Due to the complexity of the counseling process, counselors-in-training often experience performance anxiety when entering the counseling profession. Research shows that higher counseling self-efficacy (the belief in oneself to perform counseling skills successfully) helps decrease performance anxiety. Further, a strong supervisory working alliance is the most effective intervention to increase counseling-self-efficacy. However, there are barriers to building a strong supervisory working alliance including high performance anxiety and low counseling self-efficacy as well as the dual nature of the supervisor's role as mentor and evaluator. This study introduces an equine assisted learning supervision intervention for counselors-in-training. This experiential learning intervention provides an opportunity for counselor self-exploration and growth in a non-evaluative, nonjudgmental, novel situation. The population of interest was counselors-in-training enrolled in CACREP counseling programs. The purposive sample included 20 students enrolled in a theories counseling course or a practicum skills course. The study used a quasi-experimental design where participants completed a Demographic Questionnaire, the Counseling Self-Estimate Inventory, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and the Supervisory Working Alliance-Trainee Form. Participants were randomly selected to be in a treatment group, which received a one hour individual equine assisted learning supervision intervention or in the control group, which received class as usual. Six research questions examined the main effect of the EAL-S intervention on counseling self-efficacy, the main effect of the EAL-S intervention on performance anxiety, the relationship between counseling self-efficacy and performance anxiety, the correlation of the quality of supervisory working alliance with counseling self-efficacy, the correlation of the quality of the supervisory working alliance with performance anxiety, and the correlation of the supervisory working alliance with the effectiveness of the EAL-S intervention. A split-plot MANOVA was performed to analyze the first two questions and revealed a significant main effect of the EAL-S intervention on counseling self-efficacy. Non-significance was found in the main effect of the EAL-S intervention on performance anxiety. Pearson Product Moment Correlations were performed for the remaining questions. A significant positive correlation was found between counseling self-efficacy and performance anxiety. No significance was found in the correlation of the quality of the supervisory working alliance with counseling self-efficacy, performance anxiety, or the effectiveness of the EAL-S intervention. Findings support that a one hour EAL-S intervention can improve counselors'-in-training counseling self-efficacy and improve their tolerance for performance anxiety. These results have implications for counselors-in-training, supervisors, and counselor educators.
|Publisher||East Carolina University|
|Department||Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies|
|University||East Carolina University|
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