Date of Conferral
Counselor Education and Supervision
In various aspects of the counseling profession, instructors, supervisors, and colleagues often recommended that their fellow counselors engage in personal counseling for professional development and personal wellness. However, the existing literature has yet to explore the lived experiences of mental health counselors in personal counseling. The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of mental health counselors in personal counseling. Purposeful sampling was used to select 7 licensed mental health counselors in a Northwestern state. Data collection methods included semistructured interviews in person and via Zoom, an online video conferencing format. Interpretive phenomenological analysis was used to code data and analyze data. The result was five themes (therapist approach, personal growth, essential wellness, the client chair, and continuing education) and two sub-themes under the therapist approach (positive approach and negative). This study’s findings provided insight into how mental health counselors experience personal counseling personally and professionally, which could influence future mental health counselors’ decision to enter into personal counseling. With increased knowledge and awareness of how other mental health counselors experience personal counseling, more mental health counselors may choose to engage in personal counseling. As more counselors engage in personal counseling, there is a likelihood of increased health and wellness in mental health counselors.