Trainee Counselor Development of Social Justice Counseling Competencies
This grounded theory study sought to identify the process by which master’s level counselors-in-training (CITs)
develop social justice counseling competencies. Participants (N = 41) from a clinical mental health counseling
(CMHC) program were interviewed at pre-practicum, pre-internship, and post-internship phases. CITs
progressed through the stages of exposure, recognition, and action, influenced by self-reflection and attitudes.
These stages differed from the awareness, knowledge, and skills domains identified in prior multicultural and
social justice counseling literature. Most CITs planned advocacy action steps by the conclusion of their program,
though few implemented them. Implications for counselor educators are discussed.
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