The Agreeableness domain of the NEO PI-R, along with the Extraversion domain,
is also a measure of a person’s interpersonal tendencies. It is a measurement of a
person’s tendency to have sympathy for others and an eagerness to help them (Costa &
McCrae, 1992). The Agreeableness domain differs from Extraversion in that it examines
the attitudes an individual holds toward other people (Piedmont, 1998), and is seen as a
selfless concern for others (McCrae & Costa, 2003). The trend for a positive correlation
of Agreeableness and active involvement in the profession is not surprising as continued
engagement in the counseling profession may entail a significant emotional expense.
Clients do not always take the initiative to engage meaningfully in the counseling process
and a counselor could easily become discouraged and find the event to be a constant
exercise in frustration. The counselor who is more agreeable is one who is more likely to
find satisfaction and fulfillment in what otherwise may be a frustrating process for those
who do not possess this personality feature.
Facets of the Agreeableness domain may help explain the trend for a correlation
of this domain with active participation in the profession. Two facets of this domain that
may have particular relevance are the Altruism facet and the Tender-Mindedness facet.
The Altruism facet is a measure of a person’s active concern for others and a willingness
to help others in need (Costa & McCrae, 1992). A counselor who has a higher score on
this facet may be willing to expend more time and effort to assist a client than a counselor
with a lower score. However, this facet may be a reflection of the counselor’s sense of
duty. The Tender-Mindedness facet is different from the Altruism facet in that it