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CPTCSA’s vision of a safe world and mission to lead in research-based services guides our activities. We conduct research and are the focus of several best practices documents. The purpose of all research we conduct, while relevant on its own, is to guide in the development of services and materials for clients and communities. Our materials include full personal safety curriculum for all grades and levels, preschool lesson plans, church-based sunday school materials, family and community advocacy sessions, storybooks, vcds and workbooks for parents to do together with their children, and case studies and dvd training materials for social workers.

CPTCSA cannot work alone. We depend on all members of society to participate in the prevention of child sexual abuse. Our materials will help you achieve your commitment to the vision of a safe world for all children free from sexual abuse.

Teaching Personal Safety in schools will result in students seeking help for unwanted touch. A part of the prevention agenda is for systems around the child to be competent in prevention and reports. For students to disclose, however, they must feel safe in their school and community. When students disclose, it means they feel safe. An important question to ask is, if schools get no requests for help, is it because no child is abused (which is statistically improbable) or because children do not feel safe in their school, with their teachers, or with their community?

 

Counseling Sexually Abused Children in the Philippines

A Survey of Practices, Beliefs and Activities

 Jay A. Yacat

Department of Psychology

University of the Philippines, Diliman

Zenaida S. Rosales

Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse

and

Regina M. Rabanillo

Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse

About sixty (60) counselors from selected government, private and non-government child care institutions in the Philippines participated in a survey on the practice and status of counseling sexually abused children. It was revealed that most of the counselors are social workers by education and training. Very few have advanced degrees. Most have been handling child sexual abuse (CSA) cases for about four years. Counseling was found to be the most common service offered to CSA clients. Respondents were found to have a heavy case load but are confident about handling specific counseling scenarios. Aspects of the intervention process, beliefs about CSA, and self-reported counseling efficacy were also explored. Recommendations focused on future research, training and continuing education, and standards of practice.

Child abuse remains one of the serious problems confronting Filipino children. Based on the number of cases served by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in 2006, child sexual abuse (CSA) accounted for 35.8% of the total cases (2,803 of 7,066). These figures paint an alarming situation specifically for girl children, as sexual abuse comprised 52% of the cases of girls handled by the DSWD. The data still do not include those cases lodged with different private institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) throughout the country.

Considerable attention has been placed on the study of the nature, contributory factors to victimization or healing, and impacts of sexual abuse on Filipino children and families (Ladion, 2007; Tarroja et al, 2007; Bautista et al, 2001; Carandang, 1996;). Very few have focused on studies of interventions. An extensive literature review noted that child abuse interventions in the Philippines, including those for CSA, were largely eclectic, characterized by exploration and experimentation which are largely atheoretical, and if theory-driven, usually involved strategies and techniques imported from the West (Dela Cruz et al, 2000). Furthermore, the approaches are generally designed for individual sessions which places a heavy burden on the already overworked child care workers,

In other countries like the United States, counseling was found to be a positive, useful and effective intervention across the full range of issues confronting children and young people, including sexual abuse (Pattison & Harris, 2006). In the Philippines, counseling was recognized as the primary tool among child care workers (Dela Cruz et al, 2000). Unfortunately, there were very few studies that attempted to describe the practice and status of counseling in the Philippines. Two of the most relevant were done by Clemeña (1993) and Villar (1997). While the first looked into the history, practice, education and training of counselors, the second compared the status of counseling practice in the Philippines alongside the more dominant Western approaches. Both studies, however, focused on education graduates who are not trained to handle the more serious problems such as child abuse.

Another survey was done by the (2003), which investigated the practice and status of psychotherapy in the Philippines. This preliminary investigation sampled 48 psychotherapists who were mostly psychologists, psychiatrists, and guidance counselors. However, it was found that the respondents primarily dealt with adult client who bring to therapy issues such as marital and family problems. Problems that involved children usually were school-related, e.g. poor grades, underachievement, learning disabilities, hyperactivity. Sexual abuse of children was not reported by the respondents.

