This paper posits that to develop empathy, similar to cross-cultural counseling competencies, counselor trainees should be exposed to life experiences of various clients, especially those deemed challenging, and which counselor trainees indicate no desire to work. As it is impractical to expect counselors to experience every type of client, learning about populations through narrative or film may be an option (Gladstein & Feldstein, 1983; Kurkijan & Banks, 1978; Pearson, 2003). Specifically, empathy in masters level counselor trainees both pre and post exposure to narrative and film depictions of violent juvenile offenders was explored. Results indicated that exposure to juvenile offenders through film, narrative, and a combination of film and narrative interventions increased positive attitudes towards offenders and enhanced various components of empathy felt by counselor trainees. Thus, simple and short interventions have the capacity to increase empathy of counselor trainees for specific populations of challenging clients.


Diane H. Coursol

First Committee Member

Karin M. Lindstrom Bremer

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Counseling and Student Personnel



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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