Rehabilitation counselor supervisors’ perceptions of counselor professional dispositions for rural service delivery

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Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin


Professional dispositions are recognized as a fundamental to counselor professional practice, but this construct remains largely undefined. This qualitative study explored the professional dispositions that rehabilitation counselors should demonstrate for effective service delivery, particularly within rural areas. The researchers conducted semi-structured interviews to gather perspectives on the conceptualization and identification of professional dispositions in the field. Participants for this study were practicing rehabilitation counseling supervisors (n = 14) from five states and largely represented state/federal vocational rehabilitation agencies (n= 12). A preliminary, field-driven definition of the term professional disposition is presented, and primary dispositional categories are identified. Findings indicated three major dispositional themes that are necessary and generalizable to rehabilitation service delivery: traditional rehabilitation counseling values, professional attitude and conduct, and ethically principled behavior. A theme discrete to rural rehabilitation is also identified, community oriented. These domains reflect a focus on the client, the agency, and the community. The concept of ethically principled practice was a bridging theme that connects and is interwoven across the three main themes. Implications for practice and future research suggestions are also discussed.


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