It seems that social workers are the ones tasked to handle sexual abuse and other related problems. However, there has been no systematic investigation on the practice of counseling child sexual abuse to date. This present study was conducted in order to provide a preliminary look into the status and practice of counseling sexually abused children in the Philippines.  More specifically, it seeks to provide information on the following:

  1. profile of counselors working with CSA clients and the organizations they belong to;
  2. description of the intervention process including the initial contact and intake; interaction with clients, supervision, case documentation;
  3. counselors’ beliefs regarding sexual abuse and self reported efficacy in counseling
  4. training received related to CSA

 

METHOD

 

Measure

An 11-page questionnaire was constructed to obtain information on a wide range of items related to personal and professional characteristics. Sample characteristics consisted of age, gender, civil status, religion, birthplace, highest educational attainment, current organization, years in current profession.

Questions about the services offered included information on the following: caseload (e.g., number and types of cases handled); and types of services, administrative and professional support. Questions related to professional activities inquired about trainings received, references on child sexual abuse available to the respondent.

Another major section involved an assessment of the practitioner’s own capability in providing different counseling skills.  The next section presented 13 cases and asked respondents to indicate if they have ever encountered a particular case in their career and to briefly describe the action they have taken in response to the situation. The last part consisted of 20 items that looked into:  beliefs about the nature of child sexual abuse; attitudes towards their work as a counselor; and beliefs about their efficacy as counselors.

 

Procedure

CPTCSA prepared an initial list of organizations known for counseling services for children victim-survivors of sexual abuse. This list is drawn from the pool of participants who have participated in the trainings that CPTCSA has conducted over the years government and non government organizations who are known to CPTCSA as providing services to sexually abused children.  A total of 135 questionnaires were sent out to 108 organizations. However, only 60 questionnaires were returned, yielding only a 44.4% return rate.

 

Data Analysis

Descriptive statistical procedures were mainly used to summarize the survey responses: frequency counts and percentage computations were used to determine patterns of counseling practices while means were computed for the attitude and belief items.


RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

 

 

Sample Characteristics

A total of 60 counselors responded to the survey. However, not all of the respondents provided complete information, one of the major artifacts of a mailed questionnaire.  Females dominated the sample (52 of 55 or 94.5%), a figure that may correspond to a gender disparity in the profession.

 

Table 1. Number of participants by sex and location.

NCR Luzon Visayas Mindanao TOTAL
Females

22

4

17

11

52

Males

2

0

1

0

3

TOTAL

24

4

18

11

55

Almost half of the respondents (43.6%) came from the National Capital Region (NCR). About 32.7% came from the Visayas. Only 20% came from Mindanao, while only four respondents came from other parts of Luzon. If these figures accurately represent the actual population of practitioners then this clearly shows that child sexual abuse counselors have a tendency to practice mostly in Metro Manila.

The mean age of the respondents was 36.9 years (SD = 10.7), indicating a young set of practitioners. Male and female respondents have almost equivalent mean ages (Age females = 35.9 vs Age males = 36.7). For the 56 respondents who provided information on their civil status, majority are either single (51.8%) or married (42.9%). About 3.6% are widowed and 1.8% reported to be cohabiting with a partner. Among the respondents, 86.7% (52) reported some type of religious affiliation, with Catholics as the majority (75% or 39 of the 52 respondents). Some 17.3% self-identified as Christians while only three respondents are Protestants. There was only one Muslim participant in the sample.

Majority of the respondents hold a bachelor’s degree in Social Work (42 of 56 or 75%) and obtained these degrees in private colleges and universities (40 of 56 or 76.9%). There were only 6 respondents who have psychology baccalaureate degrees.

Meanwhile, only 16 (30.7%) indicated the master’s level as the highest degrees. Of this number, about 37.5% were degrees in social work and 18.75% were in psychology. However, it is interesting that a few respondents (%?) received advanced degrees that are remotely related to counseling practice (e.g., public administration).

