Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services


Counselor Education and Supervision

Committee Director

Jeff Moe

Committee Member

Garrett McAuliffe

Committee Member

Judith Dunkerly-Bean


A key component of professional orientation in the field of mental health is the ability to provide counseling that is culturally competent. Counselor preparatory education, ethical codes, professional organizations and regulating bodies recognize cultural competence as a cornerstone of clinical practice. It is especially important during a time in which cultural and racial minorities combat a tumultuous sociopolitical climate. American society has seen an exponential rise in anxiety, depression, and helplessness secondary to the 2016 Presidential Election. For minority counselors, providing multiculturally competent counseling in the face of extreme oppression, and during a period of apparent resurgence in overt systemic injustices, may prove daunting. This dissertation examined how the current sociopolitical climate has affected minority counselors’ ability to deliver culturally competent counseling via a phenomenological examination of their lived experiences. Descriptive narratives of eight minority clinical mental health counselors from geographically and culturally diverse areas were captured and thematized. Findings of this dissertation study indicated five (4) key themes: impact and importance of minority membership on identity, increase in awareness, atmosphere created by the current administration, and educational and training needs. Clinical implications, educational considerations, and future directions for research are discussed.


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