Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Counselor Education

Major Professor

Dr. Tricia McClam

Committee Members

Dr. Vincent Anfara, Dr. Rosalind Hackett, Dr. Shawn Spurgeon

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between wellness, spirituality, and personal dispositions of practicing professional counselors. A sequential, mixed-methods case study design was utilized to achieve this purpose. Thirty professional counselors completed three assessment instruments measuring wellness, spirituality, and personal dispositions. Five of these counselors also participated in the qualitative portion of the study. This included the review of photographs of their offices and copies of their résumés and professional disclosure statements as well as participation in a telephone interview.

Following the use of Pearson Product Correlations to analyze relationships in the data from the assessment instruments, two positive relationships were found. Spirituality was positively correlated with the disposition of rule-consciousness. A positive relationship was found between wellness and emotional stability. In addition, three negative relationships were found. The dispositions of apprehension, perfectionism, and tension were all negatively correlated with wellness. No significant relationship was found between wellness and spirituality. These data were used to develop the interview protocol for the qualitative portion of the study.

The constant comparative method was used to analyze the qualitative data. Five themes were developed within the second iteration of analysis: commitment to the philosophies of the profession, a foundation of ethics, coordination, social networks, and personal fulfillment. These resulted in the development of the third iteration of the professional counselor as an integrated whole. These enhanced the findings of the quantitative portion of the study by providing a description of how the relationships found in the quantitative data impact and present in the work of professional counselors.

This was the first known study to utilize a mixed-methods design to explore wellness, spirituality, and personal dispositions in professional counselors. Future studies should continue to explore the relationships among these factors and how they impact professional practice. These should include the use of a larger sample size as well as the identification of specific behaviors utilized by professional counselors to promote the development of wellness and positive personal dispositions.

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