The Role of Emotional Overcontrol in the Acceptance of Counselor Training Feedback
Author(s)Berzins, R. Erin W
Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Adult and Continuing Education
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AbstractFeedback is an essential component of counselor training, making it crucial that students receive and utilize this information effectively. This research was conducted to address the problem of counseling students experiencing difficulty with accepting feedback during the training process. Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy and the concept of emotional overcontrol were used as a lens for exploring the possible correlation between measures of overcontrol and difficulty with accepting feedback within counselor training programs. This research contributed to the literature—much of which has focused on the behaviors of instructors and supervisors in the feedback process—by providing support for the perspective that student traits affect the efficacy of feedback interactions. The research questions were 1) What is the relationship between counseling student emotional control and accepting feedback within the classroom setting? and 2) What is the relationship between counseling student emotional control and accepting feedback within the supervisory relationship? A quantitative design was used, consisting of a survey tool administered to master’s level counseling students. Analysis consisted of correlation and regression analyses, with additional qualitative coding used for three open-ended prompts. Results indicated that measures of overcontrol correlated significantly with features associated with feedback receptivity within the classroom setting. Results indicated that individuals who scored higher on measures of overcontrol were more likely to experience feedback as threatening, more likely to desire privacy in the feedback process, may retain feedback less effectively, and in some cases, may believe feedback is less useful than their non-overcontrolled peers. No significant correlations were found between measures of overcontrol and feedback in the supervisory setting. In the regression analysis, approximately 34% of the variance in sensitivity to feedback within the classroom setting was explained by measures of overcontrol, indicating that this individual student trait is relevant to the efficacy of feedback interactions. Qualitative data suggested that the element of personal relationship was also a relevant variable for determining the degree to which students accepted feedback from instructors and supervisors. Implications for counselor training programs are discussed, including the recommendation that emotional overcontrol be considered when working with students who struggle with training feedback.