This lead article introduces a special issue of The Professional Counselor designed to inform and support faculty, staff, and administrative efforts in starting or revitalizing doctoral degree programs in counselor education and supervision. We review the 14 studies that make up this issue and summarize their key findings. Seven key themes emerged for faculty and staff to consider during program development: (a) the current state of research, (b) doctoral program demographics and distribution, (c) defining quality, (d) mentoring and gatekeeping, (e) increasing diversity, (f) supporting dissertation success, and (g) gaining university administrator support. We recognize the vital contribution of these articles to doctoral counselor education and supervision program development while also highlighting future directions for research emerging from this collection.
The aim of this study was to develop an understanding of the research scholarship focused on doctoral-level counselor education. Using the 2016 Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) doctoral standards as a frame to understand coverage of the research, we employed a scoping review methodology across four databases: ERIC, GaleOneFile, PsycINFO, and PubMed. Research between 2005 and 2019 was examined which resulted in identification of 39 articles covering at least one of the 2016 CACREP doctoral core areas. Implications for counseling researchers and counselor educators are discussed. This scoping research demonstrates the limited corpus of research on doctoral-level counselor education and highlights the need for future, organized scholarship.
The hiring of new faculty members in counselor education programs can be complicated by the available pool of qualified graduates with doctoral degrees in counselor education and supervision, as required by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) for core faculty status. A pipeline problem for faculty hiring may exist in regions with fewer doctoral programs. In this study, the researchers examined whether the number of doctoral programs accredited by CACREP is regionally imbalanced. The researchers used an ex post facto study to analyze differences in the number of doctoral programs among the five regions commonly defined by national counselor education associations and organizations. A large and significant difference was found in the number of CACREP-accredited doctoral programs by region, even when population size was statistically controlled. The Western region had by far the fewest number of doctoral programs. The number of CACREP-accredited master’s programs in a state was a large and significant predictor for the number of CACREP-accredited doctoral programs in a state. State population size, state population density, the number of universities per state, and the number of American Psychological Association–accredited counseling psychology programs were not predictors. Demand may surpass supply of doctoral counselor educators in certain regions, resulting in difficulties with hiring new faculty for some CACREP-accredited programs. An analysis of programs currently in the process of applying for CACREP accreditation suggests that this pipeline problem looks likely to continue or even worsen in the near future. Implications for counselor education and supervision are discussed.
The doctoral degree in counselor education and supervision is increasingly sought after by students, with the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) reporting a 27% enrollment increase in just a 4-year span. As new programs are started and existing programs sustained, administrators and faculty may be seeking guidance in how to build a high-quality program. Yet no literature currently exists for how doctoral counseling faculty define a high-quality program. This study used a basic qualitative research design to examine faculty perceptions of high-quality doctoral programs (N = 15). The authors analyzed data from in-depth interviews with core faculty members at CACREP-accredited doctoral programs. Five themes emerged from the data: relationships, mission alignment, development of a counselor educator identity, inclusiveness of diversity, and Carnegie classification. The findings of this study can be important for faculty and administrators to consider when establishing and maintaining a counselor education and supervision doctoral program.
Many counselor education and supervision (CES) doctoral programs offer doctoral-level teaching instruction courses as part of their curriculum to help prepare students for future teaching roles, yet little is known about the essential design, delivery, and evaluation components of these courses. Accordingly, the authors investigated instructor and student views on the essential design, delivery, and evaluation components of a doctoral counselor education teaching instruction (CETI) course using Q methodology. Eight first-year CES doctoral students and the course instructor from a large Midwestern university completed Q-sorts, which were factor analyzed. Three factors were revealed, which were named The Course Designer, The Future Educator, and The Empathic Instructor. The authors gathered post–Q-sort qualitative data from participants using a semi-structured questionnaire, and the results from the questionnaires were incorporated into the factor interpretations. Implications for incorporating the findings into CES pedagogy and for designing, delivering, and evaluating CETI courses are presented. Limitations and future research suggestions for CETI course design and delivery are discussed.
We present a grounded theory based on interviews with 11 counselor education doctoral students (CEDS) regarding their research identity development. Findings reflect the process-oriented nature of research identity development and the influence of program design, research content knowledge, experiential learning, and self-efficacy on this process. Based on our findings, we emphasize the importance of mentorship and faculty conducting their own research as a way to model the research process. Additionally, our theory points to the need for increased funding for CEDS in order for them to be immersed in the experiential learning process and research courses being tailored to include topics specific to counselor education.
We examined the publication trends of faculty in 396 CACREP-accredited counselor education and supervision (CES) programs based on Carnegie classification by exploring 5,250 publications over the last decade in 21 American Counseling Association and American Counseling Association division journals. Using Bayesian statistics, this study expounded upon existing literature and differences that exist between institution classifications and total publications. The results of this study can be used to inform the training and preparation of doctoral students in CES programs through a Happenstance Learning Theory framework, specifically regarding their role as scholars and researchers. We present implications and argue for the importance of programs and faculty providing research experience for doctoral students in order to promote career success and satisfaction.
