For the Winter 2013 edition of Professional Issues in Counseling, we are very pleased to feature seven articles covering an array of topics, including group counseling, play therapy, and multicultural competency in counseling development. As always, we truly appreciate the opportunity to publish works produced by these authors. We also want to extend our sincere gratitude to our featured authors, as well as all of those authors who submitted manuscripts, for their patience as we worked through our editorial transition. We also want to thank our panel of reviewers for generously giving their time and expertise to help us select and edit the enlightening manuscripts featured in this edition. As part of the New Year, we are committing to publishing at least two editions of PIiC each year to highlight issues most relevant and important for counselors working in all types of settings. We look forward to bringing you future editions of Professional Issues in Counseling!




J.  Yasmine Butler, PhD, LPC

Jeffrey M. Sullivan, Ph.D., LPCS, RPT



Professional Issues in Counseling





Winter 2013


One Counselor-Trainee’s Journey Toward Multicultural Counseling Competence:
The Role of Mentoring in Executing Intentional Cultural Immersion

The pdf file

Laura Shannonhouse
University of Maine

Cirecie West-Olatunji
University of Cincinnati


Laura Shannonhouse, Department of Teacher and Counselor Education,
University of Maine.
Dr. Cirecie West-Olatunji, School of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services,
University of Cincinnati.



Though multicultural counseling training is required in counselor education, research suggests
that beginning counselors continue to feel underprepared and are found to be ineffective in work
with diverse populations. One often-employed training strategy is that of the multicultural
immersion experience (MIE). After a brief review of themes and trends regarding the use of
MIEs in the multicultural counseling competence (MCC) literature, the authors present a case
study, the personal narrative of one graduate counseling student as she reflects upon her MIE to
South Africa and Botswana. This reflection is considered in the developmental context of
enhancing MCC, with a focus on how mentorship during the immersion fostered that growth.
Recommendations for impactful cultural immersion in counselor training are provided along
with thoughts on future research.


      Keywords: multicultural counseling competence, multicultural training, cultural immersion, mentorship






A Systemic Approach to Program Evaluation and Student Learning Outcomes in Counselor Education


The pdf file


Leila F. Roach, Brigid M. Noonan, & Sara Meghan Walter
Stetson University



Leila F. Roach, Department of Counselor Education, Stetson University
Brigid M. Noonan, Department of Counselor Education, Stetson University
Sara Meghan Walter, Department of Counselor Education, Stetson University



The purpose of this article is to describe the role of program evaluation in counselor preparation,
with special attention to student learning outcomes and Council for Accreditation of Counseling
and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) standards. A systemic approach to continuous
evaluation and student learning outcomes implemented by one counselor education program at a
private university in the Southeastern United States will be presented. Additionally, a case
example to illustrate the process of assessment for a student from admission to graduation will be
offered, as well as a discussion of the benefits and challenges to the implementation of the
assessment program.

Keywords: counselor education, assessment, program evaluation, learning outcomes





Conceptualized Heterosexual Theory and Identity Development


The pdf file


Breyan N. Haizlip
Georgia Southern University

Scott Schaefle
University of Colorado Denver

Danica Hays
Old Dominion University

Jennifer Cates
Regis University



Breyan N. Haizlip, Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development
Georgia Southern University




Through the use of consensual qualitative research and interpretative phenomenology, the
present study examined how 50 heterosexually identified counselors-trainees conceptualized
their sexual identity development. The results provide support for Conceptualized Heterosexual
Theory, which indicates that how heterosexual counselors conceptualize their sexual identity is
related to four developmental dimensions: inherent orientation responses, pre-conceptualized
heterosexuality, heterosexual identity development, and identification, directed towards 3 distinct
identities: interdependent heterosexuality, independent heterosexuality, and unresolved
heterosexuality. Implications for counselor education and future research are discussed.


