Helm, Heather

Committee Member

Black, Linda L.

Committee Member

Wright, Stephen

Committee Member

Lahman, Maria K. E.


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; Counselor Education and Supervision


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



352 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The intention of this phenomenology research study was to better understand the experiences and perceptions of counseling students who attend a weekend intensive social justice retreat. This examination may shed light on whether an intensive social justice experience is a valuable and worthy training modality to compliment the traditional classroom learning environment often found in counselor preparation programs. The data from two semi-structured interviews, a focus group, and research participant journals were utilized from 10 counseling students from CACREP accredited counseling programs in a mid-Western mountain state. Seven themes emerged from the data including: Increased Awareness, Desired for Prolonged Training, An Emotional Journey, Power in the Story, Admiration and Appreciation for Group Diversity, Making Connections and Building Trust in Community, and Advocacy and Action. In an addition to the seven themes, a subtheme emerged in connection with the theme An Emotional Journey titled Voice: Turn Up the Volume; or Stay Quiet. These themes captured the participants experience at a social justice retreat along with additional perceived benefits of engagement in social justice training. Results from this study have implications for counselor educators, students, faculty, counselors, and advocates for training, community engagement, and social justice advocacy. Findings revealed that a social justice retreat was a transformational experience for participants. A social justice retreat may serve to both complement and enhance multicultural training that is offered in traditional classroom settings. The findings suggested that counselor educators may benefit from attending a social justice retreat.

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Copyright is held by the author.