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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Sharon A. Carney
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
Title: A Qualitative Study of Women Therapists’ Experiences of Spirituality in the Counseling Process
Dr. Mary Z. Anderson, Chair
Dr. Patrick Munley
Dr. Karen Horneffer-Ginter
Date: Monday, April 23, 2007 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
3518 Sangren Hall
In this study, feminist methodology and phenomenology were employed in investigating women therapists’ experiences of spirituality in the counseling process. Initial and follow-up interviews were conducted with 9 women therapists living in the Midwest region of the United States whose primary work is providing ongoing individual therapy. Common themes characterizing the women therapists’ experiences of spirituality in the counseling process include experiencing spirituality as an integrated dimension of identity, as something larger than themselves, and as a resource in holding the client’s pain and self-care. Experiencing spirituality as connection is a powerful theme, serving as a foundation for the counseling process and leading to healing. Additional themes include trust, being present, joining with the client, tending to the whole person, power and empowerment, creativity, making meaning, strength, and hope. Implications of findings for counseling practice and research are discussed.