Bilingual Counselors-in-Training's Self-Efficacy with Counseling in Spanish: A Narrative Study




Martinez-Smith, Cristina

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Having a low self-efficacy during professional training often negatively impacts bilingual counselors-in-training. Indeed, there is ample research supporting the need to address the implications of self-efficacy for beginner counselors. Previous findings suggest that low self-efficacy alters a person's perception intensifying their struggles, such as, being unable to or withdrawing from providing counseling services in Spanish. However, literature written by and for bilingual counselors-in-training about their own experiences and in their own words is limited. Furthermore, information about their clinical practices, abilities, and professional training is not often provided in traditional Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) programs. The purpose of this study was to explore the process in which bilingual counselors-in-training navigate their education, as well as understand their self-perceived ability to implement learned skills in order to counsel Spanish-speaking clients. I interviewed eight bilingual counselors-in-training for this research study. Individual narratives were analyzed using concepts of social cognitive theory. Afterward, I conducted a group analysis and synthesis. Themes for the group analysis included: (a) Overcoming Challenges; (b) Learned Skills; (c) Decision-Making Process to Implement Skills; and (d) Self-Perceived Confidence. It is worth noting that six participants preferred to share their experiences in English while the other two shared in Spanish. Finally, I provided suggestions for future research, implications for counselors, counselor educators, and supervisors.


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bilingual counseling, bilingual counselors-in-training, cultural competence, language competence, multicultural competence, self-efficacy