Bishop-Murdock, Jennifer L.

Committee Member

Kahlo, Danielle M.

Committee Member

Vauchan, Angela

Committee Member

Peterson, Lori Y.


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; Department of Applied Psychology and Counselor Education, Counselor Education and Supervision


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



262 pages

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Born digital


This interpretive phenomenological analysis asked counselors-in-training (CITs) to reflect on their connections with important others and with themselves, noting any changes which took place within said relationships over the course of counselor training. Seven CITs provided rich narratives around relational shifts and personal/professional development, bringing to the surface superordinate themes of (a) Insecurity and Confusion, (b) Growing Pains, and (c) Overcoming and Resilience. Superordinate themes were further divided into the following sub-themes: Insecurity and Confusion: Professional/Personal Identity Integration, Mental Health and Responsibility, Reassurance; Growing Pains: Relationship Imbalanced and Disequilibrium, Loneliness; Overcoming and Resilience: Ruptures and Repairs, Outright Benefits, Self-Prioritization. These themes, and the narratives they were gleaned from, demonstrated both the hardships and the triumphs of the training process. Although many CITs reported experiencing relational benefits in connection with counselor training, there was a pervasive understanding that the changes they went through inter- and intrapersonally were challenging, demanding, and, at times, pivotal. This dissertation endeavors to present evidence of all findings through participants’ own words, remaining faithful to the phenomenological nature of the study and giving voice to the CIT experience. These research findings contribute to the larger body of literature around how counselor training impacts trainees, as well as how CITs can better prepare themselves and program faculty/staff can better support students while they progress through counselor training.

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