VISTAS Counselor Professional and Career Development

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Transitioning From Academic to Clinical Practice

Quoc D. “Chance” Tran and Richard C. Henriksen, Jr.


The experiences of six counseling students as they encountered their first clinical practice was explored in a qualitative study at a university in the Southwestern United States. This phenomenological study examined the struggles and overall experiences of these students as they transitioned from academic coursework to clinical practice. Five themes emerged from the data analysis: inside my head, the relationship, uncertainty, supervision, and practical experience. Analysis of the data found students experienced difficulty using counseling skills due to lack of confidence and practical experience with clinical skills. Participant themes also supported the importance of supervision, the client-counselor relationship, and the need for ongoing development of counseling skills and identity.

Keywords: counselor, supervision, counselor development, clinical experience, practicum

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