White Counselor Trainees' Racial Identity and Working Alliance Perceptions

Alan Burkard, Marquette University
Joseph Ponterotto, Fordham University
Amy Reynolds, Fordham University
Vincent Alfonso, Fordham University

Journal of Counseling and Development, Vol. 77, No. 3 (Summer 1999): 324-329. DOI: 10.1002/j.1556-6676.1999.tb02455.x. © American Counseling Association 1999.


Racial identity has been theorized to significantly affect cross-racial counseling relationships (Helms, 1984, 1995). This study examined the direct impact of White racial identity of 124 counselor trainees on working alliance formation in a same-racial and cross-racial vicarious counseling analogue. Regardless of the race of the client, disintegration and reintegration attitudes negatively affected working alliance ratings, and pseudoindependent and autonomy attitudes positively affected working alliance ratings. Implications for counseling, supervision, training, and research are discussed.