TPC Journal-Vol 11-Issue-3 - FULL ISSUE

The Professional Counselor | Volume 11, Issue 3 323 Implications for Counseling Research Based on our findings, we note several directions for future research. First, future studies could include greater demographic diversity as well as more participation from counselor educators, site supervisors, practitioners, and clients across the ACES regions. Including counselor educators in empirical studies can highlight aspects of Whiteness that influence their approach to training and scholarship. With regard to increasing scholarship involving site supervisors, practitioners, and clients, Hays et al. (2019) highlighted several strategies for recruiting sites to participate as co-researchers as well as obtaining clinical samples through strengthening research–practice partnerships. Additionally, recruiting more heterogenous samples—in terms of sample composition and demographics—could provide much-needed psychometrics for available measures as well as refined operationalization of Whiteness. Additional research can further explore individual correlates and predictors to enhance counselor training, supervision, and practice by identifying opportunities for assessment and development at each level of WRI. Second, most reports of empirical studies in our sample noted concerns with sampling and generalizability, social desirability, and instrumentation. Given these concerns, researchers are to be cautious about the interpretation and application of previous study findings using the White Racial Identity Attitudes Scale (WRIAS). In particular, scholarship within counseling and related disciplines reveals substantial psychometric concerns with the WRIAS’s Contact and Autonomy stages (Behrens, 1997; Carter et al., 2004; Hays et al., 2008; Malott et al., 2015). The complex nature of assessing WRI-related behaviors that may run counter to a person’s intentions (Carter et al., 2004; DiAngelo, 2018) needs further study. Additionally, given the concerns with self-report measures due to socially desirable responses, it seems problematic that none of the current quantitative articles used performance measures, which could help to compare self-report with behaviors and client outcomes. Future research can therefore emphasize behavioral assessments and clinical outcomes to correlate findings with WRI models. Third, the use of intervention-based research could explore core components of instruction, awareness, and experience to identify facilitative strategies for enhancing WRI in both counselor trainees and within client populations. Because White people are negatively impacted by racism and restricted racial identity, encouraging growth in WRI in both clinical and educational settings can be a means of promoting wellness for counselors and clients. Thus, research is needed that can carefully examine the complexities of WRI development and address difficulties in assessment due to defensive strategies such as White fragility and lack of insight into the various intra- and interpersonal manifestations of racism. Finally, though the research examined within this analysis advances the application of WRI theory and practices within the counseling profession, opportunities exist for further exploration of WRI development and the intersection with multiple constructs of Whiteness discussed across the helping professions (e.g., White fragility, color-blindness, race essentialism). The articles analyzed for the present study reflect an assumption that more advanced WRI attitudes, lower color-blind attitudes, greater anti-racism attitudes, and greater awareness of White privilege can yield more positive clinical outcomes. However, given some of the aforementioned limitations, this assumption has not been empirically tested in counseling. Because clients’ and counselors’ affective, cognitive, and behavioral responses to Whiteness can affect the counseling relationship, process, and treatment selection and outcomes (Helms, 1984, 2017), it is imperative that this assumption is properly tested. Empirical and conceptual work should therefore further explore Whiteness constructs to elucidate how White attitudes and behaviors at each stage function for self-protection and move toward aspirational goals of anti-racism and ethical and competent clinical application.