The effect of practicum supervision upon self-actualization in counselor trainees
Norman, Sam R
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Professional development is a vital function of counselor preparation programs in educational psychology. The counseling practicum offers a way for students to integrate their previous learning and apply it in a real counseling situation. The American Psychological Association, the American Association of Counseling and Development, and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy stress the need for practicum experience. With the effort to improve the quality of the practicum comes the need to evaluate them. Research and evaluation are vehicles for improving the counseling practicum. An aspect of the practicum is personal growth that enhances professional expertise for the counselor-in-training. Among the qualities that need to be developed to help others are self-acceptance; self-awareness; and actualizing behavior. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of practicum supervision upon self-actualization in counselor trainees. Texas Tech University's Educational Psychology Department provided the setting and students for this study. Twenty-five students who were enrolled in a counseling practicum were administered the Personal Orientation Inventory. The inventories were administered at the beginning of the semester and at the end of the semester. Eighteen students who were enrolled in an Educational Research class comprised the first control group. Eighteen students who were enrolled in an Introduction to Counseling class comprised the second control group. A semester's time frame was also followed in securing the Personal Orientation Inventory tests results from the comparisons. An analysis of the data did not reveal any significant differences among the three groups. Further analysis of the data did, however, reveal a significant difference in growth toward self-actualization over time for the groups. There was growth toward self-actualization on Time Incompetence (TI), Time Competence (TC), Other-Directed (0), Inner-Directed (I), Existentiality (Ex), Feeling Reactivity (Fr), Spontaneity (S), Acceptance of Aggression (A), and Capacity for Intimate Contact (C). A paired t-Test showed that the Counseling Practicum group had significant growth on subscales Feeling Reactivity (Fr) and Acceptance of Aggression (A). The Introduction to Counseling group showed significant growth on subscales Time Incompetence (TI), Time Competence (TC), Other-Directed (0), Inner-Directed (I), Feeling Reactivity (Fr), and Capacity for Intimate Contact (C). The Educational Research group showed significant growth on subscales Other-Directed (0), Inner- Directed (I), and Existentiality (Ex).