Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology


Over the past thirty years there has been a growing awareness in the psychological community that a counselor's personal values, including religious values, influences the therapy relationship. Despite this awareness, few counselors have made it a practice of sharing their value orientation with their clients. One way of helping clients make informed choices about whether they want to enter therapy with a certain counselor is to give them information before therapy begins about a counselor's personal values that may influence the therapy relationship. This study partially replicates the work of Lewis and Epperson ( l 991) and shows that pre therapy information is an effective way of informing clients about the value orientation of therapists. The sample used for this study were 195 students taken from three post secondary institutions associated with Christianity. Ninety-five percent of the participants identified with Christianity. Participants were randomly assigned to three experimental conditions. Assignment was based upon the pretherapy value information they received (Secular/humanistic, Traditional, or Christian) and their value orientation (Evangelical vs. Other). Participants were assessed about whether they could perceive the counselor's value orientation accurately based on the information they reviewed. They were then asked whether they would be willing to see this counselor for a variety of presenting problems. Results were analyzed using multivariate and univariate analyses of variance. The results show that clients could identify the counselors' values accurately. Participants perceived a significant difference between the Christian counselor and the Humanistic counselor. Evangelicals preferred the Christian counselor for most problems while Others were more diverse in their preferences of a counselor. Prior research (Epperson & Lewis, 1987; Lewis & Epperson, 1991) showed Traditional counselors were preferred to Christian or feminist counselors; they concluded that revealing personal values may prompt prospective clients to seek help from others. The present results suggest that evangelical Christian clients may prefer counselors who express similar explicit personal values, while other clients may prefer counselors with various personal values depending on their specific presenting problem. The study contributes to the growing number of empirical studies showing that pretherapy value information helps clients make informed choices about whether or not to enter therapy with a specific therapist.

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