School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Tanisha Sapp


interpretative phenomenological analysis, compassion fatigue, counselors, private practice, stigma




The purpose of this interpretative phenomenological analysis was to understand the experiences of compassion fatigue and help-seeking and coping strategies among counselors in private practice. The theories guiding this study are the transition model and the transactional theory of stress and coping. The research questions included an OARQ What are counselors in private practice’s experiences of compassion fatigue? Two SQs were also used (SQ1) What are counselors in private practice’s experiences of help-seeking behaviors? (SQ2) How do counselors in private practice make sense of coping with compassion fatigue? Participants were selected using purposive and snowball sampling methods. Data collection included semistructured video interviews through the lens of a double hermeneutic. The interviews were recorded and transcribed. The transcripts were used to identify personal experiential themes and group experiential themes to study the unique experiences of counselors in private practice. The researcher also kept a personal journal of the process. The sample consisted of seven counselors in private practice. Three main themes were identified in this study: I’m Overwhelmed on Every Side, I Don’t Know What to Do, and I Grew from It.

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Counseling Commons