Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Suzanne M. Hedstrom

Second Advisor

Dr. Edward L. Trembley

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Bahr


This study measured the impact of an intensive counseling skills training course on levels of cognitive complexity in novice counselors. Graduate level counseling students were assessed at the beginning of a basic counseling skills training course and again at the end of the course by obtaining written responses to a stimulus questionnaire. A control group was recruited consisting of other graduate counseling students who were taking other courses during the same time interval and who were not exposed to the basic counseling skills course. Participants in the control group were tested using the same instrument and their scores were compared to the firs t group’s scores. In dependent reviewers rated the responses from the questionnaire and identified the number of constructs elicited by each participant. The study then examined whether any changes occurred in the participants’ conceptual complexity by identifying quantitative shifts in the number of constructs they used. Results indicated a significant difference in post test scores between the groups, and findings suggest that closely supervised experiential training components in basic counselor skills training are associated with elevated cognitive complexity levels.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access