Changes in Counselor Response as a Function of Experience

Terence J. Tracey, Kimberly A. Hays, June Malone, Bruce Herman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The responses of 67 counselors to 21 widely varying client statements were rated on eight dimensions (dominance, approach-avoidance, focus on affect, immediacy, breadth vs. specificity, meeting client's demands, verbosity, and confrontation). The counselors were divided into three experience levels (beginning students [n = 24], advanced students [n = 23], and doctoral level professionals [n = 20]), and their responses were compared. We hypothesized that student counselors would evidence different amounts of these variables than would the doctoral counselors. This hypothesis was supported on the dimensions of dominance, immediacy, meeting client's demands, verbosity, and confrontation. It was also hypothesized that response flexibility would differ across the experience levels. On the dimensions of dominance, meeting client demands, and confrontation, doctoral counselors were more flexible than were advanced student counselors. The results indicate that students focus on learning and honing the use of certain counseling skills. In the process of doing this, they tend to apply them in a rigid manner. Doctoral counselors appear more able to apply their skills flexibly depending on the situation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-126
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of counseling psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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