Being your authentic self: an exploration of the relationship between authenticity and self-efficacy in counselor trainees

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Heather Mayton (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Kelly Wester

Abstract: Authenticity, or being one’s true self, is a concept rooted in the counseling field and emphasized as an important part of a counselor’s identity development. Carl Rogers (1957) grounds this construct in his person-centered theory and refers to it as congruence. It is this congruence that is necessary for positive client outcomes and the therapeutic relationship (Lambart & Bartley, 2001). While this concept is rooted in a foundational counseling theory, it has been defined differently across research studies, with some researchers referring to this construct as the integration of the personal and professional self or the therapeutic self (Auxier, Hughes, & Kline, 2003; Skovholt & Rønnestad, 1992). Therefore, the counseling field lacks a single operationalized definition of authenticity. Not only is authenticity important for client outcomes, but it is also important for the counselor’s well-being and has been linked to both self-esteem and healthy psychological functioning (Boyraz, Waits, & Felix, 2014; Goldman & Kernis, 2002; Wood et al., 2008). In addition, authenticity has been linked to general self-efficacy (Satici, Kayis, & Akin, 2013; Stets & Burke, 2014). Researchers within the counseling field have described both authenticity and self-efficacy similarly in regards to their trend across the counseling training program, with both increasing across the counseling training program. In addition, supervision and clinical hours have been proposed as influential factors to both self-efficacy and authenticity. Despite the importance of authenticity for the counselor and client, there is a lack of empirical research on this construct in the counseling field. Researchers have failed to empirically and directly measure all of these variables in a sample of counselor trainees in order to understand their relationships to one another and the impact on a counselor’s development. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between authenticity and self-efficacy in a sample of counselor trainees enrolled in a clinical experience. In addition, supervision and clinical hours were explored as possible influential factors on both authenticity and self-efficacy. The researcher used a multiple regression analysis to answer the research questions. Authenticity, supervision, and direct clinical hours significantly predicted self-efficacy and these results support the need for an emphasis on authenticity as an aspect of professional development in counselor trainees. The implications for counselor educators and supervisors will be discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Authenticity, Counseling, Self-Efficacy, Trainees
Counselor trainees
Identity (Psychology)
Self-consciousness (Awareness)
Self-actualization (Psychology)

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