William Borgen


Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

How do community mental health workers maintain wellness while responding to the fentanyl overdose crisis? (2022)

Community mental health workers (CMHWs) are a subset of mental health workers who integrate themselves into the communities that they serve. As a result of their work setting and community focus, they often function as under-recognized front-line first responders during public health and addictions crises. The current and ongoing fentanyl overdose crisis has increased the strain put on these workers. Despite the increased challenges involved, some CMHWs report that they are successfully maintaining their personal wellness. This study aimed to understand what is helping and what is hindering these workers in maintaining their wellness.Sixteen CMHWs working with clients that have experienced fentanyl related overdose participated in an open-ended semi-structured interview based on the enhanced critical incident technique (ECIT). The ECIT is a well-established qualitative research method, and it was used to obtain a description of what helped, hindered, or would have helped participants' wellness. The results obtained are in the form of five categories and thirteen subcategories of helping, hindering, and wish list helping factors.The contributions of this study included enhancing empirical literature with regards to the support of workers doing challenging helping work, providing practical suggestions to practitioners in supporting similar workers, providing suggestions for supportive organizational policy, and making suggestions for further worker sustainability focused research. In addition, this study makes clear the urgent need for systemic advocacy regarding these similar workers and their clients. Finally, this research assists workers by providing examples of the shared struggles, supports, and connections that may be used in fostering career sustainability.

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Indigenous women who have done well with career decision-making during a period of sex-based status discrimination (2021)

The impact of sex-based discrimination on Indigenous women living in Canada is pervasive and insidious, affecting virtually all aspects of quality of life, including economic and education-related factors and career attainment. Despite this, many Indigenous women in Canada do well in career and career decision-making; however, there is a paucity of research that focuses on those women who have done well. This research study aims to explore the experiences of Indigenous women who have done well in making career decisions during a period of sex-based discrimination in Canada. A narrative inquiry approach was used, specifically an adapted life-story review, in audio-recorded interviews with six Indigenous women who identified as having done well in making career decisions. Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic content analysis was used to identify themes in the data. Results indicate that an array of factors, including interpersonal relationships, personal values and experiences, situational influences, a desire to help others and one’s community, and experiences of adversity are thematic of Indigenous women’s career decision-making experiences in Canada. This holds a number of implications for practice, policy and research.

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A decolonial critique of metaphysics in counselling psychology education (2020)

How can we listen to Indigenous Knowledges about our relationships with land? This dissertation offers three examples of how Canadian counsellor education and counselling psychology programs can be truly open to the ecological and theoretical gifts that Indigenous Knowledges offer academia—open in ways that align with our core values of listening, respect, relationality, healing, and holistic well-being. Each of the three projects provokes our assumptions about the relationship between ourselves and the land. The first project challenges Western disciplinary histories and asks us to listen to the history of education that has had its being in this land for millennia. The second challenges our science of intelligence and invites us to listen to land-based, experiential realities of cognition. The third investigates nonindigenous counselling students' ways of being in places of schooling where their worldview does not match their institution's. It challenges the assumption that students' minds are simply broadened by coming to university, and opens us up to students' existing relationships to land through the lens of Indigenous Knowledges. This dissertation shows that there is room for, strategic places of insertion of, and student willingness to absorb decolonized curriculum and pedagogy in Canadian counsellor education and Canadian counselling psychology generally. Indigenous Knowledges benefit the field by broadening the conceptions of humanity we use to educate our students and clients, and by deepening our stories of what counselling education is and has been.

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Exploring the lived experience of the human-companion animal relationship for people with cancer (2020)

More than half of Canadians share their homes with a pet (i.e. companion animal). Outside of the home, researchers and practitioners have increasingly embraced pets for their health-enhancing potential. Still our understanding of the relationship between cancer patients and their pets remains inadequate and incomplete. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experience of the human-companion animal relationship for people with cancer. I sought to examine how people engage in meaning-making through their intimate relationships with their pets. I recruited participants from cancer centres and community-based organizations that provide psychosocial support to cancer patients and their families. Using the method of photo-elicitation, I conducted in-depth interviews with nine women and five men. The participants varied with respect to age, the stage and type of cancer, and the type of pet in their care (e.g. dog, cat, and fish). After transcribing the interviews verbatim, I analyzed the transcripts using an iterative process of reading, reflecting upon, and writing out my interpretations. One such method involved seeking the assistance of researchers and health care professionals to analyze data extracts from the 14 original interviews. From the eight phenomenological themes that I generated, I identified three higher-level themes, known as super-ordinate themes, which correspond to the following meaning-making strategies: disengagement/acceptance, distraction, and support seeking. These super-ordinate themes are presented using anecdotes and quotations from participants, as well as, my own interpretive commentaries. I discuss the findings in light of theoretical constructs and empirical research. Highlighted in the discussion are implications of the study for research and practice in supportive cancer care, along with potential avenues for future investigation.