 

 

Institutional Affiliation

 Majority of the respondents are affiliated with non-governmental organizations (62.1%) while the rest work in the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Usually, the respondents are deployed in shelters or centers as social workers (in the case of NGOs) or social welfare officers (in DSWD run shelters). On average, the respondents reported 4.5 years practicing as counselors, reflecting a very young set of respondents. However, it is also important to note that about 11 of the respondents have been in their profession for about ten years or more.

 

Caseload

It was found that majority of the respondents belonged to organizations that do not solely cater to child sexual abuse cases. This is basically true for social workers from the DSWD which is tasked to respond to a variety of children in need of special protection (e.g., victims of trafficking, children in situations of sexual exploitation, street children).

The respondents reported that, on the average, their agencies have about five staff members who handle child sexual abuse cases. However, the respondents reported personally taking charge of an average of 28 cases. About 21 of these are sexual abuse cases. Meanwhile, respondents from government agencies have a heavier CSA caseload than those working for private agencies and NGOs (Mean caseloadGov = 28.25 vs Mean caseloadNGO= 16.17.  Only eight out of 57 respondents handle solely child sexual abuse cases while four respondents are handling solely non-CSA cases.

About 46.7% respondents also revealed that they are given flexibility in determining which cases to handle. Others who are not afforded that flexibility (38.3%) explain that they are the only ones in the organization who are available or capable to take on the case.  Unfortunately, only 30% of the counselors are able to determine their case load. This is especially true among social workers in government institutions.

 

Services Offered for Sexually Abused Children

 On the average, the respondents reported that their respective organizations have been providing services for sexually abused children for about 11.8 years (SD = 8.8). This implies that some organizations have been working on this problem for almost 20 years while some have been in operation for a little over three years.

What services are rendered? As reported by the respondents, counseling for the child victim-survivor (91.7%) topped the list of services offered by their agencies. Other services within the domain of counseling also were high on the list: counseling of the family (80.0%) and group counseling/therapy (70.0%). These results confirm and reaffirm that counseling is one of the primary interventions given to victims of child sexual abuse.

It was also interesting that other services, not essentially counseling-related but integral to the healing process, were reported to being offered by a majority of the agencies that the respondents belong to. One set of services are what may be called as emergency or immediate services, such as provision of medical assistance (e.g., medico-legal examinations, treatment of injuries, etc.) and temporary shelter. The other set includes services which may aid rehabilitation such as provision of legal assistance when children have decided to file charges against their perpetrators, or those that would develop the children’s knowledge and skills (provision of education).

The other services were more specialized and thus may not be readily offered by most organizations. These include: psychological assessment and psychiatric evaluation, and police reporting. The low number of staff trained in psychology may partly explain why psychological services are usually not part of the organization’s menu of services.  Meanwhile, foster care and residential care are usually offered by either government-supported agencies or those funded by international donors or church organizations.

 

Table 2. Types of services currently offered for sexually abused children

 

%

freq

Counseling of child victim-survivor

91.7

55

Counseling of family

80.0

48

Provision of medical assistance

76.7

44

Temporary shelter

75.0

45

Group counseling/therapy

70.0

42

Provision of legal assistance

70.0

42

Provision of vocational, educational or special education

61.7

37

Police reporting

55.0

33

Psychological assessment

55.0

33

Psychiatric evaluation

33.3

20

Foster care

28.3

17

Residential care

24.0

36

 

Different Aspects of Interventions for Child Sexual Abuse

 We have learned from the preceding section that counseling services count as the major types of interventions given to children who have experienced sexual abuse. This section will provide us an overview of the systems and processes that the organizations adopt in their attempt to provide these services to children. Among those that will be discussed are the following: process of initial contact with the child, including reasons for the contact and the intake process (more specifically, the kind of information taken in the initial contact with the child); the referral system, including the presence of a referral network or a multi-disciplinary response team; and the counseling interventions, including counseling techniques, case monitoring and supervision.

