National Counselor Examination
The National Board for Certified Counselors has developed a comprehensive assessment program to accredit individuals as National Certified Counselors. The cornerstone exam of the assessment program is the National Counselor Examination. The NCE exam measures the knowledge and skills the NBCC believes are essential for successful practice as a counselor. More specifically, the content of the NCE can be separated into the following eight categories: human growth and development; social and cultural foundations; helping relationships; group work; career and lifestyle development; appraisal; research and program evaluation; and professional orientation and ethics. It is also possible to divide the content of the NCE exam into five essential work behaviors: fundamentals of counseling; assessment and career counseling; group counseling; programmatic and clinical intervention; and professional practice issues.
The NBCC aims for the content of the NCE exam to be general; in other words, the NCE test should not contain any information that is only pertinent to specialized workers. The exam is composed of 200 multiple-choice questions, and usually takes about four hours to complete. Forty of the questions on the exam are designated as pretest questions; these questions are being tested to prepare future versions of the exam and do not contribute to the final score. It will be impossible to distinguish between regular questions and pretest questions. The National Counselor Examination is administered at testing centers around the United States. Interested individuals should refer to the NBCC website to find the nearest testing location.
NCE Practice Questions
1. Your client shares with you her ongoing state of conflict with her brother. You encourage her to act out her thoughts and feelings as if you, her counselor, were actually her brother. What type of therapeutic theory are you using?
A. classical conditioning
D. aversive conditioning
2. Your teen client (who is usually quite slovenly), tells you that he’s willing to shower, comb his hair, and dress well on Friday nights because it gains him the attention of a girl he likes. What operant conditioning principle is at work here?
A. self-instructional principle
B. token economy principle
C. Premack principle
D. self-efficacy principle
3. Who theorized about “primary narcissism”?
4. Raymond Cattell’s “factor analysis” theory refers to three types of traits. What are they?
A. source, surface, and unique
B. original, modulating, and final
C. new, old, and resolved
D. complex, simple, and modulated
5. B.F. Skinner found that deprivation will ____ the probability of an operant.
C. not affect
D. sporadically alter
6. Susie is playing with blocks and is trying to build a tower; she tries but cannot build a tower. Susie’s mother helps her build a four-block tower. Later, Susie builds a four-block tower without her mother’s help. According to Vygotsky, the inability to build the tower on her own is known as:
B. the zone of proximal development
C. assisted discovery
D. learning by imitation
7. Josie likes to play peek-a-boo with her little brother, Jack. According to Piaget, Jack finds this game fun because he has acquired ____________, which is one of the primary tasks of the sensorimotor stage of cognitive development.
B. dual representation
C. object permanence
8. Connie tells each of her clients that the best way she can help them is to attempt to look at the world from the client’s point of view. This counselor is taking the _________ perspective.
9. When working with individuals from different cultures, the effective counselor may not:
A. use language similar to the client’s
B. maintain good eye contact at all times
C. be cognizant of the context
D. honor religious beliefs
10. Systematic desensitization and “flooding” are ___________ therapies.
Answers & Explanations
1. The answer is C, “Gestalt.” One of the techniques of Gestalt therapy is role playing. Since Gestalt therapy stresses the importance of facing feelings, role playing is an effective way to explore and express feelings toward another without their actual presence. In role playing, the counselor acts the part of someone the client is in conflict with, providing the client with the opportunity to say and do what they would want to if the person were really present. Sometimes the roles will be reversed in role playing as well, depending upon the needs of the situation. Role playing is a way to deal with feelings in a positive manner, with an ultimate goal of ensuring that feelings do not control the individual.
2. The answer is C, “Premack Principle.” Premack’s Principle of reinforcement was developed by David Premack in 1965 out of a study completed with monkeys. It states that high-probability behaviors (HPB) will reinforce low-probability behaviors (LPB). In the case of this question, your client doesn’t like to shower and dress well. However, he is willing to do so because of the attention it gives him from a girl he likes. In other words, he is willing to engage in behavior he doesn’t like in order to get something that he does. The Premack Principle has a variety of uses, included its use in animal training.
