The relationship between psychological well-being and perceived wellness in graduate-level counseling students

  • Magy Martin Walden University
  • Michel Harris Green Ridge Elementary School
  • Don Martin Youngstown State University
Keywords: Psychology, well-being, students, counseling, psychotherapy, wellness, counseling psychology, counselor education


Research has established that individuals who provide personal therapy to others should have stable personal and professional lives, and possess a keen and accurate perception of wellness. Unfortunately, sometimes students pursuing careers in counseling and psychotherapy have unresolved psychological issues that, if unresolved, could later affect them in their professional lives. Thus, the purpose of the study was to understand psychological well-being and perceived wellness in a sample of graduate students (N = 97) preparing to become counselors in a CACREP-accredited counseling program at a state university in Pennsylvania. It measured the participants' psychological well- being by the Scales of Psychological Well-Being (SPWB) and their perception of wellness by the Perceived Wellness Survey (PWS). Multiple regression analysis revealed a significant relationship between psychological well-being and perceived wellness of counselors-in-training. The results of this study could have implications for additional problems such as the failure of self-care among counselors or the nonexistence or nonuse of adequate wellness assessment tools during counselor development.

DOI: 10.18870/hlrc.v3i2.91

Author Biography

Magy Martin, Walden University


Counseling Psychology


Adams, T. B. (1995). The conceptualization and measurement of wellness (Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, 1995). Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 56(6-B), 3111.

Adams, T. B., Bezner, J. R., Drabbs, M. E., Zambarano, R. J., & Steinhardt, M. A. (2000). Conceptualization and measurement of the spiritual and psychological dimensions of wellness in a college population. Journal of American College Health, 48(4), 165-173.

Adams, T., Bezner, J., Garner, L., & Woodruff, S. (1998). Construct validation of the perceived wellness survey. American Journal of Health Studies, 14(4), 212-226.

Bike, D. H., Norcross, J. C., & Schatz, D. M. (2009). Processes and outcomes of psychotherapists' personal therapy: Replication and extension 20 years later. Psychotherapy Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 46(1), 19-31.

Buchbinder, E. (2007). Being a social worker as an existential commitment: From vulnerability to meaningful purpose. The Humanistic Psychologist, 35(2), 161-174.

Cohen, R. J., & Swerdlik, M. E. (2005). Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to tests and measurement (5th ed.). New York: McGraw- Hill.

Cummins, P. N., Massey, L., & Jones, A. (2007). Keeping ourselves well: Strategies for promoting and maintaining counselor wellness. Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education and Development, 46(1), 35-49.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Facilitating optimal and motivation and psychological well-being across life's domains. Canadian Psychology, 49(1), 14-23.

Figley, C. R. (2002). Compassion fatigue: Psychotherapists' chronic lack of self-care. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(11), 1433-1441.

Harari, M. J., Waehler, C. A., & Rogers, J. R. (2005). An empirical investigation of a theoretically based measure of perceived wellness. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52(1), 93-103.

Hensley, L. G., Smith, S. L., & Thompson, R. W. (2003). Assessing competencies of counselors-in- training: Complexities in evaluating personal and professional development. Counselor Education and Supervision, 42(3), 219-230.

Holden, C. (2005). Survey finds U.S. mental health holds steady. Science, 308(5728), 1527.

Hunsley, J., & Lee, C. M. (2007). Research-informed benchmarks for psychological treatments: Efficacy studies, effectiveness studies, and beyond. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 38(1), 21-33.

Johnson, W. B., Elman, N. S., Forrest, L., Robiner, W. N., Rodolfa, E., & Schaffer, J. B. (2008). Addressing professional competence problems in trainees: Some ethical considerations. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 39(6), 589-599.

Lawson, G. (2007). Counselor wellness and impairment: A national survey. Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education and Development, 46(1), 20-34.

Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S. (2007). Therapy work therapists' positive and negative well-being.
Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 26
(3), 385-403.

Meyer, D., & Ponton, R. (2006). The healthy tree: A metaphorical perspective of counselor well-being. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 28(3), 189-201.

Minami, T., Wampold, B. E., Serlin, R. C., Kircher, J. C., & Brown, G. S. (2007). Benchmarks for psychotherapy efficacy in adult major depression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75(2), 232-243.

Myers, J. E., Mobley, A. K., & Booth, C. S. (2003). Wellness of counseling students: Practicing what we preach. Counselor Education and Supervision, 42(4), 264-274.

Paris, E., Linville, D., & Rosen, K. (2006). Marriage and family therapist interns' experiences of growth. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 32, 45-57.

Patrick, H., Knee, C. R., Canevello, A., & Lonsbary, C. (2007). The role of need fulfillment in relationship functioning and well-being: A self-determination theory perspective. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 92(3), 434-457.

Patrick, P. K. S. (2007). Contemporary issues in counseling. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Pattison, S., & Harris, B. (2006). Counseling children and young people: A review of the evidence for its effectiveness. Counseling & Research, 6(4), 233-237.

Polson, M., & Nida, R. (1998). Program and trainee lifestyle stress: A survey of AAMFT students members. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 24, 95-112.

Racusin, G. R., Abramowitz, S. I., & Winter, W. D. (1981). Becoming a therapist: Family dynamics and career choice. Professional Psychology, 12(2), 271-279.

Radeke, J. T., & Mahoney, M. J. (2000). Comparing the personal lives of psychotherapists and research psychologists. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 31(1), 82-84.

Roach, L. F., & Young, M. E. (2007). Do counselor education programs promote wellness in their students? Counselor Education & Supervision, 47(1), 29-45.

Rogers, C. R. (1961). On becoming a person: A therapist’s view of psychotherapy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Rogers, C. R. (1980). A way of being. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 576), 1069-1081.

Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. H. (2006). Best news yet on the six-factor model of well-being. Social Science Research, 35, 1103-1119.

Ryff, C. D., & Singer, B. H. (2008). Know thyself and become what you are: A eudaimonic approach to psychological well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9(1), 13-39.

Sheldon, K. M., & Kasser, T. (2001). Goals, congruence, and positive well-being: New empirical support for humanistic theories. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 41(1), 30-50.

Soni, A. (2009). The five most costly conditions, 1996 and 2006: Estimates for the U.S. civilian
Erlbaum. noninstitutionalized population.
(Statistical Brief #248). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Retrieved from

Stebnicki, M. A. (2000). Stress and grief reactions among rehabilitation professionals: Dealing effectively with empathy fatigue. Journal of Rehabilitation, 66(1), 23-29.

Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Wiseman, H., & Shefler, G. (2001). Experienced psychoanalytically oriented therapists’ narrative accounts of their personal therapy: Impacts on professional and personal development. Psychotherapy, 38, 129-141.

Wampold, B. E. (2001). The great psychotherapy debate: Models, methods, and findings. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Wolgien, C. S., & Coady, N. F. (1997). Good therapists’ beliefs about the development of their helping ability: The wounded healer paradigm. Clinical Supervisor, 15(2), 19-35.

Young, M. E., & Lambie, G. W. (2007). Wellness in school and mental health settings. Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education and Development, 46, 9-16.