Counselors'-in-Training Experience of the Influence of Role-Play on Learning and Development




Horton, Emily

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Given the profound impact that counselors can have on the lives of clients, families, and communities, high quality, effective training programs are crucial. Both the importance of counseling and the need for trained counselors remain pervasive. By educating highly skilled counselors committed to serving the needs of individuals and their communities, communities will collectively heal. The value of this healing and the counselors who help to cultivate such require training programs well-equipped to prepare counselors-in-training (CITs) for the work. In this phenomenological investigation, the author explored masters-level students' (N = 10) experiences with sustained, regular role-play during their training program. Using semi-structured individual interviews and following data analysis rooted in Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, the author identified four themes: (a) clinical growth through the discomfort, (b) I didn't know what I thought I knew, (c) common commitment to growth, and (d) interpersonal impact. Findings highlighted the value of integrating the core tenets of Deliberate Psychological Education (DPE) into the facilitation of role-play in counselor education. The author provides implications for counselor education and research.


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cognitive development, counselor education, role-play