The negotiation of power and dual relationships as occurring in counselor training groups

Maria Kajankova, Fordham University


The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the experience of group counselor trainees related to dual relationships and power as occurring in the counselor training group. Critical incidents were collected from 32 participants and analyzed using the critical incident technique, along with 10 individual semi-structured interviews and one focus-group interview, both of which were analyzed using grounded theory methodology. Critical incident data revealed 6 categories and 14 subcategories while the interviews yielded 30 axial and 13 selective categories. Participants endorsed several concurrent, consistent, and future dual relationships occurring between group members, the group leader, and course instructor. These dual relationships were difficult for members to navigate and impacted their perception of the group process and ultimately their behavior. Dual relationships were also seen as beneficial, contributing to individual and group growth. Participants saw power as fluid, frequently shifting between individuals of the group and exchanged within the power struggles occurring in the group. Participants ascribed power to authority figures, active group members that made valuable contributions to the group, and those with powerful individual characteristics. Participants associated power with control, restriction, and influence, and believed that individuals and group events facilitated movement of power in the group. Directions for future research and implications for counselor educators, group leaders, and trainees were discussed.

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology|Counseling Psychology|Psychology

Recommended Citation

Kajankova, Maria, "The negotiation of power and dual relationships as occurring in counselor training groups" (2013). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3589640.