Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counseling and Personnel

First Advisor

Dr. Robert L. Betz

Second Advisor

Dr. Subhash Sonnad

Third Advisor

Dr. David Joslyn

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Robert Hopkins


The purpose of this investigation was to (1) determine the effectiveness of meditation in promoting healthy adjustment or self-actualization in counselor candidates; and (2) ascertain whether a meditation group generates a more positive change in self-actualization than do a treatment control and a control group.

The sample consisted of 39 volunteer graduate students in counselor education courses at two major universities. Three intact classes were used, with members of each group made up from the same class. Classroom groups were randomly assigned to two treatment conditions, meditation (M) and relaxation (TC), and to a third no-treatment condition (C).

Treatment was carried out over an eight-week period. A quasi-experimental design was employed, using the Personal Orientation Inventory (POI) as the dependent variable. The construction of a bogus treatment control (relaxation) that closely matched meditation in its training procedures, complexity, and expectation-generating aspects provided methodological control. Further control was established by using a form of meditation that was relatively unknown while reducing training time to the bare minimum necessary to teach the technique. Both treatment groups were instructed and tested by trainers.

The significance level was set at .05 for all testing. No significant differences existed between groups before treatment. Application of the one-way analysis of variance after treatment revealed no significant differences among groups on the 12 POI scales. As such, the hypotheses of the study were not confirmed when the controls for internal validity were taken into account. To allow for comparison with previous research, t-tests were performed. Testing revealed significant change for the (M) group on the major scale of inner-directedness and five subscales of the POI. The (TC) recorded significant change on four subscales. The (C) improved significantly on one subscale.

The study indicates that when internal validity factors are tightly controlled, meditation does not demonstrate significant effectiveness in promoting positive personality changes. Based on this observation, a recommendation was made that the phenomenon of meditation may be better explored through more subjective styles of inquiry, rather than the group approach.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Counseling Commons