The university student perspective on factors that hinder the counseling alliance


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

These two studies investigated the university student clients’ perspective on factors that hinder the counseling alliance. In Study 1, twelve university students identified alliance-hindering factors while watching a videotape of their third or fourth counseling session. In total, 74 factors (in the form of participant statements) were elicited and these participants returned to sort them into categories of their own choosing. The university students who participated in Study 2 sorted the same 74 factors into conceptually homogenous categories and also categorized 74 reasons how or why the factors were thought to be hindering. In both studies, multivariate concept-mapping statistical techniques were used to identify the most typical conceptual structure used by participants in understanding conceptual interrelationships amongst the factors for all three sets of sorted statements. Alliance-hindering factors were classifiable into six categories (Study 1) and four categories (Study 2) and the reasons how or why they were hindering were classifiable into four categories. The results of these studies can be used to advance models of the counseling alliance for working with university students that better take into account clients’ subjective perspectives, to help mental health professionals understand factors that could be impairing their therapeutic alliances, and to better instruct trainees in university counseling centers on alliance development.

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