Date of Award

4-2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Gary Bischof

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephen Craig

Third Advisor

Dr. Karen Horneffer-Ginter

Abstract

Following growing public interest and widespread use, many health professions have begun to explore the attitudes toward, knowledge of and experience with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) of the various stakeholders within their professions. This foundational information has enabled disciplines such as medicine, nursing, psychology, and marriage and family therapy to take a closer look at how students, patients, clients, and faculty think about and utilize CAM and its relevance to their professions. Surveying the practices and attitudes of stakeholders has been an important starting point for professions undertaking the task of integrating these practices into training programs.

This study sought to fill the gap in knowledge about the attitudes, knowledge and experience with CAM among counselor education faculty. Counselor educators (N = 130) were surveyed online about their knowledge of and attitudes toward CAM and their personal, clinical and teaching use of CAM practices. Results indicated that the majority of counselor educators have positive attitudes toward CAM and 79% believe it should be integrated into counselor training. Over half the participants believe counseling as a profession is behind other mental health professions in the integration of CAM. The study also found that experience with and knowledge of CAM had significant and positive relationships with attitudes toward CAM. Results indicated there is already some limited integration of CAM practices within the core curriculum of counseling training programs, primarily in the self-care, treatment approaches, and helping relationships portions of curricula. Counselor educators were more likely to have experience with the subset of practices known as mind-body practices, which include breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery. Higher ratings of counselor wellness identity were associated with more positive attitudes toward CAM. Females and older counselor educators were more likely to have positive attitudes toward CAM. The association of attitudes toward CAM and year of degree or race/ethnicity were not significant. Limitations of the study include a relatively small sample size, the need for more valid measures, and the length might have led some to not complete the survey. Recommendations for counselor training and future research are offered.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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