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Conference Proceeding

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In a systematic replication of Lewis and Epperson (1991), 195 students randomly received Secular/humanist, Traditional, or Christian pretherapy value information. Participants reported their perceptions of the counselor’s values and willingness to see the counselor for a variety of personal problems. Participants perceived a significant difference in personal values among the counselors. Both main and interaction effects were significant for willingness to see the counselor: Evangelicals generally expressed more willingness to see the Christian counselor, while Others’ willingness was problem-specific. Epperson (Epperson & Lewis, 1987; Lewis and Epperson, 1991) found traditional counselors preferred over Christian or feminist counselors. In contrast, the present results indicate that presenting problem, and client personal values, and therapist personal values interact, and that Evangelical Christian clients may be more attracted to counselors who espouse similar Christian values. It is tentatively concluded that pretherapy value information can help clients make informed choices about whether to enter therapy with a specific therapist. Providing such information is an ethically-sensitive response to the spiritual concerns of these clients.