Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Center for Psychological Studies

First Advisor

Ralph E. Cash

Second Advisor

Sarah A. Valley-Gray

Third Advisor

Barry Nierenberg


Clinical Competency, Counseling Self-Efficacy, Role-Play, Simulated Patients


The efficacy of using simulated patients (SPs) to train clinical interviewing skills in pre-practicum- and practicum-level mental health clinicians was evaluated compared to the use of traditional role-play with peers. Participants, regardless of group, engaged in a 15-minute videotaped simulated clinical session with an SP as a pre- and post-test measurement and completed five laboratory sessions, either utilizing role-play with peers or with an SP. Participants' counseling self-efficacy (CSE), measured by the Counseling Self-Estimate Inventory (COSE); state anxiety, measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Version Y-1 (STAI Y-1); and self-reflective anxiety, measured by the Fear of Negative Evaluation scale (FNE), were assessed pre- and post-intervention. An inventory to evaluate participants' clinical competency acquisition, the Skills in Psychological Interviewing: Clinical Evaluation Scale (SPICES), was developed for the study. All participants, regardless of group, improved significantly on all measurements except fear of negative evaluation. No differences were observed between groups on outcome variables. However, all participants' pre- and post-test interaction with the SP may account for these improvements. CSE, state anxiety, and fear of negative evaluation were found to account for a small amount of variance in clinical competency acquisition in this study. The piloted SPICES scale exhibited good validity and strong inter-rater reliability estimates. Results support the efficacy of these training methods in decreasing student clinicians' anxiety levels and in increasing students' CSE and skill acquisition; furthermore, a clinical competency measure is introduced.

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