and care for brothers and sisters with special needs. This study identified significant correlations between warm sibling relationships and coping strategies. A thematic analysis of the qualitative responses revealed themes that created complementarity to the quantitative findings and indicate directions for future research.
    • An Examination Of Affectivity, Depression, And Acculturative Stress In Asian International College Students Using An Online Written Disclosure Protocol

      Overzat, Tara Bernadette
      TARA BERNADETTE OVERZAT AN EXAMINATION OF AFFECTIVITY, DEPRESSION, AND ACCULTURATIVE STRESS IN ASIAN INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE STUDENTS USING AN ONLINE WRITTEN DISCLOSURE PROTOCOL Under the direction of Karen D. Rowland, PhD College is a time of emotional upheaval and adjustment. Asian international college students may benefit from an intervention such as an online written emotional disclosure protocol to help with mental health and emotional distress. This dissertation examines the affectivity, depressive symptoms, and acculturative stress of Asian international college students and begins to assess an online written emotional disclosure protocol as a potential intervention. Three MANOVA were run on the data, which suggested that Asian international college students age 26 and older experience a decrease in positive affect compared to the 22 - 25 year old age group; Indian international college students have higher positive affect than their peers; Asian international college students living in the US for 25 months or longer had negative affect than students living in the US 1 - 6 months; Asian international college students living in the US 25 months or longer had higher acculturative stress than those living in the US 7 - 24 months. LIWC2015 was utilized to examine the affective, social, and cognitive processes written about in the experimental and control prompt journals, and showed that the experimental journals had higher utilization of words that reflect these processes. The study should be replicated with a larger sample size for better accuracy.
    • An Examination Of The Effect Of Professional License Type And Gender On The Self-efficacy And Comfort Level Of Counseling Skills In Addressing Sexual Issues With Clients

      Hayes, Tanyeka Uhuru
      The purpose of this study was to examine clinicians’ self-efficacy and comfort level based on license type and gender when addressing sexual issues with clients. The Counseling Self-Estimate Inventory (COSE) was used to measure participants beliefs or judgments about her/his capabilities to effectively counsel a client in the near future, and the Sexual Intervention Self-Efficacy Questionnaire was used to measure participants current comfort level to work with individuals who have sexual concerns or problems. The sample for this study included 174 fully licensed clinicians recruited from the southeastern region of the United States through membership of online listservs associated to the specific professional license type. The aim of this study was to determine if a particular professional license type and gender perceive a higher level of self-efficacy and comfort level when addressing sexual issues with clients than the others. The results of this study found that LMFT’s and males are more comfortable addressing sexual issues with clients. The results of this study also emphasize that additional required coursework in sexual issues is needed in counseling and social work graduate programs as well as continuing education.
    • Approaching Conflicts Over Time In Counseling Supervision: Perspectives Of Wise Minority Supervisors

      Ayers, Lindsay Nicole
      Conflicts in the counseling supervision relationship have not been given much consideration in the research literature despite the fact that they occur frequently (Quarto, 2002). The purpose of this study was to explore wise, minority supervisor’s perceptions about their approaches to conflicts in the supervisory relationship, including if and how their approaches have developed over time. Using the following research question as a guide, “What are the lived experiences of wise, minority supervisors’ growth process in approaching conflicts in supervision?” the goal was to gain an in-depth understanding of how wise minority supervisors approach conflicts and how their approach has grown or developed across their career. By examining perceptions related to these factors, supervisors received insight about approaching conflicts in supervision. Due to the lack of research concerning minority supervisor development and supervision conflicts, semi-structured interviews with wise, minority, counseling supervisors were conducted using phenomenological methods of inquiry. Transcripts were analyzed and four core themes were extrapolated from the data and discussed. Recommendations for future counseling supervision research and practice were discussed along with limitations of the study.
    • Consensus Definition of Self-Love: A Delphi Study