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Career decision-making of immigrant young people who are doing well: helping and hindering factors (2019)

Immigrant young people in Canada are making career decisions within the context of a volatile labour market and with contextual barriers and opportunities that are deeply rooted in terms of culture and other sociopolitical and economic factors. In spite of these challenging circumstances, there are immigrant young people who are doing well. This study addresses the gap in literature pertaining to identifying contributors to successful career decision-making of immigrant young people. Using a positive psychology framework, this study aimed to understand the decision-making process of immigrant young people who believe they are doing well with their career decision-making. Eighteen immigrant young adults who self-defined as doing well with career decision-making participated in an open-ended semi-structured interview based on the enhanced critical incident technique (ECIT). The ECIT is a well-established qualitative research method and it was used to obtain a description of what helped, hindered or would have helped participants' career decision-making processes. The results obtained in the form of nine categories of helping and hindering factors along with their wish list focused on three groups of influences, namely personal and interpersonal, experiential and external, and cultural and transitional. The potential contribution of the study included enhancing empirical literature with regards to successful career decision-making of immigrant young people, expanding career development theory, assisting practitioners in the development of more inclusive tools and counselling interventions, and informing policymakers about the needs of these young Canadians. Perhaps most importantly, the research will assist immigrant young people and their families by providing examples of how others have made career decisions in the face of personal and evolving economic and sociocultural challenges and opportunities.

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Wellbeing in the workplace among Indigenous people: an Enhanced Critical Incident study (2019)

Differences in the conceptualization of wellbeing between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people have been established; there are also marked unique aspects of the experiences of Indigenous people in the workplace. While the intersections between work and wellbeing are well recognized, as workplace wellbeing is a burgeoning area of research inquiry, there is a significant gap in the literature, as current models of wellbeing do not adequately take into account cultural differences. This study explored the factors which facilitate and hinder wellbeing in the workplace among Indigenous people. The sample in this study consisted of 17 Indigenous people (15 First Nations individuals and 2 Métis individuals) who were well educated, with the majority having completed post-secondary education or training and all having completed high school. There were 14 female participants and 3 male participants. The participants shared their experiences during semi-structured interviews, which were analyzed using the Enhanced Critical Incident Technique. The analysis produced a total of 486 incidents (293 helping incidents, 131 hindering incidents, and 62 wish list items). These incidents and wish list items were grouped into 14 categories: Personal Perspectives; Relationship Building, Holistic Health, Support, Culture, Investment, Workplace Environment, Appreciation, Communication, Role Modelling, Resources, Self-care, Supervisors, and Racism. The findings contribute to a growing understanding of Indigenous peoples’ experiences in the workplace and suggest that workplace experiences of Indigenous people can be improved by taking into consideration both broad principles (e.g., an emphasis on relationships and respect for Indigenous culture and identity), as well as specific practices (e.g., tailoring wellness programs and encouraging mentoring).

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Following the enlivening thread: the experience of providing Christian spiritual direction (2017)

This dissertation is an exploration of spiritual direction, from the perspective of counselling psychology, as it manifests in the reflective phenomenological experiences of the spiritual director. To explicate this topic, I asked the research question What is the meaning of the lived experience of the spiritual director in providing spiritual direction? In the tradition of spiritual direction, a person deepens their individual relationship to the Divine through a personalized spiritual practice with the help of a trained spiritual director (Gratton, 2005). Although the spiritual direction discourse, one of healing and personal development, is similar to many types of psychotherapy (Vittersø & Søholt, 2011; Vittersø, 2016), it has not often been examined systematically in counselling psychology. In this dissertation, I used Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to focus on the meaning of the experience of the spiritual director. Five expert spiritual directors were interviewed for the study. The individual experiences of the participants were analyzed, and six collective themes with emergent subthemes were developed. Embedding the findings in psychology theory, clinical implications and future research implications were discussed. The findings add to the literature by noting connections of the spiritual direction process in this study to psychological theories including the model of therapeutic presense (Geller & Greenberg, 2002), the emergence model of clinical process (Marks-Tarlow, 2015), love as a process in therapy (Fosha, 2004) and corroborated Gubi’s (2011) findings on the similarities and differences of spiritual direction and therapy. The study added to the literature by using a recognized qualitative methodology to provide a rich description of the experience and meaning of being a spiritual director. It touched on the experience using a broad scope: from the participant’s development of becoming a spiritual director over time to their approaches and experiences in sessions. Finally, the study gave a sense of the profession of spiritual direction in an experience-based way by interviewing the 5 spiritual directors and developing themes described in the voices of the participants.

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The experience of university students in cultivating mindfulness : what helps and hinders (2016)

