University of Missouri - Saint Louis

The Graduate School


An oral examination in defense of the dissertation for the degree

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Deirdre J. Walker
M. Ed., December 2006, University of Missouri-St. Louis
B.A. May, 2002, University of Missouri-St. Louis

A Behavior Analysis of Counselor Supervision: A Multiple Baseline Design



This paper describes a concurrent multiple baseline across participants study that measured the effects of behavior analytic techniques to teach three counselor trainees basic counseling skills. The literature surrounding the development of basic counseling skills is reviewed in addition to the use of single case designs in counseling and counselor supervision. The literature surrounding combining behavior analysis and counseling research methodologies is also examined. Limitations of the study are discussed as well as potential areas for future research. Results indicate that a behavior analytic approach to basic skills training is an effective means for increasing targeted basic counseling skills. The supervisory working alliance between the principal investigator and all participants was measured and consistently rated very high throughout the course of the study, and implications for intensive skills training are discussed in light of a strong working alliance between the supervisor and supervisees. Behavior analytic learning techniques that may have impacted supervisee learning in this study are also discussed. One unexpected finding is that two participants in the study were noted to lose skills during baseline before beginning the intervention phase. In addition, the use of asking open questions and paraphrasing were the two easiest basic skills to acquire, while the use of silence was the most difficult counseling skill to acquire.


Date: November 15, 2012

Time: 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Place:359 Marillac Hall


Defense of Dissertation Committee


Dr. Lee Nelson (Co-Advisor)

Dr. Susan Kashubeck-West (Co-Advisor)


Dr. April Regester

Dr. R. Rocco Cottone