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Journal of Counseling Psychology - Vol 64, Iss 4



The Journal of Counseling Psychology publishes empirical research in the areas of (a) counseling activities (including assessment, interventions, consultation, supervision, training, prevention, and psychological education), (b) career development and voc



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The scientific future of counseling psychology: Five specific areas of predictions.

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 04:00:00 GMT

To honor the 125th anniversary of the American Psychological Association, the scientific future of counseling psychology is highlighted in this special section. Five areas of research growth are covered: three in psychotherapy (research relative to sexual and gender minorities, the importance of the client perspective, and applications of machine learning), one in the application of the cultural lens approach, and one on aspects of privilege. Each of these areas has specific, testable hypotheses that can serve as stimuli for future research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)



White male power and privilege: The relationship between White supremacy and social class.

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 04:00:00 GMT

Counseling psychologists have studied privilege as an individual behavior, belief, and attitude related to an individual’s privileged identity such as masculinity, Whiteness, or Christianity. Conceptualizing individual privileged identities in this way means that privileged identities may exist alongside marginalized intersectional identities. However, in this article, the author defines privilege as a multi-identity act that is facilitated and supported by institutions and organizations (e.g., banks, law enforcement, and schools). These institutions are defined as power-governors that regulate access to scaffolds of privilege afforded to the affluent and wealthy. The author posits that power-governors were created to support an ideology of White supremacy and to organize actors within the system to perpetuate and legitimize the status quo. The author describes the ways in which White wealthy men use privilege as a means to access and gain power while White men in lower- and working-classes use privilege to build relationships and legitimize inequality. The author also discusses the proxy privilege of White women and people of color and how this privilege is in fact restricted to specific physical spaces and is limited due to their overt marginalized identities. Recommendations for privilege research are provided. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)



The future of counseling psychology research viewed through the cultural lens approach.

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 04:00:00 GMT

In this article, we address the need for the future of counseling psychology research to adequately address issues of relevance and application of our theories across cultural groups. We bring the cultural lens approach (CLA; Hardin, Robitschek, Flores, Navarro, & Ashton, 2014) home to its roots in counseling psychology and address the approach’s application specifically within counseling psychology theory. First we provide a brief description of the CLA. Then we offer an in-depth example of how to apply the CLA to a specific theory, using Super’s (1953, 1957) Life-Span, Life-Space Theory of Career Development, and more specifically, the self-concept as an example. Importantly, we articulate how the CLA yields specific, testable hypotheses, providing multiple examples. We conclude with implications of the CLA for implementation of counseling psychology values, evaluating psychological theory, and research training. Adopting the CLA in future counseling psychology research will increase the cultural sensitivity of our work and widen the relevance and applicability of our findings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)



Client-focused psychotherapy research.

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 04:00:00 GMT

Although the field of professional psychology has definitive evidence that therapy is effective, we do not yet have a good understanding of how therapy works or what makes it so effective. Although hundreds of research studies have been conducted on various aspects of psychotherapy, including client factors and outcome, in the current paper we argue that a key component of the psychotherapy enterprise that warrants additional empirical attention is the client. We readily acknowledge the need for researchers to continue to examine other aspects of psychotherapy, such as therapist factors, the therapy relationship, and the effectiveness of certain therapies or interventions for specific psychological conditions and problems. However, we believe that by pursuing research questions from the perspective of the client that we might be able to better understand clients’ experience in therapy and ways to tailor therapies and interventions to clients, uncover evidence about what actually engages and motivates the client, and gain a broader perspective about the nature of the therapy relationship. In the current paper we highlight fruitful areas for client-focused research, and within each area, we propose research questions that might stimulate further thinking and future empirical inquiries. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)



Improving the lives of sexual and gender minorities: The promise of psychotherapy research.

Thu, 29 Jun 2017 04:00:00 GMT

Current psychotherapy research with sexual and gender minorities (SGMs) is inadequate to address the health disparities in this population. Psychotherapy can benefit from research demonstrating the unique experiences of SGMs with respect to behavioral health, internalized stigma, coping, and resilience. This article describes research approaches, questions, and measurement that can be employed to study psychotherapy. Given the impact of minority stress and microaggressions on SGM individuals, many of the recommendations provided in this article focus on how these components should be infused throughout a diverse range of psychotherapy interventions. Namely, we provide recommendations for researchers focusing on SGM populations in randomized controlled trials and psychotherapy process research. We also provide 7 specific recommendations that focus on psychotherapy research measurement with SGM populations and how researchers can focus their efforts to reduce disparities for SGM individuals. Finally, we identify additional constructs to consider for future intervention research with SGM individuals. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)



Technology-enhanced human interaction in psychotherapy.

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 04:00:00 GMT

Psychotherapy is on the verge of a technology-inspired revolution. The concurrent maturation of communication, signal processing, and machine learning technologies begs an earnest look at how these technologies may be used to improve the quality of psychotherapy. Here, we discuss 3 research domains where technology is likely to have a significant impact: (1) mechanism and process, (2) training and feedback, and (3) technology-mediated treatment modalities. For each domain, we describe current and forthcoming examples of how new technologies may change established applications. Moreover, for each domain we present research questions that touch on theoretical, systemic, and implementation issues. Ultimately, psychotherapy is a decidedly human endeavor, and thus the application of modern technology to therapy must capitalize on—and enhance—our human capacities as counselors, students, and supervisors. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)



Congruence and discrepancy between working alliance and real relationship: Variance decomposition and response surface analyses.