      Underwood, Jack; College of Professional Advancement
      CONSENSUS DEFINITION OF SELF-LOVE: A DELPHI STUDY Abstract This study produced a consensus definition of self-love, counseling uses, and outcomes. Self-love is a concept written about but minimally researched. Research investigating a definition of self-love includes the dissertations of Patrick (1982), Freedman (1995), Irvani (2007), and Samiei (2015). These authors define self-love based on comprehensive reviews of research and psychology literature, philosophical underpinnings, theoretical frameworks of Erich Fromm and Carl Rogers, and a panel consultation of psychologists. This study sought to establish a valid research definition of self-love through the use of the Delphi research method. Fully licensed counselors, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and a psychiatrist comprised the initial 25-member Delphi expert panel. The consensus definition of self-love was constructed largely with components of self-care, self-worth, self-acceptance, and unconditional positive self-regard. A distinct panel outcome, was the consensus that self-love is both an individual and dual process, revising previous literature suggesting the dual process model only. The panel produced near perfect consensus on two definitions of self-care that were extremely important to the definition of self-love: a practice of self-compassion and self-empathy, and the act of nurturing the whole self. Three research questions were utilized to produce an initial definition of self-love which then went through the multiple iteration process to reach the consensus definition for the study. The panel agreed on 20 ways a definition of self-love can be used in counseling in addition to 23 positive outcomes that might be associated with clients who receive counseling focusing on self-love. Keywords: self-love, Delphi, research validity, expert panel, consensus agreement
    • Counseling Self-efficacy And Counselor-in-training Anxiety: The Moderating Role Of Mindfulness

      Koth, Kristen Heather
      Mindfulness has been suggested as a predictor in counselor self-efficacy and has been shown to have a negative correlation with anxiety.� However, the relationship between anxiety and counselor self-efficacy with the possibility of mindfulness playing a moderation role has not been examined.� This study examined the relationship between counseling self-efficacy and counselor-in-training anxiety and the potential moderating effect of mindfulness.� Master’s level counselors-in-training were surveyed using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), the Trimodal Anxiety Questionnaire (TAQ), and the Counselor Self-Efficacy Scale (CSES) (N = 156). Levels of anxiety, counselor self-efficacy, and mindfulness were obtained and a Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients revealed significant pairwise relationships between the three variables.� A moderated path analysis supported the hypothesis that mindfulness is a significant predictor of anxiety and self-efficacy.� However, results indicated that mindfulness was not a moderator of the relationship between anxiety and counselor self-efficacy. Implications for the use of mindfulness as part of counseling program curriculum are discussed.
    • Educated Beyond Adversity: Understanding Resilience And Attachment In Homeless Young Adults Pursuing Higher Education

      Tillman, Felicia
      Researchers have studied resilience and attachment to determine the significance in the lives of homeless young adults in the United States. However, little research has determined the potential link between resilience and attachment of these young adults who choose to persevere beyond their adversity. This study examined the interactions between homelessness and educational goals with resilience and attachment for homeless young adults pursuing post-secondary education. The researcher administered both the Revised Adult Attachment Scale- Close Relationships Version and the Resilience Scale-14 to 84 participants who have experienced homelessness as young adults and pursued higher education. Administration of a qualitative question added narrative thickness to the two-way MANOVA statistics garnered from the administered instruments. The testing of the research hypotheses were to prove whether a significant interaction effect exists between length of homelessness and educational goals on resilience and attachment for the selected population. Potential implications could help counselors and educators better assist homeless young adults to be successful in their educational endeavors.
    • Empathy and Compassion as Predictors or Counselor Burnout and Resilience