Initial Contact with Child Victim-Survivor. In most cases, contact is almost always done by referral by another organization (43%) or the organization itself makes the contact (40%).  There are a few occasions (16.7%) that the child’s family or relatives brought the child to the organization or that children themselves would personally contact the agencies (11.7%).

 Table 3 shows the reasons for initial contact with the children. As expected, a majority of the cases were to provide counseling for the children.  The rest of the dominant reasons all involve for emergency and immediate assistance: protective custody (71.7%); admission to residential care (68.3%); provision of legal assistance (63.3%), and medical assistance (58.3%). These may be the reason why these are the services usually offered by most organizations helping children victims of sexual abuse as seen in Table 2, implying that sexual abuse is seen as a problem that needs immediate help and support. It is also important to note that although rescue is an emergency assistance, only government-run agencies are mandated by law to perform the rescue of children.

 

Table 3. Reasons for Initial Contact

 

%

freq

Counseling

76.7

46

Protective custody

71.7

43

Admission to residential care

68.3

41

Provision of legal assistance

63.3

38

Provision of medical assistance

58.3

35

Rescue

50.0

30

Provision of vocational/educational training

45.0

27

Psychological assessment

35.0

21

Foster care

25.0

15

Psychiatric evaluation

23.3

14

Others (e.g., financial assistance)

23.3

14

 The other services may not be the primary reasons why children come into contact with organizations because they represent more specialized assistance (e.g., psychological assessment and psychiatric evaluation) or more long-term rehabilitative help (e.g., education).

Based on the data, we could categorize the available services for child sexual abuse victims into two: the basic services (those that focus on safety and emergency forms of assistance, and those that most organizations offer) and the more long-term services (those that are more specialized and focus on mental health services, and therefore, cannot be readily offered by most organizations).

The intervention process. The most common mechanism in the intervention process for children is the intake interview (90%). Other common strategies include referral and case study formulation (both at 83.3%).

The next cluster of activities has something to do with the treatment: from formulation to implementation (78.3%). Interestingly, those activities that have something to do with more in-depth assessments, monitoring and evaluation are not common processes. Given the high caseload of individual counselors, this finding is also alarming in the sense that it suggests that counselors do not find time to reflect if their strategies are working or not.

 

Table 4. The Intervention Process

%

freq

intake interview

90.0

57

referral

83.3

54

case study formulation

83.3

50

treatment goal and treatment plan formulation

78.3

47

treatment implementation

78.3

47

assessment session

76.7

46

evaluation

73.3

44

assessment reformulation

61.7

37

The intake.  Of the 57 that reported having an intake interview, only 56 reported using an intake form. What information is collected about the child victim survivor? Table 5 shows the basic features based on the intake form used by CPTCSA and the proportion of respondents who also collect the same information in their intake interviews.

Table 5. The Basic Features of An Intake Form

%

n

name of child

100.0

56

educational attainment

100.0

56

Sex of child

98.2

55

Age of child

98.2

55

date of birth

98.2

55

family composition

98.2

55

place of birth

90.4

54

religion

88.3

53

nature or circumstance of abuse

85.7

48

child’s source of social support

83.9

47

physical or psychological complaints

71.4

40

child’s abilities or interests

67.9

38

information on alleged abuser/perpetrator

67.9

38

report of behavioral changes since the abuse

62.5

35

history of family violence, substance abuse or legal problems

60.7

34

experience of reporting the abuse

42.9

24

experience of previous counseling

30.4

17

factors of not returning for another session

19.6

11

We found that a number of socio-demographic information about the child was deemed important: name of the child, age, sex, religion, education, and birth date. Family composition is the only information about the family that is included on the top of the list.

The next cluster of important information includes: place of birth, religion, nature or circumstance of abuse and child’s source of social support. It is surprising that the report on the circumstance of abuse itself is grouped in this cluster and not included as one of the most important information in the intake form.

Not as frequently collected are information on: physical or psychological complaints, child’s abilities or interests, information on alleged abuser/perpetrator, report of behavioral changes since the abuse, and history of family violence, substance abuse or legal problems. Again, these are important information that could guide a counselor in formulating an intervention plan and yet were not as prioritized as the other sets of information.

