Development of the psychologist and counsellor self-efficacy scale

Helen M. G. Watt*, John Ehrich, Sandra E. Stewart, Tristan Snell, Micaela Bucich, Nicky Jacobs, Brett Furlonger, Derek English

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to develop a professional self-efficacy scale for counsellors and psychologists encompassing identified competencies within professional standards from national and related international frameworks for psychologists and counsellors. Design/methodology/approach: An initial opportune sample of postgraduate psychology and counselling students (n=199) completed a ten-minute self-report survey. A subsequent independent sample (n=213) was recruited for cross-validation. Findings: A series of exploratory analyses, consolidated through confirmatory factor analyses and Rasch analysis, identified a well-functioning scale composed of 31 items and five factors (research, ethics, legal matters, assessment and measurement, intervention). Originality/value: The Psychologist and Counsellor Self-Efficacy Scale (PCES) appears a promising measure, with potential applications for reflective learning and practice, clinical supervision and professional development, and research studies involving psychologists’ and counsellors’ self-perceived competencies. It is unique in being ecologically grounded in national competency frameworks, and extending previous work on self-efficacy for particular competencies to the set of specified attributes outlined in Australian national competency documents. The PCES has potential utility in a variety of applications, including research about training efficacy and clinical supervision, and could be used as one component of a multi-method approach to formative and summative competence assessment for psychologists and counsellors. The scale may be used to assess students’ perceived competencies relative to actual competency growth against national standards, and to identify trainees’ and practitioners’ self-perceived knowledge deficits and target areas for additional training.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)485-509
    Number of pages25
    JournalHigher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2019


    • self-efficacy
    • competencies
    • scale development
    • psychologist
    • counsellor


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