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 04:00:00 GMT

We examined how congruence and discrepancy in clients’ and therapists’ ratings of the working alliance (WA) and real relationship (RR) were related to client-rated session quality (SES; Session Evaluation Scale). Ratings for 2517 sessions of 144 clients and 23 therapists were partitioned into therapist-level, client-level, and session-level components and then analyzed using multilevel, polynomial regression and response surface analysis. For both clients and therapists, at all levels of analysis (except the therapist level for therapist ratings), SES was highest when combined WA and RR ratings were high, and lowest when combined ratings were low. For client ratings, discrepancy between WA and RR, at the client and session levels, was associated with greater session quality. Some clients perceived greater session quality when, across all sessions, WA was stronger than RR and other clients perceived greater session quality when RR was stronger than WA. Within clients, session quality was highest when some sessions had a stronger WA than RR whereas other sessions had a stronger RR than WA. These findings are compatible with a responsiveness framework, therapists varied the balance of WA and RR to suit situational demands or needs of different clients. When therapists rated WA and RR the opposite pattern of results emerged; clients perceived greater session quality when therapists’ WA and RR ratings, for a session were high and consistent (i.e., no discrepancy between WA and RR). In addition, across all sessions, clients perceived greater session quality when WA and RR ratings were high and consistent. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)



Self-reported interpersonal problems and impact messages as perceived by significant others are differentially associated with the process and outcome of depression therapy.

Mon, 08 May 2017 04:00:00 GMT

Interpersonal factors play a major role in causing and maintaining depression. This study sought to investigate how patients’ self-perceived interpersonal problems and impact messages as perceived by significant others are interrelated, change over therapy, and differentially predict process and outcome in psychotherapy of depression. For the present study, we used data from 144 outpatients suffering from major depression that were treated within a psychotherapy study. Interpersonal variables were assessed pre- and posttherapy with the self-report Inventory of Interpersonal Problems–Circumplex Scale (IIP-32; Thomas, Brähler, & Strauss, 2011) and with the informant-based Impact Message Inventory (Caspar, Berger, Fingerle, & Werner, 2016). Patients’ levels on the dimensions of Agency and Communion were calculated from both measures; their levels on Interpersonal Distress were measured with the IIP. Depressive and general symptomatology was assessed at pre-, post-, and at 3-month follow-up; patient-reported process measures were assessed during therapy. The Agency scores of IIP and IMI correlated moderately, but the Communion scores did not. IIP Communion was positively associated with the quality of the early therapeutic alliance and with the average level of cognitive–emotional processing during therapy. Whereas IIP Communion and IMI Agency increased over therapy, IIP Distress decreased. A pre–post-decrease in IIP Distress was positively associated with pre–postsymptomatic change over and above the other interpersonal variables, but pre–post-increase in IMI Agency was positively associated with symptomatic improvement from post- to 3-month follow-up. These findings suggest that significant others seem to provide important additional information about the patients’ interpersonal style. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)



Therapist effects on dropout from a college counseling center practice research network.

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 04:00:00 GMT

Dropout has been a pervasive and costly problem in psychotherapy, particularly for college counseling centers. The present study examined potential predictors of dropout using a large data set (N = 10,147 clients, 481 therapists) that was gathered through a college counseling center practice research network as a replication and extension of recent findings regarding therapist effects on dropout. The final model resulted in a dropout rate of 15.9% and a therapist effect of 9.51% on dropout variance. Therapist demographic variables were investigated, though none were found to be significant. Variables found to be predictive of increased likelihood of dropping out included higher levels of general presenting concerns, alcohol-related distress, and current financial stress. Ultimately, this study showed that therapists may play an important role in the likelihood of client dropout, and that additional research should be conducted to identify additional predictors, particularly at the therapist and center level. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)



Intentions to seek counseling in first-generation and continuing-generation college students.

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 04:00:00 GMT

The growing socioeconomic diversity of higher education institutions calls for research that addresses the unique mental health needs of first-generation and continuing-generation college students. This study examined associations from environmental supports, personal stigma, self-stigma, and attitudes, to intentions to seek counseling in first- and continuing-generation college students (N = 610). Results of structural equation modeling largely supported hypothesized relationships between variables. Furthermore, the relationship between personal stigma and self-stigma was stronger for continuing-generation students while the relationship between self-stigma and attitudes was stronger for first-generation students. The indirect effect from self-stigma to intentions through attitudes was also stronger for first-generation college students, while the indirect effect from personal stigma to attitudes through self-stigma was stronger for continuing-generation students. Results are discussed in terms of enhancing first-generation college students’ attitudes toward, and intentions to seek counseling. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)



Inverting the power dynamic: The process of first sessions of psychotherapy with therapists of color and non-Latino white patients.

Mon, 22 May 2017 04:00:00 GMT

The present study is the first to apply Trawalter, Richeson, and Shelton’s (2009) stress and coping framework to qualitatively examine interracial interactions in initial sessions of psychotherapy. The sample included 22 dyads: 15 therapists of color administering various treatment modalities to 15 treatment-seeking non-Latino White (NLW) patients and a comparison group of 7 intraracial (NLW-NLW) dyads. In Phase 1, videorecordings of the first session of treatment were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis (TA) to describe patient and therapist behaviors. In Phase 2, a deductive TA approach was used to interpret and cluster those dyadic behaviors according to Trawalter et al.’s (2009) framework. NLW patients paired with therapists of color made more efforts to bridge differences and more often questioned the therapist’s professional qualifications compared with those matched with NLW therapists. Therapists of color made more self-disclosures than NLW therapists and maintained a more formal stance, compared with NLW therapists. The deductive TA operationalized 4 of Trawalter and colleagues’ (2009) coping responses within a therapeutic framework. Findings highlight the ability of therapists’ of color to engage positively with their NLW patients even in the face of challenges to their expertise and credibility. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)