Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Grounded Theories Describing How White Mental Health Counselors Develop Nonracist White Racial Identities Public Deposited

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  • The purpose of this dissertation was to extend the current body of knowledge regarding the experiences and processes involved regarding how White mental health counselors deconstruct their internalized, and often unacknowledged, racism as well as attempt to dismantle institutionalized racism, in order to develop nonracist White racial identities. By adding to the current knowledge regarding this process it was my hope that clients of color can experience competent counseling from White counselors. This dissertation housed two research manuscripts. Both research manuscripts were constructed from interview data collected from 10 participants. Nine of these participants were interviewed three times and one participant was interviewed twice. All interviews ranged from 45-60 minutes. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. The first manuscript, found in chapter 2, presented a theory regarding how White counselors maintain their motivation to develop nonracist identities in the face of White socialization, which sustains the White privilege status quo. This theory described how exhibiting openness and encountering discrimination impacted the participants’ process of maintaining motivation to develop a nonracist identity. Further, this theory depicted how interacting within the counseling field and manifesting multifaceted identities mitigated how participants experienced and described exhibiting openness and encountering discrimination. Chapter 3 proposed a theory regarding how White counselors apply strategies for addressing racism they received from training experiences. It depicted two major categories which emerged to provide structure to this theory: evaluating training messages and applying strategies to address racism. Evaluating training messages, as a process, included exposure to messages about addressing racism and exercising personal filters. Applying strategies depicted a cyclical process participants experienced considering applicability, acknowledging limitations, implementing strategies, and revising strategies. The findings from these theories are applicable for White counselors seeking to develop nonracist racial identities, for counselor educators and supervisors seeking to facilitate nonracist White racial identity development with their White counseling students, and for researchers who aim to build on current knowledge of how White counselors can deconstruct their White identities to practice nonracism, by developing nonracist identities.
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