Public Perceptions of Counsellors: a Survey of Knowledge and Attitudes to Counsellors on the Gold Coast.

  • Carol Agnew

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


his survey sought to determine the public perceptions and knowledge of counsellors on the Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales. Comprising of two studies, this paper extended on previous research conducted by Rogers and Sharpley (1983), Sharpley, Rogers and Evans (1984), and Sharpley (1986).Study I included a representative sample of 226 members of the general public,plus a sample of 105 medical practitioners. Respondents were asked to complete a 24-item questionnaire regarding their perceptions and knowledge of counsellors. Four questions were designed to investigate whether or not distinctions could be made between counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers. An additional seven questions were included for only medical practitioners to answer and sought to determine whether or not, and under what circumstances, medical practitioners would refer to a counsellor. These questions were also concerned with establishing what value medical practitioners would place on having a counsellor working as a team member of their practice.The results of Study I indicated that both the general public and medical practitioners viewed counsellors positively. Results further showed that the confusion and lack of knowledge reported by respondents from the last Australian study conducted by Sharpley (1986), was no longer evident.
Date of Award4 Oct 2003
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorChristopher Sharpley (Supervisor)

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