Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Counselor Education and Supervision

First Advisor

Dr. Caroline Perjessy

Second Advisor

Dr. Martin Wesley


The current literature concerning African American women in the counseling profession is limited. Research is available regarding women in the profession; however, research on African American women is scarce. This study seeks to add to the body of literature by exploring the reasons African American women become counselors, thereby improving recruitment techniques to increase representation in the field and improve mental health care for the African American community. This qualitative research study used a phenomenological approach to explore, interpret, and describe the lived experiences of eight African American women who are Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors currently practicing in the counseling profession. The theoretical foundation Social Cognitive Career Theory was used to guide this study on the career influences of African American women for entering the counseling profession. Data collections were conducted using in-depth face-to-face virtual interviews with the participants and analyzed using the NVivo software. The results of the study indicated that in regards to the decision to join the counseling profession, African American women are influenced by the following: family dynamics, personal characteristics, work experiences, adult influences underrepresentation, and education. The findings in this study may not be generalized to men, other professional disciplines, or people in another ethnicity. Thus, the results of this study could be developed and implemented with a larger population using a questionnaire to determine the generalizability of the findings.