The Professional Dispositions Overview

Professional Dispositions

A significant component of both the COAMFTE and CACREP standards is the requirement for counseling faculty to evaluate the academic and overall developmental progress of a learner, as well as your personal suitability and fitness for the profession. 


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These standards require faculty to ensure that matriculating learners are psychologically stable, within reason. By the nature of the profession, counselors must be reasonably psychologically stable. It is impossible for counselors to facilitate change in others if we need to do the same for ourselves. Additionally, as gatekeepers of the counseling profession, faculty are required to make sure that learners are not psychologically impaired, to prevent potential client harm.


You are evaluated on overall academic progress, psychological stability, development of necessary clinical skills, and establishment of a professional identity. In addition, you are evaluated on the level and depth of your self-awareness, ability to step outside of your comfort zone to work on your personal growth, and maintenance of professional boundaries with clients. Membership in professional associations, embracing all forms of cultural diversity, and following the professional ethical codes and standards of practice are also continually evaluated.


The Counsel for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) defines professional dispositions as “the commitments, characteristics, values, beliefs, interpersonal functioning, and behaviors that influence the counselor’s professional growth and interactions with clients and colleagues” (Professional Dispositions, 2015). One might think of this as a professional way of being and knowing, if you will, that signifies the level of competence and awareness tantamount to being an effective practitioner. Below you will find a description of each disposition. 


Your ALR meeting and Unit 10 assignment will largely be based on these dispositions; before meeting with your FAF advisor, please review them and generate 2-3 questions about the dispositions to discuss with your advisor. At least one of the goals you co-create with your advisor will stem from the dispositions. 


Note: You will notice these dispositions mentioned in the CEU and FAF Learner Orientations.  In addition, you can find information on the ongoing evaluative process in Units 2 and 3 of the FAF courseroom.



Counselor Education Learner Dispositions

Ethical Conduct

Exhibits a thorough knowledge of and behaves in accordance with professional ethical standards. Integrates legal, ethical, and professional behavior in all activities.

Culturally Relevant Interpersonal Skills

Interacts with others in a manner that evidences emotional awareness, emotional control, and mutual respect. Works cooperatively with others (peers, faculty, supervisors). Clearly communicates ideas and concepts to encourage receptiveness of message. Provides objective feedback to peers grounded in theory and scholarly research.

Self-Awareness and Self-Management

Awareness of personal needs, values, strengths, challenges, feelings, and motivations that impact effectiveness as a counselor-in-training. Experiences self as a person of worth and value. Exhibits tolerance for stress and frustration. Recognizes and appropriately meets personal needs (physical, mental, social, spiritual, and so on). Completes work by deadlines. Proactively reaches out to faculty or supervisors when challenges arise. 

Openness to Feedback

Appropriately receives and uses constructive feedback from peers, faculty, staff, and clinical supervisors.

Embraces Diversity

Demonstrates cultural sensitivity and tolerance. Respects differences to multiple areas of identity including but not limited to race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, and politics. Is aware of own identity and engages in ongoing self-discovery.

Alignment to Profession

Demonstrates motivation to pursue graduate study in chosen field. Rationale for pursuing chosen field aligns with values and mission of the profession. Goals for professional development are appropriate for the chosen field.




Professional dispositions. (2015).  Retrieved from


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