Date of Conferral





Counselor Education and Supervision


Dr. Wynn Dupkoski


At the field experience level, current research is limited on reflective expressive arts exercises as a modality to facilitate professional identity development in counseling students, with no mention of the effectiveness of mask-making. The purpose of this art-based hermeneutic phenomenological study was to examine the perceptions of master’s students’ counselor identity at the field experience level using research questions to explore participants’ lived experiences as they engaged in a mask-making expressive arts activity aimed at the enhancement of their self-awareness, insight, and reflection into their professional identity development. A qualitative design was utilized, and 5 students participated in this study that was conducted and recorded using the Zoom platform. Emergent themes regarding perceptions of professional identity development and the mask-making experience were derived from data observation, pre and post interviews, and memo writing using descriptive coding and thematic analysis. The results of this study indicated that field experience students experience uncertainty, self-doubt, and transition. However, results from the mask-making exercise indicated it fostered growth, integration, reflection, and self-care as a catalyst towards their developing professional identities. This study will create an opportunity for social change for the counseling profession by expanding knowledge regarding counselor identity development through a new lens; for counselors in training by highlighting the challenges faced in their professional development for additional exploration, emphasis, and support; and for counselor educators by offering additional modalities to address professional development training needs.