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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Jennifer Mills Langeland
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
Title: Counselor Educator Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs Toward Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Dr. Gary Bischof, Chair
Dr. Stephen Craig
Dr. Karen Horneffer-Ginter
Date: Friday, March 1, 2013 noon to 2 p.m.
1410 Sangren Hall
Following growing public interest and widespread use, many health professions have begun to explore the attitudes toward, knowledge of and experience with Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) of the various stakeholders within their professions. This foundational information has enabled disciplines such as medicine, nursing, psychology, and marriage and family therapy to take a closer look at how students, patients, clients, and faculty think about and utilize CAM and its relevance to their professions. Surveying the practices and attitudes of stakeholders has been an important starting point for professions undertaking the task of integrating these practices into training programs.
This study seeks to fill the gap in knowledge about the attitudes, knowledge and experience with CAM among counselor education faculty. Counselor educators (n=130) are surveyed online about their knowledge of and attitudes toward CAM and their personal, clinical and teaching use of CAM practices. Results indicate that the majority of counselor educators have positive attitudes toward CAM and 79% believe it should be integrated into counselor training. Over half the participants believe counseling as a profession is behind other mental health professions in the integration of CAM. The study also finds that experience with and knowledge of CAM has significant and positive relationships with attitudes toward CAM. Results indicate there is already some limited integration of CAM practices within the core curriculum of counseling training programs, primarily in the self-care, treatment approaches, and helping relationships portions of curricula. Counselor educators are more likely to have experience with the subset of practices known as mind-body practices which include breathing, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery. Higher ratings of counselor wellness identity are associated with more positive attitudes toward CAM. Females and older counselor educators are more likely to have positive attitudes toward CAM. The association of attitudes toward CAM and year of degree or race/ethnicity are not significant. Limitations of the study include a relatively small sample size, the need for more valid measures, and the fact that the length might have led some not to complete the survey. Recommendations for counselor training and future research are offered.