This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Counseling Native Americans: Clinician’s Perceptions of Counseling Competencies and Characteristics Essential to Working with Native American Clients




Parrish, Mark

Type of Degree



Counseling Psychology
Counselor Education
School Psychology


The purpose of this study was to investigate the competencies of knowledge, skill and awareness perceived by mental health clinicians as essential in providing mental health services to Native Americans, Alaskan Natives and First Nations. This study considers previous qualitative findings related to 3 macro-competencies, (1) knowledge, (2) skills and (3) awareness, and 16 micro-competencies which were found significant in serving this unique population. 79 Native American and non-Native American mental health clinicians responded quantitatively and qualitatively to a 51 question survey. The survey focused on the clinicians’ perceptions related to issues including cultural, historical, contemporary, healing, and counseling skills which impact the effectiveness of culturally sensitive mental health services. The survey questions were subjected to reliability assessment, and a multivariate (MANOVA), univariate, post hoc and correlation analyses were performed to examine the differences of perceptions between ethnic and mainstream clinicians. Although no significant differences resulted related to the ethnicity of the clinicians at the macro level, some groups were found to differ related to their perception of the importance of specific micro-competencies. All groups supported the importance of the 3 macro-competencies and the 16 micro-competencies investigated in the survey. Additionally, the qualitative responses offer a wealth of rich information related to experiential insights into serving this unique population and further supports the efficacy of the macro- and micro-competencies upon which this study was focused.