      Elder, Carrie L.; College of Professional Advancement
      Empathy is frequently taught as a core disposition and helping skill in counselor education programs. Recent studies have found empathy to activate the pain network within the brain and compassion to activate non-overlapping brain regions. These findings have led neuroscientists to hypothesize that empathy leads to burnout and compassion leads to resilience. These findings have implications for the field of counseling since burnout has the potential to lead to impaired client treatment. The purpose of this study is to use a quantitative, multiple regression analysis to determine if empathy is predictive of counselor burnout and compassion predictive of counselor resilience. Results indicate that increases in empathy, and decreases in self-compassion, are predictive of counselor burnout. Results also indicate that self-compassion, compassion towards others, and a decrease in empathy is predictive of counselor resilience. Furthermore, results indicate that the model that best predicts counselor burnout is empathy (fantasy, personal distress, and less ability to take the perspective of others), working outside of private practice, one to five years of experience, and lower scores on self-compassion and compassion towards others. The model that best predicts counselor resilience is compassion towards self and others, empathic perspective taking, less empathic personal distress, less empathic fantasy, working in private practice, and Republican affiliation. Results from this study indicate that compassion plays a significant role in predicting both high resilience and low levels of burnout. These findings support counselor educators in teaching compassion skills equal to empathy skills to counselors in training as a measure of self and client care.
    • Establishing a School Counselor Program Evaluation Taxonomy: The Contribution of Proposed Competencies to School Counselor Data Beliefs and Practices

      Beasley, Jordon J; College of Professional Advancement
      JORDON J. BEASLEY ESTABLISHING A SCHOOL COUNSELOR PROGRAM EVALUATION TAXONOMY: THE CONTRIBUTION OF PROPOSED COMPETENCIES TO SCHOOL COUNSELOR DATA BELIEFS AND PRACTICES Under the direction of MORGAN KIPER RIECHEL, PH.D The purpose of this study was to further investigate the relationship between the instruments identified by Köse and developed by Maras et al. (2013), Astramovich (2016), and Dimmitt et al. (2007) to provide validation to the proposed taxonomy of program evaluation competencies for school counselors. Theoretically, these instruments should be highly correlated as they all claim to measure some aspect of program evaluation competencies among school counselors. To date, no research has been conducted to establish construct or criterion validity among these instruments. Furthermore, this study sought to determine if a predictive model could be created to predict school counselor program evaluation competence based on the school counselor program evaluation field-specific, technical and non-technical competencies outlined in Maras et al. (2013), Astramovich (2016), and Dimmitt et al. (2007). With a sample population of 145 professional school counselors currently employed in one southeastern state, this study used correlational research design to determine the relationship between the independent instruments. Further, the study utilized linear multiple regression analysis to determine if a model could be created to predict the contribution of the field-specific, technical and non-technical competencies outlined in the Effective Practices Survey (Maras et al., 2013), the Program Evaluation Interest and Skills Assessment (Astramovich, 2016), and the Evidence Based School Counseling Self-Assessment (Dimmitt et al., 2007) be developed to predict school counselor data beliefs and practices. Results of the correlational analyses indicated significant, positive relationships between the independent instruments further establishing criterion validity for these instruments as valid measures of program evaluation competence. Results from the linear regression indicate that these instruments account for 59.4% of the variance in school counselors’ data beliefs and practices regarding data usage. Further, these findings establish construct validity for the EPS, PEISA, and EBSCP-SA. Results and implications for the field of school counseling and school counselor education are discussed. Limitations for the study and suggestions for future research are also presented.
    • Examining Counselors' Level Of Professional Experience With Adult Attachment Style And Comfort With Emotional Intimacy / By Kenika Holloway

      Holloway, Kenika
      The purpose of this study is to determine if professional experience influences discussing emotional intimacy with clients as well as counselors’ adult attachment style and comfort with intimacy. This study recruited licensed and unlicensed professional counselors and marriage and family therapists including associate-level, master’s-level, and student/interns in both disciplines. A MANOVA was conducted to analyze the data collected from the Revised Adult Attachment Scale and Fear of Intimacy Scale. This study bridges the gap in the counseling literature in regard to counselors’ susceptibility to countertransference regarding emotional intimacy, due to their own personal adult attachment style and comfort with emotional intimacy. This study highlights the importance of counselors being more self-aware of the influence of their attachment and intimacy history.