Date of Award

Summer 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counselor Education and Supervision

Committee Director

Garrett McAuliffe

Committee Member

Renee Seay

Committee Member

Theodore P. Remley, Jr.


The focus of this study was the exploration of specific developmental dimensions that may have an impact on the counselor training process, which ultimately will affect the quality of care offered by counselors to clients. Specifically, the relationship of cognitive developmental level and counseling competency skills was examined to determine if a relationship exists between the two dimensions and if so, can a counselor trainee's developmental level predict his or her level of counseling skills. Thirty master level counseling students (trainees) participated in this study during practicum or internship. The trainees were rated by their supervisors on both a measure of developmental level — the Supervisee Level Questionnaire-Revised, and their counseling skills level — the Counseling Skills Scale. The counselor trainees also rated themselves on a developmental measure utilizing the Supervisee Level Questionnaire-Revised. Using Stoltenberg and Delworth's IDM model as the basis of the principal constructs examined, results of this study indicated the construct of Self/Other Awareness was the strongest predictor of counseling skills level in general. As supervisors are called to be more cognizant of the cognitive developmental level of their counselor trainees and provide avenues to elucidate higher-level developmental dilemmas, so too, should counselor educators incorporate such avenues into their training program and course curricula. Based on the findings from this study that suggest cognitive developmental levels are linked to better counseling skills, counselor trainees at higher stages of cognitive development appear to be better equipped to deal with the complex problem-solving and social interactions that are needed to successfully engage in the counseling process.