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Emotions are essential ingredients to the human experience. How one feels influences how one thinks and behaves. The processing capacity for emotion-related information can be thought of as emotional intelligence (Salovey & Mayer, 1997). Regulating emotions and coping with emotional experiences are among the most common reasons individuals seek counseling. Counselors must be uniquely equipped in processing and managing emotional content. Counselor’s skills and abilities related to emotional intelligence are vital to effective counseling. There is indication that confidence in one’s counseling skills may be equally as important as competence in these skills. Counselor self-efficacy, one’s belief in one’s ability to perform counseling activities, has been shown to relate to counselor performance and ability and increased clinical experience has been associated with higher levels of counselor self-efficacy (Larson & Daniels, 1998). One’s emotion-related information processing abilities and one’s clinical experiences may contribute to one’s perception of one’s competencies and abilities as a counselor.
However, this relationship may not be a simple cause-and-effect association. Individuals may possess a certain aptitude (emotional intelligence) and not perceive themselves as competent as counselors. Resilience, one’s ability to “bounce-back” and persevere through adversity may moderate the relation between emotional intelligence and counselor self-efficacy (Wagnild, 1990).
The current study explored the relations among clinical experience, emotional intelligence and resilience in predicting self-efficacy. In addition, whether resilience would moderate the relationship between emotional intelligence and counselor self-efficacy was examined. Eighty counselor trainees enrolled in CACREP-accredited master’s programs participated in this study online. They completed a demographics form, the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT; Mayer, et al., 2002), the Counselor Activities Self-Efficacy Scales (CASES; Lent et al., 2003), and The Resilience Scale (RS; Wagnild & Young, 1993). Multiple hierarchical regressions revealed clinical experience (specifically a completed practicum), emotional intelligence, and resilience predicted counselor self-efficacy. The moderation was not significant. These findings support the value of the exploration of clinical experience, emotional intelligence and resilience in developing counselor self-efficacy. A more comprehensive discussion of the findings, limitations, and implications of the current study as well as suggested direction for future research are discussed herein.