Emerging Leadership: Mental Health Counseling Competencies for School Counselor Trainees

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Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


School counselors’ training and clinical competencies for providing mental health counseling continues to be a point of debate regarding professional roles and identities. This study focuses on the eight counseling core competencies as defined by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The research study compares the theoretical counseling competencies of school counselor graduates to clinical mental health counselor graduates as measured by the results of the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE). The data were retrieved from an archival database that included scores collected over 13 years. Participants include graduate students (N = 682) from a CACREP accredited counselor education program at one public university. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to examine the significant differences between CPCE total scores and subscales based on program specialty (school counseling versus clinical mental health counseling). Results demonstrated significant differences between the group means for two of the subscales (Helping Relationships and Group Work), with students in clinical mental health counseling scoring higher than students in school counseling.