Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Counselor Education and Supervision


Jason Patton


Scholarly literature supports that individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer face inequities as a result of living in a heteronormative society. However, scholarly literature lacks body of research available that provides insight as to the experiences that counselors have while providing mediation to same-sex couple regarding coparenting. Thus, a literature gap exists pertaining to the lived experiences of counselors who provide mediation for same-sex couple coparenting. The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study was to develop an understanding of counselors who provide same-sex couple coparenting. The theoretical framework used in this study was the equity theory, which speaks to how inequities in inputs and gains from a relationship affect behaviors. Participant selections criteria included being 21 years of age, a licensed counselor, and having worked with same-sex couples for coparenting mediation for 1 year. Data were collected from 5 counselors through interviews and analyzed, which produced 5 main themes and 18 subthemes. Data analysis was conducted by considering the whole transcription, statements and phrases and a line by line approach. The 5 main themes were practices, skills, knowledge, beliefs, and challenges noted by the participants. The results of this study provide insight as to similarities and differences in education that are necessary for both counseling and mediation. A better-defined understanding of counselor mediation experiences may promote changes in counseling programs to include mediation skills, increased multicultural competence, and knowledge of basic family law in regard to child custody.