Counselor cognitive complexity : instrument development and validation

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

Abstract: "Because issues in counseling are often complex, it is difficult for counselors to accurately understand their clients' needs. A counselor's understanding is limited by his or her ability to recognize relevant client variables and comprehend their interactional impact on the client's overall needs (Blocher, 1983). This process is complicated, and requires advanced cognitive complexity. There are two aspects of cognitive complexity: the number of client characteristics a counselor can recognize is the counselor's level of differentiation; understanding how those characteristics fit together is the process of integration. Counselor cognitive complexity has been linked with multiple aspects of counselor effectiveness (e.g., Borders, 1989; Fong, Borders, Ethington, & Pitts, 1997; Holloway & Wolleat, 1980; Ladany, Marotta, & Muse-Burke, 2001). In fact, researchers have found support for the assumption that cognitive complexity increases during supervised counseling practice (e.g., Duys & Hedstrom, 2000; Granello, 2002). To date, however, these results primarily have been based in general measures of a counselor's cognitive complexity, despite evidence that level of complexity is domain specific (Crockett, 1965). Crockett (1965) reported that an individual's level of cognitive complexity can vary from topic to topic. Because of the domain-specific nature of cognitive complexity, a counseling-specific measure of cognitions is needed before researchers can fully understand counselor cognitive development. As such, the Counselor Cognitions Questionnaire was developed to fill the void in available instruments. It measures the complexity of counselors' cognitions about their clients. Development of the instrument and initial validation results will be described. Preliminary findings about the impact of general cognitive complexity on client-specific cognitive complexity and factors in counselor cognitive complexity will be explained."--Abstract from author supplied metadata.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2007
counseling, issues, counselors, clients, interactional impact, cognitive complexity
Counseling--Study and teaching

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