Relational cultural theory emerged in the 1970s as a reaction to the dominant view of women in psychology and continues to challenge societal values while promoting social justice. Key tenets of relational cultural theory are to promote growth-fostering relationships and move toward connection. These may be applied in a variety of contexts within higher education. This conceptual manuscript provides an overview of advising relationships, particularly within counselor education. A thorough review of relational cultural theory and its potential utility in advising is presented. Then a case conceptualization is provided to illustrate how faculty advisors can enhance their advising practices and better address interpersonal dynamics within the advising relationship. Implications for using this framework in multiple higher education settings are discussed.
When the pursuit of doctoral studies and motherhood intersect, the risk of attrition increases. Although other studies have explored the challenges of student mothers in academia, this study looked at how mentorship might mediate them. This phenomenological study examined the mentoring experiences of doctoral student mothers or recent graduates in counselor education and supervision programs (N = 12). Unanimously, participants articulated that their professional identity was enhanced by their identity as mothers, but balancing multiple roles required supportive mentors. Participants described the personal qualities of effective faculty and peer mentors, many also mothers who understood their needs. Mentoring served as a protective factor in helping navigate barriers, providing academic and emotional encouragement, reducing isolation, and creating realistic timelines. Suggestions for mentoring programs and advocacy are discussed.
Emotionally intense gatekeeping experiences can require counselor educators to engage in a complicated, time- and energy-consuming, and draining series of events that can last years and involve legal proceedings. Research related to counselor educators’ experiences of intense emotions while gatekeeping remains limited. The aim of this transcendental phenomenological study was to investigate counselor educators’ (N = 11) emotionally intense gatekeeping experiences. Five themes emerged from the data: early warning signs, elevated student misconduct, dismissal, legal interactions, and change from experience. By being transparent about their feelings and challenges regarding emotionally intense gatekeeping experiences, counselor educators may compel other faculty, counselors in the field, and doctoral students to be better prepared for emotional gatekeeping experiences.
In addition to developing teaching, clinical supervision, and research skills, new entrants into the counselor education workplace will also face the challenging responsibility of gatekeeping. Gatekeeping can be both anxiety-provoking and time-intensive for new faculty members. To enhance the confidence and competence of new entrants into counselor education faculty positions, strong doctoral preparation in gatekeeping is critical. In this article, the authors describe a developmental experiential model to infuse gatekeeping instruction into counselor education and supervision doctoral courses. The model includes six experiential gatekeeping modules designed for instruction at three developmental levels. A phenomenological qualitative study of the model was conducted, leading to the discovery of four themes: importance of gatekeeping, behind the curtain, understandings vary by developmental level, and uneven responses to experiential learning. Developmental, pedagogical, and administrative implications for counselor educators are discussed.
Few models exist that inform how counselor education programs proactively address the gap between diverse student needs and effective support. In this study, we utilized grounded theory qualitative research to gain a better understanding of how 15 faculty members in doctoral counselor education and supervision programs reported that their departments responded to the need for recruiting, retaining, and supporting doctoral students from underrepresented racial minority backgrounds. We also explored participants’ reported successes with these strategies. A framework emerged to explain the strategies that counselor education departments have implemented in recruiting, supporting, and retaining students from underrepresented racial minority backgrounds. The main categories identified were: (a) institutional and program characteristics, (b) recruitment strategies, and (c) support and retention strategies. The latter two main categories both had the same two subcategories, namely awareness and understanding, and proactive and intentional efforts. The latter subcategory had three subthemes of connecting to cultural identity, providing personalized support, and faculty involvement.
In 2012, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded funding for the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) to be managed by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Foundation. The MFP aims to increase representation of minoritized students enrolled in counselor education and supervision doctoral programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). From 2012 to 2018, the NBCC MFP has disseminated 20–24 monetary fellowships each year. This article reviews representation within counselor education, offers a history of the MFP, provides doctoral fellowship recipient outcome data, and concludes with implications for counselor education.
This research was conducted as part of a larger qualitative study that involved the collection and analysis of in-depth interviews with 15 counselor educators at counselor education and supervision doctoral programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The participants were asked to identify strategies used to help students navigate the dissertation process and if the strategies were successful. Structural and relational strategies were identified as significant to the successful completion of the dissertation process. Although additional research is necessary to determine if the strategies are successful for faculty and students in other counselor education and supervision doctoral programs, we identified five themes that support the completion of the dissertation process: (a) mechanics of the program, (b) supportive environment, (c) selecting and working with committee members, (d) intentionality in developing a scholar identity, and (e) accountability.
Initiating and sustaining a counselor education and supervision doctoral program requires navigating institutions of higher education, which are complex systems. Using qualitative analysis, we explored 15 counselor educators’ experiences collaborating with university administrators to gain support for beginning and sustaining counselor education and supervision doctoral programs. Results indicate the need to understand political elements, economical aspects, and the identity of the proposed program. Limitations and areas for future research are presented.