School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)


John A. King


Conceptual Mapping Task, Counseling Education, Counselors-in-training, Holism, Indivisible Self, Phenomenology, Wellness


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Mental health professionals take more days off for illness than other health-care professionals do, and many practicing counselors perceive their colleagues as stressed, distressed, and even impaired. Hence, counselor-education programs should focus on equipping future practitioners to practice better self-care when dealing with work-related stress. There appear to be numerous gaps in the literature on encouraging wellness in counselors-in-training (CITs), and no rigorous empirical study has been conducted on CITs’ wellness at a faith-based institution. This phenomenological study focused on investigating the lived wellness experiences of seven graduate counseling students at a Christian university, in a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The study used the Conceptual Mapping Task (CMT) as the instrument for data collection and data verification. Five major themes that emerged were (a) experiencing a crisis/precipitating event, (b) implementing holistic approaches, (c) drawing strength from community support, (d) overcoming perfectionism, and (e) learning which things in life are nonnegotiable. The most significant finding, or the essence of this study, is the suggestion that these CITs’ lived wellness experiences in graduate school included an increase of wellness awareness—transitioning from crisis, through determination, to becoming holistically well.

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