Date of Conferral





Counselor Education and Supervision


Katarzyna Peoples


Racial and ethnic diverse populations experience discrimination in educational and career attainment and remain underrepresented in the counseling profession. The current literature provides limited guidance for the counseling profession and academic institutions for successfully recruiting racial and ethnic minority students in a master's level counselor training program. Social Constructivist theory and Adlerian/ Individual Psychology are the theoretical foundations of the study. This constructivist grounded theory study sought to understand the career decision-making process of African Americans choosing to enter in the counseling profession and the influence of racial and ethnic identity on this decision-making process. Utilizing semistructured interviews via video-conferencing; 43 self-identified African Americans were commissioned to co-create an iterative career decision-making theory that informs recruitment and retention of African Americans to the counseling profession. Following the Charmaz's (2014) approach to data analysis; 15 themes which support the development of Embracing Ujima an interpretive theory of African Americans choosing to join the counseling profession—that informs a framework of recruitment and retention of African Americans to the counseling profession. The implications for social change include closing the knowledge gaps and informing counselor training institutions of the importance of physical representation, a sense of belonging, developing early career pipelines, and positioning counselor educators as the chief career development professionals for the field of counseling.