Assessing Counselor Educator Perceived Preparedness in Identifying, Treating, & Teaching Dissociative Disorders




York, Kristin N.

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So long as power differentials persist, oppression remains a relevant talking point, especially as it pertains to disproportionately affected groups. Human-perpetrated trauma survivors are one such group. It is critical to exercise diligence in prioritizing trauma-informed diagnostics, treatment, and education to minimize chance of additional perpetration. This mixed methods study considers several dynamics of counselor educator perceived preparedness to identify, treat, and teach Dissociative Disorders in trauma-related courses of Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) programs. A Feminist Critical Pedagogical framework guides this study, underscoring the role of power in educational, clinical, and social systems. Study results indicate inclusion of a trauma-specific course in 80% (n = 133) of respondents' universities. Participants report less preparedness to teach symptom identification and treatment in more severe Dissociative Disorders on the trauma spectrum. There is a bimodal distribution of reported preparedness when rating disorders centered on the spectrum like Dissociative Amnesia or Depersonalization/Derealization Disorders. Educators outline Dissociative competency integration (how and how much time) in a variety of forward-thinking trauma-related competencies through a variety of teaching modalities. Consultation with peers and supervisors is the most common source of Dissociative Disorder education for educators in this study. Recommendations following this study include a need to bolster the self-efficacy of counselor educators who bear tremendous power and responsibility. When equipped with the resources, tangible or intangible, to execute their duty, counselor educators wield extraordinary opportunity to affect clinical outcomes for survivors of complex trauma.


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Complex Trauma, Counselor Educator, Critical Pedagogy, Dissociative Disorder, Feminism, Preparedness