Bringing it home: Examining the challenges of integrating western counseling in Turkey
Ulus, Ihsan Cagatay
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An ever-increasing number of international counselor education students are faced with the challenge of meaningfully incorporating and translating international training experiences to counseling settings in their home countries. There has been limited research on the returning process of international counseling students and specifically on their ‘adaptation and re-integration’ experiences in the home counseling context. The primary purpose of this study was to explore the challenges, and experiences of current doctoral level Turkish counselors-in-training (TCITs) who are studying in the United States (U.S.) and Turkish counselor educators (TCEs) who previously trained in the U.S. and are presently teaching and practicing in Turkey. A panel of eighteen (18) experts, including both TCITs and TCEs, participated in the study. Participants responded to two rounds of questions based on a modified Delphi method procedure. The questions addressed knowledge, skills and awareness of core counselor education competencies and the transferability, applicability and usefulness of content as experienced in U.S. settings to counseling contexts in Turkey. The initial round of questions focused on perception of five main essential counseling areas: (a) multicultural constructs, (b) theoretical approaches, (c) developmental growth/wellness, (d) organization/professional development, and (e) counseling practice/teaching/research. Thematic content analysis using open coding generated 37 themes which were used to formulate the questions for round two. A second round involved exploration of consensus on qualitative themes emerged from round 1 responses. The findings of the study indicated that both groups of panel experts, particularly, identified the following most important themes regarding to Turkish counseling context: multiculturalism, counseling profession, supervision, counseling theories and basic skills, ethics, counseling training and clinic, and bureaucratic issues. The results of this present study, which emerged from the discussion based on the direction of the modified Delphi method, addressed several implications and recommendations for both counselor educators, who prepare international students and international counselors-in-training.