Date of Conferral





Counselor Education and Supervision


Mark Stauffer


Due to a lack of understanding lesbian and gay lived experiences in counseling, the counseling field is also lacking understanding of the lesbian and gay experiences in counseling that lead to premature termination. Without the knowledge of personal understanding of these experiences, it is difficult to also understand how to retain lesbian and gay clients, provide appropriate counselor training, and even explore cultural humility. The term cultural humility represents the implicit and explicit impact that culture has on the counselor and challenges assumptions made by the practitioner as well as assumptions about client culture (Fisher-Borne et al., 2015). The experiences of the lesbian and gay population are not well documented and are lacking in the research. Utilizing Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT) and the hermeneutic phenomenology of Van Manen (2016), this research study explored insight about lesbian and gay adult lived experiences who have terminated counseling prematurely. Hand coding was used to explore the narratives of 6 participants that generated 4 major themes and 11 subordinate themes. Themes included therapeutic alliance, interpersonal interference, ethical boundaries, cultural humility/cultural misunderstanding, and cultural invalidation. The results of this study gave a voice to the participants' challenges in counseling and offered awareness into what helped retain the participants and what might have implicated early termination. A better understanding of these experiences may equip counselors and counselors in training about the lesbian and gay adult population in counseling, how to retain them, and give clues to understanding ongoing cultural dissonance in counseling.