Choosing the Theory: Factors Influencing Early Career Professional Counselors: An Exploratory Factor Analysis


Todd Linder

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)



Date of Award

Spring 2023


The purpose of this study was to collect and analyze data on the existence and interpretability of factors that could contribute to the selection of a theoretical orientation by early career licensed professional counselors. Previous studies conducted on this topic have been primarily qualitative in design and phenomenological in nature, warranting this quantitative project. To collect this data, the researcher created the Theoretical Choice Factor Itemization survey to identify those factors pertinent to early career counselor theoretical choice selection and provide a foundation for continued research on this topic. Following a pilot study including a small sample of counselors (n=5), the researcher utilized Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) with a larger sample size (n=77) to determine the existence and interpretability of factors in the participants' responses. Upon survey analysis, the researcher identified six key components, including academic and supervision experiences, intimate relationship experiences, clinical setting experiences, spiritual experiences, and applied counseling experiences, each presenting with eigenvalues of over 2.0 from 13 constructs. Study findings evidenced implications for refining academic and supervision practices surrounding early counselor theory selection.


Zaidy MohdZain

Subject Categories

Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences