Counselor Wellness

Counselor Wellness Behavior and its Effects on Counselor Educator’s Vulnerability to Stress

Abstract

Counselor educators learn about the importance of practicing wellness behavior while in graduate school, but few scholars have investigated empirically the specific impact of counselor educators’ wellness behavior and its effect on counselor educator’s vulnerability to stress. The authors recruited a sample (n = 123) of counselor educators to assess counselor wellness behavior and stress. Results from the present study indicate that participants’ scores on a measure of wellness behavior predicted scores on a measure of vulnerability to stress over and above the effects of sex, age, and years of experience. Implications of this finding and directions for future research are discussed.

Counselor Wellness Behavior and its Effects on Counselor Educator’s Vulnerability to Stress

Wellness behavior is an important topic of concern among persons who desire to live a healthy and productive life. People in today’s society tend to live a fast paced existence that sometimes does not allow a person to practice a healthy lifestyle. Many organizations including schools, hospitals, corporations and universities have begun to see the value of promoting wellness behavior to their employees as a preventative measure rather than an intervention measure (Evers, Prochaska, Johnson, Mauriello, Padula, & Prochaska, 2006). Across the nation, states have become more conscientious of the fact that wellness behavior promotes good health, and lowers health risks. Therefore, states have begun to enact legislation that supports wellness policies in schools and in state agencies by supporting and emphasizing the four pillars of the Healthier-US initiative – physical activity, good diet, healthy choices and preventive screening (Winterfeld, 2007).                                        

Since the year 2000 more than 90% of workplaces with 50 or more employees have formed some type of health promotion program (Haines, Davis, Rancour, Robinson, Neel-Wilson, & Wagner, 2007). This has occurred because employees are requesting disease prevention programs, health education, and screening. Employers are creating prevention strategies such as educational information, making available different types of exercise programs, creating EAP programs that offer employees opportunity for counseling, and sometimes offering money incentives to participants to help the motivational process of engaging in wellness behavior along (Jones, & Emanuel, 1981). Employers and employees are recognizing that wellness behavior has potential cost savings associated with positive health behavior changes which include reduced healthcare rates, reduced number of primary care patient visits, reduced absenteeism owing to illness and increased employee productivity (Haines, Davis, Rancour, Robinson, Neel-Wilson, & Wagner, 2007).

A study conducted by Fourie, Rothmann, & van de Vijver (2008) in South Africa focused on the development of a wellness model for non-professional counselors. The study looked at rates of burnout, job demands, engagement in their job, and the available job resources for counselors. Findings indicated that job demands, lack of job resources, and low work engagement resulted in high rates of burnout, with burnout being a result of high stress levels. The authors of this study recommended to management the need to create a program that would offer preventative measures such as training in stress reduction techniques and learning new coping skills to facilitate management of stressors. These preventative measures all fall under the umbrella of wellness behavior.

Wellness Behavior and Vulnerability to Stress

The World Health Organization definition of wellness includes physical, mental and social well-being (LaFountaine, Neisen, & Parsons, 2006). This is a holistic view of wellness which encompasses many variables that include spirituality and emotional health, as well as physical health and stress management. One of the primary reasons for practicing wellness behavior is the effect that this type of behavior has on lowering stress levels (Tanigoshi, Kontos, & Remley, Jr., 2008). Stress in and of itself is not considered a problem until it becomes distress. Once distress occurs it will interfere in a person’s personal and professional life in several ways: it may affect a person’s productivity level at home and at work and it may affect the ability to enjoy a good night’s sleep (Sadeh, Keinan, & Daon, 2004). Stress of this level may create havoc in the physical (health and environment), emotional, psychological and spiritual domains of human functioning and overall life quality.

A research study conducted by Vischer (2007) on the effects of stress in the work environment indicated how increased worker productivity was related to the reduction of vulnerability to stress through the creation of a comfortable work environment. Lawson and Venart (2005) discuss that by definition all counselors are on the spectrum from well to impaired at any point in time. This statement underscores the need for counselors to be aware of factors that makes them more susceptible to stress and burnout. These characteristics include clients having unsolvable problems that must be solved, counselor’s inability to say no, constant empathy, interpersonal sensitivity and one-way caring, and normative failure. Counselors and Counselor Educators seem to have an unrealistic expectation of self in the work place which may place a high level of stress on an individual’s physical and psychological well being (Hill, 2004). This would seem to indicate the necessity for counseling professionals to seriously look at the effects of stress and the development of prevention and intervention strategies through the implementation of wellness behavior that could diminish the possibility of stress related health issues (Myers & Sweeney, 2008).

In a British longitudinal study conducted by Edwards, Guppy and Cockerton (2007) researchers found that the increase in information communication technology, the globalization of many industries, company restructuring, and changes in job descriptions and work patterns all contributed to the transformation of the nature of work and subsequently to higher levels of vulnerability to stress among persons being affected by these changes. Another factor of the study looked at how work and non-work domains of life are interrelated within the stress process. The sample groups consisted of academic, management, and administrative staff employed at a university in the south of England. Findings from the study indicated that both work and non-work stressors significantly influence the job performance of the staff, including the academic staff. This study offers support for the idea that the changing nature of professional work in a highly saturated and fast-paced communication environment precipitate stress among academics.

Studies have investigated levels of stress in law enforcement with findings indicating that this profession experiences critical incident stress at least once during their professional service. Tanigoshi, Kontos, and Remley (2008) conducted a study on the effects of individual wellness counseling with law enforcement officers. The study indicated a significant difference between pretest and posttest mean total wellness scores for the participants who received wellness counseling, indicating that a focus on wellness behavior seems to be beneficial in lower stress vulnerability for the persons engaging in this type of behavior.

Counselor Educators are part of profession that is becoming increasingly more stressful (Abouserie, 1996). The pressures of time, excessive workload, and a sense of enormous responsibility are only some of the factors contributing to counselor educator stress. Counselor Educators in private practice, Community agency, setting, or academic settings find themselves struggling to juggle many responsibilities at any given time. This creates an environment that could easily cause, precipitate, or maintain increased vulnerability to stress and stress related symptoms (Layne, C. M., Hohenshil, T. H., & Singh, K., 2004).

Counselor Educators find themselves juggling several roles: colleague, committee member, community activist, student mentor, student advisor, writer, researcher, conference presenter and attendee, advocate for counselors, counseling education and counseling organizations and role model for counseling students (Hill, N.R., Leinbaugh, T., Bradley, C., & Hazler, R., 2005). These multiple role expectations and responsibilities for Counselor Educators can be conflicting, and the process of sustaining commitment to the multiple responsibilities and roles is sometime arduous (Niles, S. G., Akos, P., & Cutler, H., 2001). Counselor Educators find themselves with limited time to teach, to advise, to publish, engage in university service and engage in community service. Aside from those responsibilities Counselor Educators are also called to embrace their professional identity, promote professional growth for them self and for the counseling profession, and strive to create a life outside of academia (Magnuson, S., Black, L. L., & Lahman, M. K. E., 2006) Part of a Counselor Educator’s professional identity includes joining counseling organizations and participating in the counseling organizations by holding office or volunteering in some capacity. Professional growth of a Counselor Educator includes submission of proposals and presentations at conferences, developing workshops, and obtaining continuing education hours. Along with these activities the perceived pressure on Counselor Educators to continuously role model professional identity and growth to students in counseling programs may have a deleterious effect (Niles, S. G., Akos, P., & Cutler, H., 2001).

Academia is recognizing the need for prevention programs that focus on wellness behavior. A pilot intervention program to promote walking and wellness among faculty and staff from a western college campus indicated the positive benefits from practicing this type of wellness behavior exercise (Haines, Davis, Rancour, Robinson, Neel-Wilson, & Wagner, 2007). The results indicated that participants improved their blood pressure readings and improved their capacity for walking longer distances. These benefits may continue to promote a wellness process for healthy living that touches on ten basic personal health choices which include: exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, abstaining from smoking, abstaining from substance abuse, safe use of alcohol, managing external and external stressors effectively, maintaining one’s immune status at an effective level, and periodic health-risk/wellness status appraisal (Jonas, 2006). Another study conducted among university counselors by Casas, Furlong, and Castillo (1980) focused on stress and burnout encountered by individuals in the helping profession. Some of the symptoms encountered by counselors included physical and emotional exhaustion, loss of self-confidence and loss of a balanced perspective, qualities that are essential in the helping profession. As levels of stress increase among helping professionals, the ability to maintain the caring and the commitment that initially brought them into the profession may become compromised.

More and more the goal within the professional world, including the counseling profession, is becoming one of prevention rather than intervention when it comes to promoting and managing personal health and lowering the levels of stress that may contribute to stress related illnesses (LaFountaine, Neisen, & Parsons, 2006). Counselor educators who do not practice wellness behavior may find themselves facing increased levels of stress that may lead to bouts of depression, anxiety, and burnout (Hill, 2004). It behooves the counselor educator to examine his or her efficacy of lifestyle in regards to wellness behavior (Masley, Weaver, & Phillips, 2008). Making changes or modifications in the counselor educator’s lifestyle to include wellness behavior may help lessen vulnerability to stress and improve the overall mental health of counselor education.

Purpose of the Study

Counselor educators have the responsibility of teaching graduate counseling students the necessary skills and techniques to become counseling professionals. One part of that responsibility is to promote counselor wellness by teaching the value of wellness behavior. Counselor Educators’ have many responsibilities in the academic and professional counseling world such as preparing coursework, research, publishing, advising, committee work, workshops, conferences and sometimes private practice. The practice of wellness behavior would seem a necessary activity to help diminish stress levels that are created by the plethora of work responsibilities that a counselor educator faces.  A survey was conducted to see if counselor educators engage in wellness behavior, and to test the research hypothesis that counselor educators’ level of wellness behavior would predict counselor educators’ vulnerability to stress over and above the effects of sex, age, and years of counselor educator experience at a = .05.

Method

Participants

The participants of the study were counselor educators that subscribed to a listserv. A total of 184 counselor educators began the survey with 123 counselor educators completing the majority of the survey. Only participants that fully completed the instruments measuring the variables of interest were included in the final analysis. Participants were asked to indicate their biological sex, and of those completing the survey 32 (26%) indicated their sex as male and 91 (74%) indicated their sex as female. Of those completing the survey, 20 (16.2%) participants indicated their age as between 25 to 34 years of age, 29 (23.6%) between 35 to 44 years of age,  41 (33.3%) between 45 to 54 years of age, and 29 (23.6%) indicated that their age was over 55 years of age.

In terms of primary place of employment, 114 (92.68%) indicated they worked as counselor educators in a college or university setting, 6 (4.87%) indicated they worked in private practice, and 3 (2.4%) did not respond to this question. Of the participants, 48 (39%) indicated they had a secondary place of employment, with 31 (25.2%) working at a private practice, 8 (6.5%) working at a community mental health agency, and 11 (8.9%) indicating work as a consultant. 

Participants were asked to indicate how many years that they have worked as a counselor educator by range. The breakdown in terms of participants’ years of experience as a counselor educator by range is as follows: 57 (46.3%) between 1 and 4 years of experience, 21 (17.1%) between 5 and 9 years of experience, 22 (17.9%) between 10 and 14 years of experience, 17 (13.8%) having over 15 years of experience, and 6 (4.9%) not responding to the question.

Finally, participants were asked to indicate what type of licenses or certifications they held as counselors. Out of the total, 31 (25.2%) indicated holding an LPC credential only, 23 (18.7%) indicated holding the NCC credential only, 46 (37.4%) indicated holding both the NCC and LPC credentials, and 15 (12.2%) indicated holding the NCC and some other credential (e.g., School Counselor). Out of the remaining participants, 6 (4.9%) indicated they held no counseling credentials beyond their degrees, 9 (7.3%) indicated they held some other type of credential, and 5 (4.1%) did not respond to this question.

Instrumentation

In order to test the hypothesis that counselor educators’ wellness behavior would predict vulnerability to stress over and above the effects of sex, gender, and years of counselor education experience at the .05 level, respondents were asked to complete two scales of self care. The self care assessment used to assess counselor wellness behavior was developed by Kay Saakvitne and Laurie Pearlman and can be found in Transforming the Pain: A Workbook on Vicarious Traumatization, published by W. W. Norton and Co. in 1996. This self care assessment provides an overview of effective strategies to maintain self care for counselors. The self care worksheet had 70 statements used to assess wellness behavior and used a likert scale which rated the areas in terms of frequency: 5 = frequently, 4 = occasionally, 3 = rarely, 2 = never, and 1 = it never occurred to me.  The wellness behavior worksheet has 6 areas that are assessed: physical self care which had 15 statements and were numbered 1 – 15, psychological self care which had 13 statements and were numbered 16-28, emotional self care which had 11 statements and were numbered 29-39, spiritual self care which had 17 statements and were numbered 40-56, workplace or professional self care which had 12 statements and were numbered 57-68, and overall balance which had 2 statements and were numbered 69-70. For the purpose of this research the researchers numbered the statements 1 through 70. For the purpose of this research the worksheet was modified to include only the area of: physical self care, psychological self care and emotional self care. The area of spiritual self care, work place or professional self care, and balance were eliminated because the statements were found to be redundant or extremely personal.  In the area of physical self care statement numbers 9, 11, and 15 were eliminated, in the area of psychological self care statement numbers 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, and 28 were eliminated and in the area of emotional self care statement numbers 32, 33, and 39 were eliminated. The statements were eliminated because of the extreme personal nature of the statements. The Cronbach a for the 26 items used for the sample in the present study is .738.

The second self care assessment used for this research to assess vulnerability to stress was developed by two psychologists: Lyle H. Miller and Alma Dell Smith at Boston University Medical Center called the Miller & Smith Vulnerability Scale. This self care assessment consists of 20 statements. The statements are scored by a Likert scale that is rated as follows: 1 = always, 2 = once in a while, 3 = often, 4 = rarely, and 5 = never. Any number over 50 indicates vulnerability to stress; any number between 70 and 95 indicates serious vulnerability to stress and any number over 95 indicates extreme vulnerability to stress. All 20 statements were used in this assessment. The Cronbach a for the scale with the present sample is .480.

A hierarchical multiple regression was conducted in order to test the research hypothesis of the present study, that participants scores on a measure of wellness behavior would significantly predict participants scores on a measure of vulnerability to stress over and above the effects of sex, age, and years of experience as a counselor educator at the .05 level. Continuous data were screened and determined to be within tolerable limits of linearity, normality, multicollinearity, and homoscedasticity.

Coding

Participants were asked to indicate their ages and years of experience as a counselor educator by range categories, so these variables were dummy coded to permit their inclusion into the regression analysis. The implied value dummy coding scheme (O’Grady & Medoff, 1988) was used where only K -1 dummy variables were needed for each re-coded variable. Using implied value dummy coding to represent categorical variables in a regression analysis requires that one of the categories be coded as a null value constant (i.e., ‘0’) (O’Grady & Medoff) otherwise the regression equation would collapse and all variables would be perfectly multi-collinear (Tabachnik, & Fidell, 2004).

The variable Age1 represents the effect of participants’ indicating their age as between 25-34 compared to all other groups, Age2 participants’ indicating their age as between 35-44 compared to all other groups, and Age3 represents participants’ indicating their age as between 45-54 compared to all other groups. The effect of participants’ indicating their age as 55 years old or older is implied within the coding for Age1, Age2, and Age3 by a 0 in all 3 dummy variable columns representing that participants did not indicate that they belonged in the first 3 age groups. Therefore the fourth age group was represented in the regression equation as a null value constant (i.e., Not Age 1, Age2 or Age3). Similarly Years of Counselor Education Experience by Range was re-coded into Experience1, Experience2, and Experience3 (with the fourth group being represented as a null value constant). The effect of participants’ indicating their years of experience as between 1-4 years is represented by Experience1, participants’ indicating their years of experience as between 5-9 years by Experience2, and participants’ indicating their years of experience as between 10-14 years by Experience3. Again, the effect of the fourth category of experience of 15 or more years is implied in the coding of Experience1, Experience2, and Experience3.

In keeping with the premise of entering variables by causal priority (Petrocelli, 2003), sex was entered in the first block, age entered in the second block, years of counselor educator experience entered in the third block, and participants’ scores on a measure of wellness behavior entered in the final block as the predictor of interest. The criterion variable was participants’ scores on a measure of vulnerability, with higher scores indicating less vulnerability to stress.

Results

Correlations

The authors created a correlation matrix to determine the nature and strength of the relationships between the variables of interest to this study, and these relationships are presented in Table 1. As was expected, participants’ scores on Wellness Behavior (WB) were moderately correlated to scores on the Miller & Smith Vulnerability Scale (VS) (Miller & Smith, 1993), = .46 (p = .01). As items on the VS are scored so that higher scores indicated lower vulnerability to stress, this relationship signifies that participants who self-rated as having higher levels of wellness behavior also self-rated as having lower vulnerability to stress.

Table 1

Inter-correlations for research variables in participant sample (n = 123)

Variable                             1           2             3              4              5              6           7          8            9

 

1. Sex                                 -        .06           .07          -.09           .08          -.02     -.06     -.02         .16

 

2.  Age1                                           -         -.26**      -.33**       .39**      -.14     -.21*   -.27*       .1

 

3.  Age2                                                       -               -.41**    -.19*       .04        -.07      -.14       .03                                        

4.  Age3                                                                     -                -.07         .22*      -.03       .04       .02

 

5.  Experience1                                                                         -               -.46**    -.47**  -.29**  -.02                                                                                    

6.  Experience2                                                                                        -             -.23*     .08         -.10                                                         

7.  Experience3                                                                                                       -            .12         -.04                                                                                                                            

8. WB                                                                                                                                  -              .46**

                                                                                                               

9. VS                                                                                                                                                           - 

WB = Wellness Behavior (Saakvitne & Pearlman, 1996), VS = Miller & Smith Vulnerability Scale (Miller & Smith, 1993).

*< .05, **< .01

The dummy coded variable Age1 (representing those participants who indicated that their age range is between 25 to 34 years) was negatively correlated to WB scores, r = -.27 (p = .05). This suggests that participants’ who indicated their age range as between 25-34 years old had significantly lower WB scores compared to all other participants. Similarly, the dummy coded variable Experience1 was negatively correlated to WB scores, r = -.29 (p = .05). This suggests that participants’ who indicated that they had between 1 and 5 years of counselor education experience had significantly lower WB scores when compared to all other participants.

Regression

As indicated previously, a hierarchical multiple regression analysis was performed to test the research hypothesis for this study. Several variables (aside from the predictor of interest) contributed to the prediction of participants’ VS scores. In the full model, sex, participants’ indication that their age fell either in the range of 35 to 44 or 45 to 54, and participants’ indication that their years of counselor education experience fell in the range of 5 to 9 or 10 to 15 year were all shown to significantly predict participants’ VS scores at the .05 level.

