The development and validation of the Counselors’ emotional awareness scale (C-EAS)

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jordan L. Austin (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
L. DiAnne Borders

Abstract: The concept that emotion carries an impactful role within counseling likely is not surprising. Counseling professionals commonly agree that in-session emotions, either emotions demonstrated by the client or internal affective experiences of the counselor, are used to inform a variety of therapeutic decisions (Batten & Santanello, 2009; Easton, Martin, & Wilson, 2008; Martin, Easton, Wilson, Takemoto, & Sullivan, 2004; Young, 2013). During counselor education, counselor trainees not only are presented with various skills and techniques to master, but also are expected to learn how to conceptualize emotion and to use this knowledge to direct in-session behaviors and the overall course of therapy (Batten & Santanello, 2009; Easton et al., 2008; Martin et al., 2004; Tangen, 2017). As such, it is clear that counseling trainees must develop an ability to be simultaneously aware of their own affect (self-emotional awareness) as well as the emotions of their clients (other-emotional awareness) across the course of counselor education. Although the importance of emotional awareness seems theoretically clear within the counseling field, the absence of an instrument to assess counseling-specific self- and other-emotional awareness is noteworthy. Because of this gap, there are considerable limitations around counselor educators’ abilities to track, measure, and evaluate progress within the area of emotional awareness development. Thus, the central purpose of this study was to create and explore initial psychometrics of the Counselors’ Emotional Awareness Scale (C-EAS), a measure based in the researcher’s synthesized and integrated model of emotional awareness. The model reflects a comprehensive review of relevant literature and serves as a bridge for assessing self- and other- emotional awareness of counselors within one measure. Through various recruitment strategies, 196 useable responses from counseling students (n = 85), counselor practitioners (n = 81), and counselor educators (n = 23) completed the 56-item C-EAS and associated measures. Though the researcher originally hypothesized a six factor structure, using the current sample, confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses suggested a three factor structural model of the C-EAS: self-emotional awareness, other-emotional awareness, and experiencing emotions. Psychometric tests provided preliminary evidence of reliability of the instrument as well evidence for the validity of the C-EAS in relationship to the TAS-20 (Bagby et al., 1994a) and the Counseling Self-Efficacy Scale (CSES; Melchert et al., 1996). Limitations, specifically regarding sample size, sample composition, and instrumentation are outlined, along with suggestions for future investigations of the psychometric properties of the measure. Regardless, the work contributes to scholarly efforts by providing needed next steps towards allowing counselor educators to make more informed choices within the classroom and clinical training environments through bridging important gaps in how counselor educators assess, intervene, and understand emotional awareness within counseling trainees.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
Clinical supervision, Counseling, Counselor education, Emotional awareness
Counselors $x Training of
Counselor trainees
Emotion recognition

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