Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Rehabilitation Counseling

First Advisor

Dr. Jerome Fischer

Second Advisor

Dr. Bruce Reed

Third Advisor

Dr. Pierre Lou


The purpose of this descriptive and exploratory mixed-method study was twofold: to explore counselors’ perceptions and knowledge regarding complex trauma and, assess counselors’ perceptions regarding their level of confidence when working with this population. The study determined what relevant factors were related to counselors’ perceived self-efficacy concerning complex trauma. Although complex trauma is emerging as an important issue, there is limited research regarding counselors’ experiences with complex trauma. The current study explored participants’ perceptions when providing services to individuals with prolonged and cumulative trauma and provided a greater understanding of counselors’ recognition and selfefficacy when working with this population. A total of 140 professionals participated in the study including Licensed Professional Counselors (38.5%), Licensed Master Social Workers (31.5%) and certified school counselors (30%). Participants reported a mean of 9.60 (SD = 8.12) years of professional experience. The study found the following predictors of counselor self-efficacy: being a certified school counselor, having a higher percentage of clients with complex trauma, and higher years of professional experience. Implications of the finding provided content for future training of counselors and social workers, specifically in complex trauma.


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