For the predictor of interest, participants’ scores on a measure of wellness behavior (M =  54.17, SD = 9.63) were found to significantly predict scores on a measure of vulnerability to stress (M = 58.31, SD = 8.59) over and above the effects of sex, age, and years of counselor educator experience at the .0001 level, R2 = .299, DR= .214, DF(1, 108) = 32.93, p=.0001. Based on this finding the authors decided to reject the null hypothesis and accept the research hypothesis. Participants’ scores on a measure of wellness behavior, judging by the beta coefficient (b), appear to be a robust predictor of participants’ scores on a measure of vulnerability to stress. A summary of results for the hierarchical multiple regression analysis is presented in Table 2.

Table 2

Summary of hierarchical multiple regression predicting Vulnerability to Stress from Wellness Behavior over and above Sex (Male/Female), Age Range, and Years of Counselor Education Experience.

Variables by Model                     B                         SE B                    b

Model 1

Male/Female                      3.50                    1.72                    .187*

Model 2

Male/Female                      3.55                    1.75                    .190*

Age1                                -1.30                    2.49                   -.057

Age2                                -0.21                    2.18                   -.011

Age3                                -.017                    2.01                     .000

 

Model 3

Male/Female                      3.62                     1.73                     .193*

Age1                                  1.45                     3.11                     .063

Age2                                  2.67                     2.66                     .139

Age3                                  2.43                     2.35                     .140

Experience1                      -5.56                    2.88                   -.034

Experience2                      -7.08                    3.08                   -.329*

Experience3                      -4.81                    2.72                   -.227

 

Model 4

Male/Female                      3.37                     1.52                     .180*

Age1                                  5.52                     2.83                     .241

Age2                                  5.82                     2.41                     .304*

Age3                                  4.50                     2.10                     .260*

Experience1                      -4.97                     2.54                    -.301

Experience2                      -7.82                     2.71                    -.363**

Experience3                      -4.82                     2.40                    -.228*

WB                                    0.43                      .075                     .502***

Note. R2 = .035 for Model 1 (ps < .05); DR2 = .003 for Model 2; DR2 = .047 for Model 3; DR2 = 2.14 for Model 4 (ps < .001).

*p < .05, **p < .01, ***p <.001

 

Discussion

Wellness Behavior

The main finding of the present study demonstrates that the practice of wellness behavior was a significant and robust predictor of vulnerability to stress for a sample of counselor educators over and above the effects of sex, age, and years of counselor education experience. Counselor educators in training are encouraged to look at personal and professional growth which includes counselor wellness (Carlson, Portman, & Bartlett, 2006). This training includes review of current knowledge related to optimal functioning in mental-emotional, occupational, relational, and physical health. Participants’ in the present study that indicated they performed more wellness behaviors had significantly lower vulnerability to stress. One implication from this finding is that education and mentorship on the importance of wellness behavior is important regardless of whether or not a counselor educator is male or female, beginning or maintaining a career, and across age ranges.

Though likely to have been exposed to the importance of wellness during their training, counselor educators may need to be reminded and encouraged to apply knowledge of wellness to their personal and professional lives. For example, faculty members sometimes find themselves working in isolation from their colleagues either by geography or schedule. It may be beneficial to create a network of colleagues who agree to call once a week to touch base with each other and discuss areas of concern. This activity may be helpful for the professional to refocus on priorities and move toward realistic expectations.

Other variables

In the full regression model, Sex (Male/Female) did contribute significantly to the prediction of vulnerability to stress, and had the second highest beta weight of all included variables (See Table 2). According to the coding used for the participant sample, female counselor educators had lower vulnerability to stress than their male counterparts. Indicating that your age was between 35 to 44 or between 45 to 54 years old were both significant predictors of vulnerability to stress. Participants’ who self-selected into these groups had lower vulnerability to stress than other groups. Conversely, in the regression model indicating that you had between 5 to 9 or 10 to 15 years of experience indicated higher vulnerability to stress. This finding from the regression model contradicts what we would expect given the correlation between having fewer years of experience and higher vulnerability to stress. This may indicate that younger counselor educators enter academia at a time when career responsibilities and the need to travel up the career ladder outweigh the perceived importance of engaging in wellness behavior  (O’Halloran & Linton, 2000).

