Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Level of accurate empathy of 19 paraprofessional telephone crisis counselors was examined following participation in either an apprenticeship or didactic-experiential training program. The apprenticeship program consisted of 32 hours of on-the-job experience supervised by an experienced volunteer counselor and 28 hours of training provided by crisis center staff members. The didactic-experiential program consisted of 60 hours of preservice training provided by the center's staff. Prior to training, participants in both groups were administered the Short Dogmatism Scale and the Adult Self Expression Scale, a measure of assertiveness, as well as questionnaires to assess demographic variables, knowledge of crisis theory and Center procedures, and empathy skills. Following training, pseudocalls were administered; trainees' responses to three test statements included in the pseudocall were scored on the basis of the Truax and Carkhuff Accurate Empathy Scale. Also eight experienced counselors who served as "apprentice-helpers" completed the Attitude Toward Any Occupation Questionnaire before and after their participation as apprentice-helpers. Further, emotional intensity of rehearsal tapes of the three individuals who made the pseudocalls was rated by 10 mental health professionals. Results of pre-training measures indicated that the apprenticeship group had significantly more males, was significantly more knowledgeable of crisis theory and Center procedures, and was significantly more assertive. Also, a post facto comparison of individuals who completed training with those who dropped out showed that "completers" scored significantly higher on the pre-training knowledge of Center procedures measure. Importantly, post-training results indicated no significant difference between accurate empathy level of individuals who completed apprenticeship or didactic-experiential training; also, no interactions between levels of dogmatism, and assertiveness, and type of training were obtained. Additionally, no significant difference between pre- and post-apprentice-helper satisfaction scores was obtained. Finally, one of the "pseudocallers" was rated as significantly more sad, depressed, and lonely than the other two. However, raters' perceptions of emotional intensity expressed by pseudocallers varied significantly on the following dimensions. Sadness, frustration, loneliness, depression, and hopelessness.