Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services



Committee Director

Danica G. Hays

Committee Member

Jeffry Moe

Committee Member

Robyn Brammer


Little is known of counselor perspectives of their training and level of preparedness when working with suicidal clients. Although professional standards and guidelines regarding counselor competency in this area exists, training may not be occurring throughout a trainee's program, or is occurring inconsistently. The purpose of this phenomenological inquiry was to understand the essence of counselors' perceived degree of preparedness working with suicidal clients, and to provide clinical and training recommendations in this subject area. Using individual semi-structured interviews, 10 participants were recruited, using maximum variation and criterion sampling who had previous experience working with suicidal clients. The results of the study identified four structural themes and 15 textural themes were identified that answered the research questions. Findings highlighted participant insight training preparedness, components of preparedness, assessment and intervention knowledge, and training recommendations for suicide prevention and assessment. Master's level training implications for counselor education programs and post-master's training in the area of suicide prevention and assessment are presented, along with future research directions.


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