Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services


Counselor Education and Supervision

Committee Director

Jeff Moe

Committee Member

Mark C. Rehfuss

Committee Member

Corrin G. Richels


Integration of behavioral and primary healthcare (IBH) has been increasingly suggested as a model approach in serving historically marginalized populations, including rural, Healthcare Provider Shortage (HPSA), and Medically Underserved (MUA) communities (Coleman & Patrick, 1976; Wong et al., 2019). However, there is no evidence-based practices in interprofessional education and training for professional mental health counselors to serve as competent practitioners in integrated behavioral healthcare. This study examined the gap in interprofessional and counselor education literature by identifying the lived experiences and perceptions of mental health professionals in integrated settings and assessed the need areas in current counselor education. A phenomenological approach was used to capture and thematize descriptive narratives of eight (8) clinical mental health counselors. Findings of this dissertation study indicated five (5) key themes: multitude of therapist roles in IBH, identified benefits of IBH, barriers to integration and MUA care, IBH professional identity development, and educational and training needs. Clinical implications, educational considerations, and future directions for research are discussed.


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