Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Curriculum & Instruction

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Herbert Exum, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Roger Boothroyd, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tony Tan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Cynthia Topdemir, Ph.D.


Accrediting Bodies, Family Systems, School Counseling Curriculum


This study examined the perceptions of Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) master's-level school counseling program coordinators and faculty members about the importance and relevance of family systems theory and techniques coursework in their program curriculum. Family-systems theory coursework is lacking in two-thirds of those accredited programs, although mandated by their major accrediting body, CACREP. CACREP issued curriculum standards and guidelines to ensure proper training of school-counseling students and the American School Counselor Association--the foundation that expands the image and influence of professional school counselors through advocacy, leadership, collaboration, and systemic change--has issued guidelines for the training and practice of school counselors in family systems. The ASCA goal is to ensure school-counseling professionals are adequately and appropriately trained to work with children and adolescents in the school setting. Participants were 45 chairs, coordinators, or faculty members of master's-level school counseling programs from across the United States who consented to participate. Five factors influenced perceptions of the relevancy of family-systems theory for school-counseling-program respondents: the status of a family-systems course in the school-counseling program (stand-alone or not stand-alone), respondent's role as a coordinator or faculty member, single or double accreditation, formal training in family-systems theory, and attitude about family-systems theory as an enhancement to professional development. Results from other analyses included internal influences, external influences, past and future influences, demographic distinctions, limitations, suggestions for future research, and implications for the field.