Considered to be least important are the following: experience of previous counseling, experience of reporting the abuse, and factors of not returning for another session.

The Multidisciplinary Team and the Referral System. Only 66.7% (40) of the respondents stated that their organizations have their own multidisciplinary response team. The usual composition would be a medical doctor, usually a pediatrician or general practitioner (43.9%), psychologist (38.6%), lawyer (36.8%), police representative (29.8%) psychiatrist (28.1%)

While only 54 mentioned referral as part of their intervention process, 57 respondents reported having a referral network. Table 6 lists the services that respondents refer to other agencies.  Note that two of the top three services (psychological assessment and psychiatric evaluation) were also those that are not usually offered by the respondents’ agencies, hence requiring referral when necessary.

However, it was interesting that provision of legal and medical assistance were also referred to other agencies, although these were reported as offered by most organizations (Table 2) and considered as basic services for initial contact (Table 3). What would account for this inconsistency? While this lack of confirmation is clearly a limitation of the survey method, we may logically surmise that legal and medical assistance that go beyond those which are offered by the organizations are the ones that are referred to other agencies. For example, most of the organizations that referred medical assistance named general and mental hospitals as receiving agencies.

 

Table 6. Services that Respondents Refer to Their Network

%

n

psychological assessment

71.7

43

provision of legal assistance

71.7

43

psychiatric evaluation

70.0

42

provision of medical assistance

68.3

41

temporary shelter

53.3

32

residential care

50.0

30

provision of vocational/educational training

50.0

30

counseling of child victim-survivor

38.3

23

counseling of family

38.3

23

foster care

28.3

17

 Individual and Group Counseling. While 55 respondents (91.7%) reported having counseling services for children (Table 2), interestingly 59 (98.3%) mentioned conducting individual counseling. Aside from that, only 48 (80%) mentioned having a separate private room in their organizations for such purposes. This suggests a lack of privacy when conducting individual sessions with the children for some 20% of the respondents, a situation that could limit the efficacy of the sessions.

How frequent are these sessions done? It is alarming that while most of the respondents reported counseling as a core service, only as the need arises is the modal response (41.7%).  Next would be weekly sessions (20%).  On average, the counselors spend a total of 2.7 hours per child in a week.

Meanwhile, about 71.7% (43) reported conducting group sessions with their clients. And like individual counseling, group counseling is conducted only as the need arises (23.3%) or weekly (21.7%). On average, the counselors spend about 1.7 hours per weekly group session.

 Considering the heavy caseload of most counselors (who not only handle CSA cases), weekly sessions for individual and group counseling sessions would be the most manageable schedule.

Records-Keeping, Case Supervision and Case Conferencing. About 86.7% of the respondents reported their capability of recording their sessions for supervisory purposes while 90% claimed keeping accurate records of their transactions with their clients. On average, they spend about 1.6 hours per case building these records. An interesting follow up study would be an analysis of the case records that these counselors keep.

 About 83.3% reported being supervised by a superior (a higher ranked social worker in the case of government run agencies) or the program or executive director (in non-governmental organizations). Supervision is mostly done for administrative purposes (80%), such as monitoring case load, report writing and other administrative concerns; but not so much for emotional and professional support (63.3%) nor educational purposes (56.7%). These sessions are conducted monthly (26.7%) or as the need arises (25%).  When they have a problem with a case they are handling, a large proportion (91.7%) seeks their supervisor’s help.

Case conferences are reported to be done by 78.3% of the respondents. These conferences are usually done monthly (30%) and last an average of 2.2 hours.


Experiences in Handling Specific Counseling Issues

Given a list of 13 case scenarios, the respondents were asked to indicate which of these they have had experience handling in their career. Incidentally, the top five situations were experienced by more than half of the participants, also indicating the nature of cases most commonly handled by the counselors in the sample.

