Effects of positive and negative vicarious counseling experience on preferences and expectations about counseling

Vas, Corey
Major Professor
Norman A. Scott
Committee Member
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The purpose of this counseling analogue study was to examine the influence of vicarious exposure to positive and negative videotaped counseling vignettes on participants' expectations and preferences about counseling. This study attempted to demonstrate that expectations and preferences about counseling could be manipulated so that expectations about counseling more closely resembled participants' preferences for counseling. The central hypothesis of the study was that those persons exposed to a relatively positive vicarious counseling experience would demonstrate an increase in their expectations about counseling, which more closely approximated their stated preferences. Conversely, persons exposed to a relatively negative vicarious counseling experience were hypothesized to demonstrate either no change or a decrease in their expectations for counseling;In addition, this study attempted to ascertain the influence of presence or absence of prior counseling experience on expectations and preferences for counseling. Respondents' prior experience in counseling was also included in data analyses to assess any interactive effects with the primary experimental manipulation. Since both the positive and negative videotaped counseling vignettes involved client-perceived ethical concerns pertaining to maintenance of confidentiality, this study also assessed the influence of exposure to vicarious counseling experiences on ethical ratings of counselor behavior. Last, the study also measured the impact of vicarious positive and negative exposure to counseling experiences on the respondents' willingness to seek counseling or psychological help;One hundred forty-five female undergraduate student volunteers observed one of three videotapes representing either a vicarious positive, vicarious negative, or a neutral (control) counseling experience. Expectations and preferences for counseling were measured using Tinsley's (1982) EAC - Brief form (originally designed to measure expectations but modified to assess preferences as well). Results from this study failed to demonstrate any impact of the experimental manipulation on either expectations or preferences about counseling. Ethical judgments of counselor behavior and respondents' attitudes toward seeking psychological help were also unaffected by the experimental manipulation. In addition, the respondents' presence or absence of prior counseling experience appeared to have no direct or interactive effects on expectations or preferences about counseling.