Using structural equation modeling to estimate the relationship between mindfulness and the working alliance among counselors-in-training while controlling for dispositional empathy
The purpose of this study was to estimate the relationship between state-specific mindfulness and the working alliance among counselors-in-training while controlling for dispositional mindfulness and dispositional empathy. The author used structural equation modeling to address the research question. Participants included 200 counselors-in-training recruited from four CACREP accredited counseling programs at public universities in Texas. Results indicated a moderate to large relationship between state-specific mindfulness and the working alliance, suggesting that the extent to which a counselor-in-training engaged in state-specific mindfulness during a counseling session had a large association with the working alliance. Results also suggested that dispositional mindfulness make a small contribution to the working alliance independent from state-specific mindfulness. Dispositional empathy had a moderate relationship with dispositional mindfulness, but was not associated with state-specific mindfulness or the working alliance. Based on these findings, counselor educators and counseling supervisors should consider incorporating mindfulness practices into counselor training to help counseling students develop strong working alliances with clients. Future research should examine the relationships between mindfulness practices, the working alliance, and client outcomes.