Meaningful Experiences of the Counseling Process from Multiple Perspectives
Sackett, Corrine Rae
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The counseling process and relationship are inherently interconnected, and each person involved, or observing, has a unique perspective on what is significant. Thus, it is important for researchers to examine this process holistically for a more complete understanding of the counseling process and relationship. The purpose of this study was to describe the experiences of counselors-in-training (CITs) and clients in the counseling process with respect to what was meaningful, and the strength of the therapeutic relationship using a mixed methods approach. The following four research questions were a guide for this study: (a) What do CITs and clients experience as most meaningful in counseling? (b) What are the similarities and differences of what CITs and clients experience as meaningful in counseling? (c) How does the strength of the therapeutic relationship correspond to the depth of what CITs and clients experience as meaningful in counseling? (d) What are the similarities and differences of an observer's perspective and the experiences of the CIT and client of what is meaningful in counseling? These questions were explored through qualitative phenomenological interviews to capture the experiences of CITs and clients in a given counseling session, a quantitative instrument to measure the therapeutic relationship, and participant observation to gain an observer's perspective of the counseling session. Data analysis of the interviews revealed several themes of meaningful experiences for clients, CITs, and observer, with many similarities and some differences. Themes for clients were as follows: Counseling Relationship, Goals, Insight, Immediacy, Emotion, and Reflections on Counseling. Themes for CITs were: Counseling Relationship, Goals, Insight, Immediacy, Emotion, Nonverbals, Transference and Counter Transference, and CIT Negotiating the Counseling Process and their Role. Finally, observer themes were: Depth of Congruence, Goals, Insight, Immediacy, Nonverbals and Intuition, and Rescuing. There seems to be a slight connection between the strength of the therapeutic relationship and depth of meaningful experiences. More often than not, the stronger the therapeutic relationship, the greater depth of meaningful experiences of participants, however, these results are inconclusive. Findings from this research have implications for CITs, counselors, and counselor educators and supervisors.
- Doctoral Dissertations