Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 12-17-2021


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Counselor Education and Supervision (ExCES)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Debra Hyatt-Burkhart

Committee Member

Waganesh Zeleke

Committee Member

Yihhsing Liu


LGBQ+ Counselors, Self-Concealment, Self-disclosure, Affectional Orientation, Heteronormativity, Queer Theory, LGBQ+ Identity Management


This study sought to unearth the narratives of LGBQ+ counselors’ experiences of self-concealment in the workplace. Self-concealment was an identity management strategy that was defined as an active, and sometimes persistent effort to conceal LGBQ+ identity. Self-concealment of affectional identity was well researched in workplace contexts, however only one study existing study examined self-concealment among LGBQ+ counselors. In that previous qualitative inquiry, Jeffery and Tweed (2014) called for further exploration of self-concealment among LGBQ+ counselors when self-concealment emerged as a surprising finding.

The phenomenon of self-concealment was under-researched in counseling but has been extensively conceptualized as both a developmental stage and identity management process among affectionally diverse people. The limited research relevant to self-concealment in counseling, and the relationship of the constructs of self-concealment and self-disclosure warranted a thorough and broad examination of the available literature outside the field of counseling. Queer theory, minority stress theory, social constructionist theory, and hermeneutic phenomenology served as the theoretical foundations in which the study was grounded. This qualitative phenomenological inquiry was conducted through six individual interviews and one focus group comprised of 10 participants who were all LGBQ+ counselors. The results of the study identified themes that spoke to LGBQ+ counselors’ self-concealment decision making process, self-concealment motivation, self-concealment behavior, and the affects self-concealment had on LGBQ+ counselors and their counseling work. The implications for the field of counseling and directions for further research are discussed.