Date of Graduation

12-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Kristin Higgins

Committee Member

Roy Farley

Second Committee Member

Paul Blisard

Third Committee Member

Kit Kacirek

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to assess the perceived preparedness levels of college mental health clinicians to counsel transgender college students. Multicultural counseling competency is required of professional counselors and transgender individuals are considered to be part of the multicultural population. A survey was completed by college mental health counselors (N = 84) from across the United States. The results showed a moderate amount of preparedness overall with no significant differences based on years of counseling experience nor graduation from a CACREP accredited program. Results did show the participants believed they do have a professional duty to be knowledgeable about gender identity issues. The majority of counselors surveyed spent between zero and five hours a week providing either individual or group counseling to transgender students, or providing consultation and collaboration on transgender student issues. Approximately two-thirds of the counselors surveyed used a trans-affirmative therapy model which is accepting and validating of all experiences of gender. Implications presented by this study include improving educational and training resources for counselor educators through additional quantitative and qualitative research into transgender counseling competencies. Additionally, providing professional development workshops for practicing professional counselors to build their knowledge and awareness of mental health issues in the transgender population will lead to increases in counselor self-efficacy.