Development of Student Neurofeedback Learning Competencies: A Delphi Methods Study




Spears, James R.

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New and positive developments in neuroscience validate the therapeutic efficacy and work of professional counselors. Whereas literature cites a general enthusiasm and acceptance from helping professionals, others raise concern regarding how neuro-informed practices, like neurofeedback, might influence counselor identity and scope of practice. To begin answering these questions and examining the integration of neurofeedback and professional counseling, this Delphi method study explored the development of student neurofeedback learning competencies. Asked during the first Delphi method round, the research question guiding this study inquired from a panel of 17 experts what knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics are necessary for counselors-in-training to effectively provide neurofeedback services to clients. Following the collection and analyses of Round One responses, participants rated the essentialness of constructed learning competency statements in rounds two and three. Participants group rankings determined if a statement was selected for the final learning competency list, transitioned into the subsequent Delphi method round, or discarded from the study entirely. Following the conclusion of all three Delphi method rounds, a final learning competency list of 109 items met group consensus for inclusion. Further, this dissertation provides a discussion of results and professional implications for counselors-in-training, counselor educators, and supervisors. Lastly, this study concludes with a discussion of limitations and suggestions for future research regarding the integration of neurofeedback into professional counseling.


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Counselor education, Delphi method, KSAO, Learning competencies, Neurofeedback