Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Danelle Stevens-Watkins


Historically, research has focused on White individuals’ initial responses to learning about White privilege and other indicators of early stages of racial awareness and identity development. However, the literature is relatively sparse regarding understanding the experiences of racial identity development in White individuals who are beyond initial introductions to racial awareness, such as Counseling Psychologists (CPs). The assumption is that Counseling Psychology professionals are adequately trained to provide efficacious mental health services and engage in culturally sensitive work activities; however, research indicates that Black clients, colleagues, and graduate students experience racism, such as microaggressions, when interacting with White CPs.

The current study seeks to address the overarching question: how do White Counseling Psychology faculty members understand their experiences with racism towards Black Americans? Ten White Counseling Psychologists were interviewed, and their interview data were analyzed with Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). IPA explored the unique perspectives and meaning-making processes that White Counseling Psychologists employed when discussing their experiences with racism against Black Americans. Findings elucidated how racism and allyship manifested variably among White CPs. Participants ranged from individuals engaged in advocacy work to individuals who actively defend the academy as a White space. Findings were organized into five overarching themes, including: White Privilege to Emotionally Distance Self from the Realities of Racism, Struggles to Engaging in Allyship, Honest Self-Awareness and Reflection, Intentional Advocacy, and Perceives Racism in their Environments. Recommendations were proffered to inform imperative training and allyship opportunities for White Counseling Psychologists in academia.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)