Counselor educators in the middle of their careers may find the demands on their time increasing to the detriment of their practice of wellness behavior. Encouraging dialogue on current wellness behaviors between younger and older counselor educators and between counselor educators at all career stages could augment faculty members’ abilities to cope with the vast responsibilities facing someone who is entering or practicing counselor education. Counselor educators might benefit from specific workshops that focus mainly on counselor wellness for self, rather than learning strategies to teach their students or client’s wellness behavior.

The correlations and beta weights for the variables representing, sex, age, and years of experience, though statistically significant, are in the low range for the present sample (See Table 2). Further study is needed on the relationship between sex, career stage, developmental life stage, and the practice of wellness behavior by counselor educators. As noted in the literature review the counseling profession is one that can be stressful. It is important for the counseling profession, both counselors and counselor educators, to maintain a conscious awareness of the need to engage in wellness behavior as an aspect of overall self care (O’Halloran & Linton, 2000).

Limitations

The main limitation of the present study is the possibility that the findings are sample dependent. The people that chose to participate may share similar special characteristics undetected by the authors that may limit our ability to generalize to other groups. For example, part of the data set was collected during a time when counselor educators were on a university break. Counselor educators who did not check e-mail during their breaks from work likely did not avail themselves of the study. The moderate Cronbach a for participants’ VS scores also implies that the main finding could be specific to the present sample.

Another limitation involves the definition of variables, particularly that of wellness behavior. The wellness behavior list was not exhaustive and counselor educators might have other wellness behavior that they engage in which were not available for them to choose. One aspect of wellness behavior is the impact of spirituality in the lives of people. Wellness behaviors grounded in spiritual practices were not the main focus of the survey. The inclusion of a more complete list of spiritual practices and other wellness behaviors might have had a different impact on the results.

Directions for future research

According to the data there was an indication that younger counselor educators or counselor educators in the middle ranges of experience are less inclined to engage in wellness behavior, increasing their vulnerability to stress. As indicated in the results section, further research and scholarship is needed to more closely examine the effects of biological sex, age, and years of counselor educator experience on a wider variety of described wellness behaviors and on vulnerability to stress. Including ethno-race as a predictor of interest is also warranted in future research to increase generalizibility across counselor educator groups. Qualitative methodologies could be employed to investigate how counselor educators construct wellness or stress in their daily lives, or to identify critical incidents in the development or practice of meaningful wellness behaviors. Lastly, the specific effects of increased attention to education and mentorship on wellness behavior could also be assessed in future research.

 Conclusion

All people, at one time or another, are susceptible to stress. Counselors and counselor educators are no exception. Although counseling training programs touch on the topic of practicing wellness behavior it would seem that increased attention to demonstration and application is necessary once counseling professionals leave graduate school and enter the world of work. The responsibilities of developing a career, building up a clientele, working toward tenure, publishing, teaching, and doing service work may take precedence over practicing wellness behavior (Leinbaugh, Hazler, Bradley, & Hill, 2003). Some of the reasons for this lack of engaging in wellness behavior may be the belief that there is not enough time to schedule wellness behavior or the belief that wellness behavior is being practiced (denial). Professional counseling and counselor education are exciting and rewarding fields. However, the responsibilities that go along with being in the counseling profession may lead to stress and stress related problems. Engaging in wellness behavior on an ongoing basis will, in the long run, help the counselor and counselor educator to maintain balance and energy for developing and maintaining meaningful and satisfying careers.

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