The Sexual Orientation Counselor Competency Scale (SOCCS), developed by Bidell in 2005, measures counselors’ levels of skills, awareness, and knowledge in assisting lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) clients. In an effort to gain an increased understanding of the construct validity of the SOCCS, researchers performed an exploratory factor analysis on the SOCCS with a sample of practicing counselors who were members of the Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling (ALGBTIC) and counselors-in-training (N = 155) enrolled in four Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP)-accredited counseling programs. The data analyses resulted in a 4-factor model, 28-item assessment that explained 56% of the variance. In acknowledging the loading of the fourth factor, this result highlights the need to focus on involvement and engagement in clinical practice in order to maintain best practice standards. Furthermore, the fourth factor of experience adds a compelling perspective to consider when understanding, improving, and maintaining sexual orientation counselor competence.
Counselors in school and community settings, counselor educators and counseling students (N = 453) participated in a study of self-perceived competence to serve lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) clients. Using the same large data set as Farmer, Welfare, and Burge (2013), the author examined different research questions focused on counselor religiosity and spirituality. Through multiple regression analysis, the following variables predicted LGB-affirmative counseling competence: counselors’ self-identified religiosity, spirituality, education, number of LGB clients counseled and LGB interpersonal contact. Spirituality had a positive relationship with competence, whereas religiosity was negatively related. Further exploration of the intersection of counselor religiosity and spirituality as it relates to LGB-affirmative counseling is warranted.