Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educ Leadership/Counseling

Committee Director

Nina Brown

Committee Member

Steven Myran

Committee Member

Alan Schwitzer


This study implemented a phenomenological approach to the inquiry of the career decisions of racial/ethnic minorities leading to selection of art therapy as a career. Gottfredson’s Career Theory was used to design interview questions to elicit the perspectives of ten racial/ethnic minority members about their career choice of art therapy. This study used post-intentional phenomenological qualitative coding of data to understand the decisions and contributing factors to racial/ethnic minorities selecting a career in art therapy. The findings suggest factors including: personal characteristics, interests, personal and professional beliefs, cultural beliefs, influential people, social contexts, experiences, and encounters contributed to racial/ethnic minority participants choices of selecting art therapy as a career. Participants shared experiences through the life stages of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Overall, the career choice experiences and perceptions of racial/ethnic minority art therapists were like literature about white art therapists. Factors differing from the majority were the personal characteristic of determination and some cultural beliefs.