Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Education, Counseling

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

R. Rocco Cottone, Ph.D.


Susan Kashubeck-West

Jennifer McAfee-Maag

Janice Munro


Paradigm adherence has been developed as a meta-theoretical approach to organize and to classify the multitude of different theories of counseling and psychotherapy. Four paradigms have been identified in the literature: The Organic-Medical, The Psychological, The Systemic-Relational, and the Social Constructivist paradigms. Only one other study to date has examined paradigm adherence of a group (Marriage and Family Therapists) and how it can be of value to the mental health professionals. This study examined the relationship between paradigm adherence and different characteristics of mental health professionals in the state of Missouri. In this study, Licensed Psychologists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, and Licensed Professional Counselors were surveyed to investigate if there was paradigm alignment across professions. Demographic variables, supervisory experiences, and personality variables were also assessed to explore any correlates with paradigm adherence. Chi square analyses revealed that there was no significant relationship between paradigm adherence and the profession of the respondents. Chi square analyses also indicated that no relationship existed between paradigm adherence and one’s supervisory experiences. Results of a discriminant analysis revealed that demographic variables did not contribute to discriminating among the paradigm adherence groups. Results on the personality assessment indicated that individuals that adhered to the Social Constructivist paradigm scored significantly higher on the Honesty-Humility scale than adherents to the Psychological paradigm, but there were no significant group differences on all six personality scales combined. Implications and suggestions for future research are provided.

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