Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services


Counselor Education and Supervision

Committee Director

Tim Grothaus

Committee Member

Kristy Carlisle

Committee Member

Emily Goodman-Scott


The primary researcher conducted a phenomenological study examining the experiences of licensed professional counselors (n = 8) who have worked with clients affected by problematic Internet pornography use. There were five female participants with an average age of 49 and three males with an average age of 63. All eight participants identified as Christian. Four participants reported their highest level of education was a Master’s degree, three participants reported holding a Ph.D. and one participant reported holding an Ed.S. Through semi-structured interviews, the primary researcher of this study sought to gain an understanding of how counselors were experiencing and navigating this phenomenon. The research team constructed three superordinate themes: confusion and discomfort, beliefs and biases and treatment challenges. In addition, the research team identified 14 themes and 9 subthemes through consensual coding of the data. The findings of this study may inform counselors, counselor educators and supervisors on how to ethically and effectively work with clients experiencing problematic Internet pornography use.


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