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Counseling, Counselor Training


Recent trends in many counseling training programs have reflected a proliferation of students entering graduate school directly after completing an undergraduate program. This proliferation has resulted in an increase in the number of emerging adult counseling students. Emerging adulthood is the term used to describe the ages of 18-25, and is unique in that individuals in this age group identify subjectively with aspects of both adolescence and adulthood without fully identifying with either. Lacking a crystallized adult identity poses unique challenges for these students, particularly with regard to developing professional identity and self-efficacy. While many emerging adults view these challenges positively and as opportunities for growth, for others they can provoke feelings of upheaval, uncertainty, distress, and fraudulence. It is important that counselor educators understand emerging adults’ unique needs and challenges and how these may present themselves in training situations such as classroom learning, initial exposure to working with clients, and supervision.

In this presentation, the presenter will summarize research he is conducting regarding well-being and psychological distress among emerging adults, and how this research can be practically applied to educating and supervising emerging adult counseling students. Clinicians, higher educators, and supervisors working with emerging adults will gain an understanding of the psychological implications of emerging adult transitional and developmental processes. The presentation will focus on how these processes present themselves in training settings, and will provide intervention strategies educators and supervisors can use with their emerging adult students and supervisees.


Presented at the 2012 Bi-Annual Western Association of Counselor Education and Supervision Conference, Portland, OR.

*The presentation includes the alternative title: Emerging Adults in the Classroom and Counseling Office: Understanding Emerging Adult Counseling Students

* At the time of the conference Joel Lane was affiliated with Oakland University

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