 

Table 7. Experiences in Handling Counseling Issues

%

freq

Multiple sexual abuse

70.0

42

Refusal to disclose

66.7

40

Refusal to file charges

63.3

38

Violence or aggressive behaviors

61.7

37

Suicide ideation

56.7

34

Age inappropriate sexual language

45.0

27

Clients with depression

36.7

22

Disclosures of female masturbation

30.0

18

Run away clients

30.0

18

Age inappropriate sexual play

26.7

16

Children who molest other children

26.7

16

Disclosures of male masturbation

21.7

13

Use of pornography

8.3

5

What were the common strategies in handling these issues? Again, the modal response would be to set up a counseling session with the particular child. This is done especially with problems that the counselor feel either capable of handling or situations that are less severe. One example of such a situation is counseling a child who has experienced multiple sexual violations. Those who are reluctant to disclose or refuse to file charges are re-assured and comforted during counseling sessions. Further study on counseling methods would be warranted.

However, those situations that are beyond the competence or control of the counselor such as suicide ideation would entail referral or help-seeking (e.g., setting up a case conference).

 

Beliefs on Child Sexual Abuse

 Using a five-point Likert scale, we explored the counselor’s beliefs on child sexual abuse with eight items dealing with: the nature and circumstance of abuse, reasons for the abuse, impact on children, the role of interventions.

Children tend to be truthful about their reports of sexual abuse. Our data showed that the counselors believe that when children report an incidence of sexual abuse, they are telling the truth (M = 3.9, SD = 1.2).  This belief is consistent with several researches that indicate that children rarely lie about or imagine being sexually abused. In fact, what children often do is to minimize and deny, rather than fabricate what has happened to them (Sjoberg & Lindblad, 2002; Lawson, & Chaffin, 1992).

Children-victims of sexual abuse, without any treatment or intervention, cannot overcome the trauma that they have experienced. The respondents have only moderate agreement with this statement (M = 3.4, SD = 1.4). This tells us that some of the counselors also believe that children can survive the trauma of child sexual abuse even without any intervention.

I believe that child sexual abusers are sexually attracted to their victims. The respondents somewhat disagreed with this statement (M = 2.6, SD = 1.23). However, it is also important to point out that a number of our counselors believe in this statement, producing an ambiguous overall position.

Counseling sexually abused children do not require specialized strategies. The respondents strongly disagreed with this statement (M = 1.8, SD =0.9), suggesting that child sexual abuse cases should be handled differently from other cases. In fact, these strategies may make the difference between a child’s disclosing and not disclosing (Wood & Graven, 2000).

In fact, good rapport-building skills may make the difference between a child’s disclosing and not disclosing (Wood & Garven), as “acceptance and validation are crucial to the psychological survival of the victim” (Summit, 1983, p. 53). Requiring specialized strategies, however, would mean that counselors would also need specialized training.

Most abusers are known to their children-victims. The counselors strongly agreed with this statement (M = 4.0, SD = 1.1), and both research and practice support this belief. For example, the 2000 data from the University of the Philippines Child Protection Unit show that 65% of the perpetrators in all cases were family members, with 23% non-familial, 5% unknown and 7% other undisclosed.

Children who are sexually abused will become abusers as adults. The counselors were somewhat conflicted over this statement (M = 3.2, SD = 1.1). While there is widespread belief in a “cycle” of child sexual abuse, there is also very little empirical evidence for this belief. The studies that explored this link, found the cycle more likely among male children than among female children.  For example, one study looked into clinical case note reviews of 843 subjects attending a specialist forensic psychotherapy center (Glasser et al, 2001). The data support the notion of a victim-to-victimizer cycle only in a minority of male perpetrators but not among the female victims studied. Romano & de Luca (1997) found similar trends in their study of male sexual offenders

Incidents of sexual abuse are usually single, violent incidents. Counselors believed that sexual abuse incidents are NOT just single, violent episodes (M = 2.7, SD = 1.2). Again, as borne out by research, sexual abuse could be multiple episodes.

