Perceptions of counselor effectiveness within rural America's heartland

Shannon Michelle O'Neill, Fordham University


It has been suggested that clients who receive a treatment they believe in and perceive to be effective will engage early, work hard, and continue in treatment, leading to better therapeutic outcomes. The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of therapeutic style, level of geographic rurality, and the interaction of these aspects on the perceived therapeutic effectiveness from a sample of adult participants living within America’s rural heartland. Participants included 175 adults who were native residents of Nebraska, Kansas, or Oklahoma. Participants were randomly assigned to listen to 1 of 2 therapeutic approaches (i.e., client-centered therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy) portrayed within an audio-recorded simulated therapy session. Following the recording, each participant completed the Counselor Rating Scale-Short Version, answered one corresponding open-ended item, and finished a demographic questionnaire. Results indicated participants perceived the cognitive-behavioral approach to be more effective than the client-centered approach. Level of rurality did not have an independent effect on perceived therapeutic effectiveness. Similarly, there was no interaction between therapeutic style and level of rurality on perceived therapeutic effectiveness. The following implications, limitations, and directions for future research were discussed: (a) promoting and implementing services in rural communities, (b) ethical responsibility to acknowledge and adapt services, and (c) offering services with consideration of the rural cultural context.^

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology|Quantitative psychology

Recommended Citation

O'Neill, Shannon Michelle, "Perceptions of counselor effectiveness within rural America's heartland" (2017). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10255828.