Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 2010


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Counselor Education and Supervision (ExCES)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Lisa Lopez Levers

Committee Member

Emma Mosley

Committee Member

JoAnn Jankoski


counseling, counseling pedagogy, self-reflection, supervision, trauma


The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experiences of master's level post-practicum students as they encountered trauma-related cases during their practicum experience. This qualitative, phenomenologically oriented study used Van Manen's (1990) four lived existentials, Bronfenbrenner's (1979) bio-ecological model of human development, and existing traumatology literature as its theoretical underpinnings. There is no existing literature that examines the experiences of beginning counselors as they encounter trauma-related cases in their academic training programs. The literature base surrounding traumatology is quickly expanding due to the increased awareness and prevalence of trauma in our culture. As the demand for services related to trauma increases, it is essential to understand the lived experiences of trainees in order to help them feel prepared to handle trauma-related cases. Without properly preparing students for the trauma-related issues they will face in the field, counselor educators risk having trainees implement unintentional interventions that could re-traumatize clients. For this study, eight master's level post-practicum students were interviewed regarding their experiences of working with traumatized clients during their practicum. The results were summarized into five themes that focused on the atheoretical counselor, lack of supervisory support, trainees feeling generally overwhelmed, stigmatizing trauma victims, and a pedagogical issue related to the need for self-reflective tendencies in counselor education programs. The author suggests ways to implement pedagogical methods within counselor training programs to increase trainees' self-reflective tendencies and to reduce the risk that unintentional interventions will re-traumatize treatment-seeking clients.