Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

First Adviser

Caskie, Grace I. L.

Other advisers/committee members

Inman, Arpana G.; Eckhardt, Amanda; Adams, Aimee


Previous qualitative research with professionals or clinical psychology doctoral students indicates that personal therapy is a form of self-care that facilitates counseling competence. However, the benefit of personal therapy has not been examined quantitatively for trainees in APA-accredited counseling psychology doctoral programs. Additionally, nearly 40 years have passed since training directors were surveyed regarding recommendations for trainees' engagement in personal therapy (Wampler & Strupp, 1976). The current study invited all 69 APA-accredited counseling psychology programs in the United States to participate; 35 training directors (TDs) and 124 trainees participated. Although counselor self-efficacy and skills were significantly lower for beginner trainees than advanced trainees, significant differences were not found by engagement in personal therapy. Twenty-two of the 35 TDs (62.9%), but only 35 of the 124 trainees (28.2%), indicated their programs recommend that trainees engage in personal therapy. Of these 22 TDs and 35 trainees, 14 TDs and 31 trainees stated that personal therapy is recommended to all students, 18 TDs and 16 trainees indicated that personal therapy is recommended on a case-by-case basis, and 13 TDs and nine trainees indicated that personal therapy is recommended to students on remediation. TDs and trainees reported that cost (65.7%, 71.4%, respectively) and time (57.1%, 70.7%, respectively) were the most common barriers to seeking personal therapy, followed by access to care and concerns about confidentiality. Although endorsing personal therapy on a case-by-case basis is a step toward promoting self-care, moving toward the training director and faculty advocate that all trainees engage in personal therapy might better create a culture of self-care. Finally, trainees endorsed time and cost twice as much as other barriers, suggesting that training directors may need to consider how to alleviate these barriers to trainees' engagement. The ability to find differences in counselor outcomes based on engagement in therapy may have been limited by how the categorical variable was created and by having lower than expected statistical power due to the small effect size and small sample. Additional limitations and future research directions are discussed.