This qualitative study explores the experience of counseling for women with addiction issues. Six women with varying ethnic and racial backgrounds between the ages of 24-44 years old participated in the study. Each woman was diagnosed with a substance use disorder and had to have participated in at least five counseling sessions to be included in the study. The study utilized a phenomenological methodology, which seeks to understand the core essence of the phenomenon of counseling itself. Each woman was interviewed once for at least 45 minutes and two women were interviewed twice. These interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and then underwent four levels of analysis. A composite chapter is included which discusses how these analyses were utilized in determining the textures, structures, and ultimately, the essences of the phenomenon that each woman experienced. The results found that the essence of counseling for these six women was trust, feeling valued, and counseling as a transformative process. It demonstrates the need to address trust in the counseling relationship more fully as well as the necessity of helping clients feel valued in the counseling relationship. This study includes recommendations for counselor educators and those working in clinical practice.


Jennifer Preston

Committee Member

Richard Auger

Committee Member

John Seymour

Committee Member

Penny Rosenthal

Date of Degree




Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Counseling and Student Personnel



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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