Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2013

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Rehabilitation and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Wadsworth, John S

First Committee Member

Maki, Dennis R

Second Committee Member

Ansley, Timothy N

Third Committee Member

Estrada-Hernandez, Noel

Fourth Committee Member

Wood, Susannah M


The purpose of this study was to discover the impact of counselors' note-taking on their interview recall, clinical judgment, and general judgment of clients. The notes taken by the subjects were analyzed to discover the role that notes play in the counseling process. Thirteen master's students in the Rehabilitation Counseling program were recruited as participants. The results indicate that counselors' note-taking does not enhance their ability to recall but reviewing complete notes does. In addition, counselors' capability of clinical judgment is not different whether they take notes and review, take notes but do not review, do not take notes, or review complete notes. There is no evidence showing that note-taking helps or impedes counselors from making accurate clinical judgment. The qualitative analysis of the notes indicates that subjects do not take notes with observable organization and enough content. Thus, the result suggests that counselors do not spend much cognitive effort on taking notes and do not utilize note-taking as a strategy to manage information. Moreover, when subjects refrain from taking notes, they can perform on recall and clinical judgment as well as when they take notes in the session and when they review complete notes. Thus, it is suggested that novice counselors would be better off not taking notes if they cannot take complete notes. However, there is also some evidence suggesting that counselors may perceive the client differently when they do not take notes in the session. The results suggest that counselor educators can develop strategies for counselors-in-training to create complete notes. Future research can recruit experienced counselors as participants for comparison.


counselor, counselor education, note-taking


vii, 97 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 93-97).


Copyright 2013 Chu-Ling Lo