Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

John O’Malley

Second Advisor

Ruth Chao

Third Advisor

Jennifer Gafford

Fourth Advisor

Judy Kiyama


Counselors in training, Existential factors, Existential therapy, Interpretative phenomenological analysis, Phenomenology


Grounded in the theoretical framework of existential therapy, this study aimed to uncover the lived experiences of counselors in training when addressing existential factors of death, isolation, freedom, and meaning in life with their clients. To have a better understanding of this phenomenon and address the research questions, data was primarily collected via semi-structured interviews. The obtained data was analyzed using an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). The data analysis process revealed six superordinate themes from the participants’ experiences: the emotional experience in the session and during the interview; transference/ countertransference; perspective on existential factors; factors that influenced counseling effectiveness in helping clients when discussing existential factors; reflections on inner experiences during the interview; and differences in approaching existential factors at the beginning of the training vs. now. The study revealed several implications for practice and research.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Sabina Musliu


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

209 p.


Counseling psychology