Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Mary Z. Anderson

Second Advisor

Dr. Erick M. Sauer

Third Advisor

Dr. Darrick Tovar-Murray


Critical race theory, White counselor trainees, multicultural counseling competence, white privilege attitudes, cross racial contact


The current study examined the effects of a single and required Critical Race Theory (CRT)-oriented multicultural course on White, master-level counselor trainees with and without clinical experience. More specifically, the study examined differences in White counselor trainees’ responses to instruments that assessed White privilege attitudes, multicultural counseling competence, and cross-racial contact comparing trainees that had taken the required multicultural course with those who had not. Previous research suggests that when a single multicultural counseling course is a requirement of counselor training, multicultural counseling competence and White privilege awareness tend to increase. In the current study, a CRT-oriented course was used to understand its effects on White master-level trainees’ cultural competence, White privilege awareness, and cross-racial contact as the course is designed to prioritize race, White supremacy, systemic racism, and White privilege. This paradigm may be a shift from multicultural counseling courses that prioritize other issues of diversity such as sexual orientation, gender, and disability. The sample included 168 White master-level counselor trainees enrolled in a department that houses 57% of faculty of color. Multicultural counseling competence, White privilege attitudes and behaviors, and cross-racial contact were examined in the current study. Thus, quantitative analyses were used to understand how a CRT-oriented course, clinical experience, gender, and time spent in training impact all three variables. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) tests were conducted and correlations were examined. The results indicate that the department CRT-oriented course impacts White Privilege Remorse (e.g., shame, guilt, and remorse about having White privilege and its systemic effect on Whites and people of color) and Multicultural Counseling Knowledge (e.g., cognition and information attained through formal education and various other life experiences and perceptions that foster a culturally inclusive understanding of how and why a client exhibits specific behaviors). The results also reveal several positive correlations between multicultural counseling competence, cross-racial contact, and White privilege attitudes. For example, Multicultural Counseling Knowledge was correlated with five out of six variables examined in the study. It yielded a near-zero correlation with only one aspect of White privilege attitudes and behaviors. Meanwhile, Anticipated Costs of Addressing White Privilege was not statistically significantly correlated with any of the other variables in the study. Cross-racial contact, clinical experience, gender, and time spent in the program were not statistically significant in the present study. These data are explained further and provide evidence for future research and training implications.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access