 

Counseling Skills and Counselor Self-Efficacy

 The following section presents the repertoire of counseling skills which the respondents rated based on a seven point scale that measures their self-reported capability. Of the 17 items on the list, only two items were rated poorly: handling cases of sexually abused boys (M= 3.5, SD=1.6) and gay children (M=3.4, SD= 1.7). The low rating may be attributed to a lack of experience in handling such cases.

 

Table 8.  Mean Self-Ratings of Confidence in Performing Specific Counseling Skills

 

Means

SD

Individual counseling with child

5.5

1.2

Networking with other professionals

5.2

1.4

Facilitating group sessions

5.1

1.4

Assessment

5.1

1.3

Handling cases of sexually abused girls

5.1

1.3

Counseling parents or guardians

5.0

1.4

Formulating case management plans

4.9

1.5

Documenting cases

4.9

1.3

Handling cases of adolescents

4.9

1.4

Group counseling

4.7

1.5

Stress management

4.7

1.4

Handling child sexuality

4.7

1.5

Organizing case conferences

4.7

1.5

Handling adolescent sexuality

4.6

1.6

Handling cases of school age children

4.6

1.6

Handling cases of pre-school age children

4.1

1.6

Handling cases of sexually abused boys

3.5

1.6

Handling cases of sexually abused gay children

3.4

1.7

On the other hand, as expected, individual counseling with children was rated as the highest among the skills that counselors felt most capable in doing, a pattern that we have seen to be very consistent. They were also quite confident about managing different types of clients (e.g., girls, adolescents, school-aged children, pre-school children).  Last, they also reported being capable in handling the different phases of the intervention process. The counselors also reported being least confident in handling cases of sexually abused boys or gay children.

Self-efficacy, or more appropriately perceived self-efficacy, is defined as the belief that one is capable of performing in a certain manner to attain certain goals (Ormrod, 2006). In the context of counseling, this would entail the counselor’s perception of his or her competence to conduct counseling. This was explored using seven items measured on a five point Likert scale (see Table 9). For the analysis, negatively stated items were recoded so that higher mean scores suggested higher self-efficacy.

 

Table 9. Mean Ratings on Items on Counselor Self-Efficacy

Mean

SD

I feel that I have adequate fundamental knowledge to do effective counseling.

3.7

1.0

I do not feel that I possess a large enough repertoire of techniques to deal with the different problems that sexually abused clients may present.**

3.0

1.2

I feel that I am an effective counselor of sexually abused children.

3.0

1.2

In working with sexually abused clients, I may have a difficult time viewing situations from their perspective.**

2.9

1.3

I feel competent regarding my abilities to deal with crisis situations that

2.9

1.2

I am likely to impose my personal values on the sexually abused client during the interview.**

2.8

1.2

I feel that my religious beliefs interfere with my ability to counsel sexually abused children.**

2.2

1.2

** recoded items

 

 

Considering the high level of confidence given to specific counseling skills in Table 8, it was surprising that the respondents gave very low ratings to most of the self-efficacy statements. Only possessing adequate knowledge revealed some degree of confidence among the counselors.  A closer look at the data would suggest that many of the counselors feel that they lack the capability of taking the other’s perspective, especially when it conflicts with their personal values and religious beliefs. However, one major limitation of this measure is that many of the respondents left most of the items unanswered which may affect the validity of the results.

 

Attitudes towards Counseling as a Profession

The participants showed very strong positive attitudes towards their current profession as shown in Table 10.  This is an important finding as this would signal the respondents’ current level of satisfaction with the work that they do and also in some way predict openness to more training and desire to provide more quality service.

 

Table 10 . Items on Attitudes towards Counseling as a Profession

Mean

SD

If I had all the money I needed without working, I would probably still continue in my professional discipline.

3.9

1.1

If I could go into a different profession that paid the same, I would do it.

2.7

1.2

If I could do it all over again, I would not choose to work in my professional discipline.

2.1

1.0

I definitely want a career for myself in the professional discipline I am currently in.

2.9

1.3