Counselor self efficacy, anxiety, treatment outcome, counselor education, practicum, hierarchical linear model, hlm


The first semester of practicum is a difficult time for counseling students as they learn to integrate knowledge and theory into clinical practice, often evoking high levels of anxiety (Barbee, Scherer, & Combs, 2003; Ronnestad & Skovholt, 1993) and limiting counselor selfefficacy (Bernard & Goodyear, 2009; Melchert et al., 1996). Practicum is the first opportunity counselors-in-training have to apply theoretical knowledge in a professional setting, use new clinical skills, and test how well they fit into the field of counseling (O‟Connell & Smith, 2005). Additionally, if counselor educators do not fully understand the process counselors in training develop counselor self-efficacy, they may be overlooking opportunities to educate a new generation of counselors or using their time, energy and resources in areas that may not be the most efficient in counselor development. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of an embedded, rich-media distributed learning environment added to practicum had on the development of counselor self-efficacy, reduction of anxiety and effect on treatment outcomes for counselors in training in their first semester of practicum. This study found the use of distributed learning to extend education beyond the classroom significantly and positively affected the development of counselor selfefficacy, had mixed statistical results on the reduction of anxiety and did not have an affect on treatment outcome. Furthermore, the study used hierarchical linear modeling to see if the characteristics of individual practicums affected the three main constructs, the results did not find a significant effect from the groups. iv The results of the study produced several implications for counseling. First, if counselor educators help counselors in training become more aware of counselor self-efficacy, the students can better understand how the construct affects their anxiety, their comfort with expanding or improving their clinical skills and the approach they take to a client, session or treatment plan. A second implication is that using an embedded, rich-media learning environment may help the counselors in training to develop their clinical skills. The results of this study imply that utilizing technology and discussions beyond the classroom is beneficial for (a) increasing the students‟ counselor self-efficacy, (b) normalizing the emotions the students may experience and (c) improving the methods for development through vicarious learning. Also, as technology continues to evolve and as education continues to adapt by integrating technology into the classrooms, counselor educators should begin exploring how to best use technology to teach students during practicum. Traditionally, based on the nature of counseling, practicum has been an interpersonal experience, but the results of the current study imply the methods of extending learning beyond the traditional class time is beneficial. Finally, as counselor educators strive to increase students‟ counselor self-efficacy early in practicum, in an environment that contains anxiety and self-doubt (Bernard & Goodyear, 2009; Cashwell & Dooley, 2001) using vicarious learning through video and online discussions can assist in accomplishing the goal.


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Graduation Date





Young, Mark


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance


Dean's Office, Education

Degree Program

Education; Counselor Education








Release Date

May 2013

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Education, Education -- Dissertations, Academic