3. The answer is B, “Freud.” A narcissistic client is only interested in issues related to self. His body, thoughts, needs, and anything that is related to him is what seems real. Everything else, as not related to the self, is not perceived as real or of interest by the narcissistic personality. This issue was discussed early in psychology theory. Freud talked about “primary narcissism” as a time when, as infants, individuals are unable to differentiate between self and others. Self-interest is not without its positive aspects, however, as it can be useful in the interest of self-preservation. However, a pathological narcissism can interfere with interpersonal relationships and social connectedness, leading to further problems in the client’s life.
4. The answer is A, “source, surface, and unique.” To Raymond Cattell, personality is about being able to predict an individual’s behavior in any given situation. Part of this is an understanding that the components of an individual’s personality are made up of “source traits,” which one can only identify through “factor analysis.” This is not to be confused with “surface traits” that are personality characteristics resulting from two or more source traits. Surface traits are not a basic component of personality. Also not to be confused is the term “unique trait,” which simply refers to a trait that is unique to an individual and not shared by others.
5. The answer is B, “increase.” B.F. Skinner found that deprivation will increase the probability of an operant. For example, a rat deprived of food for some time is far more likely to press a bar to receive food than a rat that has not been deprived of fooD. B.F. Skinner would view the rat’s hunger, not as an internal process, but rather as an external, measurable one (ie, the amount of time without food). Just as deprivation will increase an operant, satiation will decrease it. For instance, a rat that has been given his fill of food and water is much less likely to manipulate a bar in order to receive food.
6. B. “Scaffolding” is a term used by Vygotsky that explains what Susie’s mother is doing. She is adjusting her level of support to Susie based on Susie’s level of performance. The zone of proximal development involves a range of tasks that are too difficult for the child to do alone but possible to do with the help of adults or other, more-skilled children. “Assisted discovery” is another term used by Vygotsky to describe learning situations that a teacher sets up within a classroom so that children are guided into discovering learning. Learning by imitation is a type of learning that involves a child watching someone perform a task and later performing the task by herself.
7. C. Piaget proposed that there are four stages of cognitive development. The first stage is the sensorimotor stage, whereby the infant or toddler recognizes that even though something is out of sight, it still exists. Piaget’s second stage of cognitive development is the preoperational stage (early childhood years) in which children begin to recognize that something can be an object as well as a symbol (dual representation). The third stage of cognitive development according to Piaget is called the concrete operational stage, during which children 6 to 11 years old develop the capacity of both conservation (object permanence, or the understanding that physical characteristics of objects remain the same even if the appearance is different) and reversibility (the ability to think through a series of steps and then to reverse the process mentally).
8. C. From a multicultural perspective, an emic view considers that an individual’s culture matters. On the other hand, an etic view considers that people are people no matter where they come from or what their cultural background is. You might think about this distinction as emic = culture matters, and etic = total worlD. The distinction between autoplastic and alloplastic is that the former believes in the efficacy of changes taking place within the individual, while the latter believes in making changes in the environment. Think about it this way: When you drive an automobile, you are the operator, you’re in charge.
9. B. This question could trip you up if you are not aware of the cultural differences regarding eye contact. It is expected in our Western culture that we maintain good eye contact at all times. In the Eastern traditions, however, eye contact is averted in some situations. It is the counselor’s job to know those subtle differences and respect them.
10. A. Behavioral techniques include: operant and classical conditioning, systematic desensitization, implosion, flooding, time-out, stress inoculation, and thought stopping. Techniques of the psychodynamic approach include: free association, dream analysis, and interpretation of transferences. Adlerian therapy techniques include: emphasizing client’s strengths, examination of client’s memories, focus on interpretation, and “spitting in the client’s soup.” Reality therapy techniques include: role playing, role modeling, defining limits, and helping the client make a plan.
NCE Exam Review
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