Counseling psychology trainees' perceptions of training and commitments to social justice

Amanda M. Beer, Lisa B. Spanierman, Jennifer C. Greene, Nathan R. Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

This mixed methods study examined social justice commitments of counseling psychology graduate trainees. In the quantitative portion of the study, a national sample of trainees (n = 260) completed a web-based survey assessing their commitments to social justice and related personal and training variables. Results suggested that students desired greater social justice training than what they experienced in their programs. In the qualitative portion, we used a phenomenological approach to expand and elaborate upon quantitative results. A subsample (n = 7) of trainees who identified as strong social justice activists were interviewed regarding their personal, professional, and training experiences. Eleven themes related to participants' meanings of and experiences with social justice emerged within 4 broad categories: nature of social justice, motivation for activism, role of training, and personal and professional integration. Thematic findings as well as descriptive statistics informed the selection and ordering of variables in a hierarchical regression analysis that examined predictors of social justice commitment. Results indicated that trainees' perceptions of training environment significantly predicted their social justice commitment over and above their general activist orientation and spirituality. Findings are discussed collectively, and implications for training and future research are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-133
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of counseling psychology
Volume59
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Counseling psychology
  • Graduate training
  • Mixed methods
  • Social justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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