• From the Trenches to the Field: High School Counselors' Perceived Self-Efficacy Regarding Role(s) and Responsibilities Pertaining to Students' Mental Health Needs

      Schifter, Catherine; DuCette, Joseph P.; Farley, Frank; Najera, Kristina (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      The roles and responsibilities of school counselors across the United States are often misinterpreted amongst various stakeholders, individual state requirements for educational initiatives, and often among practicing counselors’ own perceptions and view of professional identity. While the American School Counselor Association (ASCA, 2003; 2005) strives to provide ethical standards and practices to solidify the professional identity of school counselors and acquire the qualifications and skills to address all students’ academic, personal/social and career development needs, a clear defined definition and perception of the school counselor continues to become solidified. Perhaps this is due to the changing educational horizon, communities, administration, and federal influences of policies and procedures on schools and school districts (Bain, 2012). Whatever the reason, school counselors are faced with a myriad of challenges that make it difficult in today’s educational society to adhere to the social/emotional, post-secondary/career, and academic needs of all students. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA, 2003;2005) has developed the ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs which establishes a structure for effective school counseling programs; however, school counseling programs, credentials, and educational initiatives can be different from state to state. This study examined high school counselors (9th-12th grade) in Pennsylvania, suburban, public high Schools, specifically in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. A quasi-mixed methods, exploratory research approach was used. Nonparametric statistics were run to determine if a significant impact of demographic variables yielded a difference in school counselors’ self-efficacy. Additionally, school counselors were randomly selected to participate in semi-structured, open-ended interviews, examining high school counselors’ perceptions and self-efficacy regarding their roles and responsibilities pertaining to students’ mental health issues. Results indicated that gender, one’s undergraduate degree of education, and years of experience have significant impact on school counselors' self-efficacy, specifically related to certain items on the Counselor Activity Self-Efficacy Scales (Lent, et al., 2003). After content analysis coding, it was also found that school counselors feel high efficacy beliefs associated with specific roles and responsibilities and that self-efficacy beliefs change if counselors perceive a lack of stakeholder support or do not feel they are valued. Some implications for future research might be a longitudinal study of school counselors’ self-efficacy over a given period of time and a larger sample size. It might also be helpful to combine elements of the CASES Scales with other school counselor based scales to form a more unified measurement that speaks to school counselors’ roles and responsibilities that have been identified within this study and expand to specific mental health diagnosis, disorders, and behaviors. KEY WORDS: School Counseling, Communication, Educational Psychology