Have a Question?
Ask the Graduate
College at our new
Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Melissa A. Lidderdale
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
Title:Phenomenological Study of Resilience in the Lives of White, Midlife Lesbian Psychologists in Clinical Practice
Dr. James M. Croteau, Chair
Dr. Mary Z. Anderson
Dr. Karen Horneffer-Ginter
Date: Friday, June 23, 2009 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Merze Tate Center, 3210 Sangren Hall
The purpose of this phenomenological study is to discover the meaning, or essence, of resilience experienced in the lives of midlife lesbian psychologists. A deeper understanding of resilience as a phenomenon can be obtained through descriptions of resilience in the professional and personal experiences of midlife lesbian psychologists. This study contributes to an understanding of the lived experiences of lesbian women whose experiences of resilience have not yet been documented. This study also provides understanding about the experiences of midlife lesbian psychologists within both a general historical context and a historical context specific to psychology. Due to the scarcity of empirical literature pertaining to the therapist’s experience of resilience and the paucity of empirical literature related to resilience in lesbians, phenomenological research methods are chosen for this study.
Seven women, who had been clinicians for at least 15 years, participate in this study to discover the “essence” of resilience in their experiences. Data is collected during initial and follow-up interviews with participants. Phenomenological methods of data analysis are used to formulate a (over)
description that reflects the essential, invariant structure of the experience, or the “essence” of resilience.
In this study, two analysis products are created to express the essence of resilience, the general structural description and the collective, analytic narrative. Findings support existing psychological literature on resilience, therapist well-functioning, and the experiences of midlife lesbian women. Findings from this study also increase our understanding of resilience beyond what has been discussed in the broader, psychological literature. Implications of findings for psychological research and practice are discussed.