Keywords: heterosexuality, heterosexual identity development,
sexual identity development, consensual qualitative research




Cultivating a Healing Environment in Play Therapy Using Neurobiologically Informed Interventions:
Two Case Studies


The pdf file


Jennifer Boswell
University of Houston - Victoria

Yvonne Garza, Jeffrey M. Sullivan, & Ian Lertora
Sam Houston State University


Jennifer Boswell, School of Education and Human Development,
University of Houston- Victoria.

Yvonne Garza, Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling
Jeffrey M. Sullivan, Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling
Ian Lertora, Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling

Sam Houston State University


In this article, the authors present a treatment protocol that utilizes both traditional child-centered
play therapy as well as neurobiologically informed activities. Some researchers in neuroscience
posit that trauma therapy should functionally target enhancing brain development at the region of
the brain where development was arrested at the time of the trauma. An examination of two case
studies is presented using both outcome and process data. Additionally, the clinicians’
perspective of the treatment is discussed.

Keywords: case study, neurobiology, play therapy, trauma


Counseling Masters Students’ Personal Growth Group Experience

The pdf file

Cheryl Neale-McFall
West Chester University

Rebekah Byrd
East Tennessee State University


Cheryl Neale-McFall, Counselor Education Department, West Chester University
Rebekah Byrd, East Tennessee State University, Department of Human Development and



Participating in and experiencing a counseling growth group is a process that is required in all
CACREP-accredited counseling programs. Existent literature suggests that multiple variables
may impact participants’ learning in growth groups, and call into question the effectiveness of
such groups. Overall, the majority of the research (Barnette, 1989; Hogg & Deffenbacher, 1988;
Yalom & Leszcz, 2005) implies that growth groups have the potential to produce meaningful and
positive outcomes; however, there are gaps in the literature that do not address the direct
experiences of individuals in growth group (Berman & Zimpfer, 1980; Goodrich, 2008). This
article presents research that utilized phenomenological methodology to explore the experiences
of 13 counseling maters’ students who participated in a growth group as part of their degree
requirements. Data were collected through individual interviews and focus groups. Eight
themes emerged from the analysis in regard to group process and setting. Awareness gained by
participants relevant to the perceived purpose of the group, as well as qualities of effective group
leadership, was also examined.

Keywords: group counseling, qualitative analysis, phenomenological


Perceptions of Critical Thinking: Seeking Instructional Strategies in the Development of Critical Thinking Skills

The pdf file

Kelli Saginak, Thomas Scofield, Alan Saginak, and Renae Reljic
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Amanda Foege
Pitosi School District


Kelli Saginak, Department of Professional Counseling, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Thomas Scofield, Department of Professional Counseling, University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh

Alan Saginak, Department of Professional Counseling, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Renae Rejic, Department of Professional Counseling, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Amanda Foege, Pitosi School District



Critical thinking is the goal of post secondary and graduate education with the focus on
producing independent professionals. However, research has indicated that while critical
thinking is the goal, pedagogy has not adjusted to meet the objective. There has been very little
research done exploring pedagogy in relation to critical thought with graduate students, and more
specifically, counseling students. In this study, six faculty members and thirty-six students
provided written interview responses regarding personal definitions of critical thought, and
instructional methods that would teach critical thinking. These responses were examined for
themes. Both faculty and students believed critical thinking to be essential to professional
counseling practice and felt that students needed to be supported and challenged to develop as
critical thinkers. Themes and subthemes are discussed in detail in this article.


Keywords: counselor education, critical thinking, pedagogy, qualitative, instructional design


Surviving Economic Challenges to a Counselor Education Program:
One Response in Today’s Recession

The pdf file

Joshua M. Gold and David P. Leach
University of South Carolina


Joshua M. Gold Department of Educational Studies, University of South Carolina
David P. Leach, Department of Educational Studies, University of South Carolina


This paper introduces the challenge of economic sustainability facing counselor education
programs. A description of one program’s innovative response to this challenge is described, as
well as the financial results and outcomes of an on-line student satisfaction survey with this new
program. The implications of this innovation for the mission of the program and for future
development and study will be offered.

Keywords: innovation, financial sustainability