Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Justin Low, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Rachelle Kisst Hackett, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Amy Scott Brown, Ph.D.


The relationship between pedagogy and self-efficacy beliefs is at the core of this dissertation. A continued demand for mental health service providers who can handle challenging caseloads requires novice professionals who are both well prepared and confident in their own skills and abilities, as self-efficacy is a positive predictor of performance. Since experiential learning opportunities are considered particularly beneficial to fostering self-efficacy beliefs, two cohorts of graduate students in a beginning psychotherapy course who engaged in different experiential learning activities were compared in terms of their counseling self-efficacy growth over the course of one semester. One cohort of students engaged in scripted role play during the semester, while the other cohort engaged in unscripted role play. Additionally, focus group discussions with students from both cohorts were conducted after the conclusion of the semester where students reflected on their experiences. Multiple regression analysis was performed to test the hypothesis that students in the treatment group, who engaged in scripted role play, would show greater growth in counseling self-efficacy beliefs. The results did not confirm the hypothesis; students in the treatment group, however, preferred the scripted role play over unscripted role play and reported overall less anxiety about performing the client role. Given the small sample size of 27 students overall, a replication with a larger sample is needed. The results of this study might be considered a starting point to investigate further how to optimize experiential learning pedagogy to foster self-efficacy growth in the classroom.



Available for download on Thursday, May 29, 2025



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