This study explored the experience of university students in cultivating mindfulness. University students face many unique academic, financial, social, and personal stressors in the pursuit of their educational goals. The literature suggests that the nature of mental health is changing for today’s students, with increasing prevalence, chronicity, complexity, and severity of psychological issues. University counselling centres serve a growing number of students with severe psychological problems, many presenting in crisis and requiring immediate response. This consistent rise in clients seen by centres, compounded with stretched resources and budgetary concerns, is causing many centres to incorporate different treatment modalities to address these challenges. Outcome research suggests that mindfulness is a beneficial intervention with university students, especially in reducing symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. However, there is limited qualitative research on the experience of university students in cultivating mindfulness, and no known published research on what facilitates and challenges students who participate in a mindfulness-based intervention as part of treatment at a university counselling centre. Fourteen participants were interviewed about what helps and hinders their cultivation of mindfulness. All participants had completed a Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction group as part of treatment through their university counselling centre. The Enhanced Critical Incident Technique was used to analyze the interviews, which produced 390 total incidents, with 195 helping incidents, 130 hindering incidents, and 65 wish list items. These incidents and wish list items were grouped into 19 categories. The 11 helping categories are Mindfulness Practice, Mindfulness Group, External Environment, Personal Strategies, Benefits of Mindfulness, Routine, Mindfulness Concept, Social Support, External Reminders, Inspirational Others, and Stress. The five hindering categories are Disruptions, Time, Tired, Emotion and Anxiety, and Interpersonal Relationships. The three wish list categories are Space, Resources, and Cultural Shift. The findings suggest that mindfulness practice and the influence of the mindfulness group are important factors for students’ cultivation of mindfulness, as well as external context, personal factors, and the influence of others outside of the mindfulness group.

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What helps, hinders, and might help police officers maintain a broad identity (2015)

The researcher used the Enhanced Critical Incident Technique (ECIT) to examine what helps, hinders, and might help police officers to maintain a broad identity. For this study, broad identity refers to enjoying a range of occupational, social, and personal roles. The findings contribute to work-life balance literature with an identification of what might help officers to maintain balance. Twenty-one police officers from across Canada and the United States were interviewed to explore their perspective as to what factors impacted their ability to maintain multiple life roles. Analysis of participant responses resulted in the identification of 400 critical incidents, 221 helping, 126 hindering, and 53 wish list items, forming 23 categories. Implications for future research are discussed. Implications for counselling and police organizational practices include supporting police and their families in fortifying other life roles and managing role conflicts.

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Probation officers and the work environment: coping well with change (2010)

This was a qualitative, exploratory study that focused on three research questions: 1) what is the lived experience of experienced probation officers who are coping well with change, 2) what are the self-sustaining strategies probation officers use to cope well with on-going change in their work life, what hindered them from doing well, and were there things that would have been helpful but were unavailable, and 3) whether the research interview itself had an impact on probation officers’ sense of well being. This study used a descriptive phenomenological approach to gather information about probation officers’ experiences of career and change, and the Critical Incident Technique (CIT) (Flanagan, 1954) to elicit helping and hindering incidents and wish list items. A quantitative component was embedded in the form of a pre-and-post scaling question to determine if the interview process itself had an impact on the participants. Data from the phenomenological portion of the study elicited major themes for each of the relevant questions and established the contextual framework for the CIT component of the study. Data from the CIT portion of the study elicited ten helping, hindering and wish list categories. These ten categories represent the strategies that probation officers utilize in order to cope well with change. Data from the quantitative component of the study indicated that the research interview had minimal impact on participants. Implications for further research and theory development along with suggestions for workers, organizations, and counsellors are discussed.

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Counselling through interpretation : the meaning of the collaborative interpreter's experience of re-creating therapeutic intent across languages and cultures (2009)

Few studies concerning the appropriate use of interpreters in counselling exist despite the changing demographics in Canada that indicate the likelihood of an increased need for this service (Health Canada, 2001). It has been suggested that in order to fully develop standards of practice in this area, the neglected perspective of the interpreter must be included (Granger & Baker, 2002). The intent of the present research was to address this absence by inquiring into theexperience of the collaborative interpreter. This role is arguably the most complex, requiring the interpreter to provide language and cultural access as well as engage in the therapeutic process.Four collaborative interpreters from three different cultural and language groups wereinterviewed. Each had received basic training in a constructivist therapy modality, and worked for at least seven years with a dominant-culture, English-speaking therapist in a community basedcounselling program for immigrants and refugees. A hermeneutical phenomenologicalmethod was used to generate a description of the common meaning structures of thecollaborative interpreter’s experience. The advantage of this method was that it could address the multiple cultural contexts and multiple languages involved in this study, and still be sensitive to the lifeworld of the collaborative interpreter. As an interpretive inquiry, the results produceddescriptions of three meta-themes. These themes illuminate the essential meaning of the collaborative interpreter’s contextualized experience of a relational self. They include the collective self, which is an understanding of self as “we” distributed among the relationshipsformed by the counselling triad; the distinct self, which describes the heightened awareness and reconciliation of self as “other” in the triad; and the merged self, which describes the experienceof self as the instrument of a functional alliance. Implications for interpreter use in multicultural counselling are discussed.

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Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Mapping millennials' experiences of successful career change : helping and hindering factors (2023)

Given the significant role that work plays in our lives, it is regrettable that a considerable number of individuals are dissatisfied with their career situations. Studies have shown that career-related regret is the most prevalent type of regret. Despite this widespread discontent, there is a prevailing tendency towards inaction when it comes to making such changes. This is problematic for workers, employers, and the broader community as it can lead to poor performance, increased risk of burnout, and adverse mental health outcomes. Nonetheless, there exist millennials who have successfully navigated career changes despite these obstacles. Millennial employees, a generational group born between 1979 and 1994, entered the workforce during a period marked by heightened economic and global instability, and now they constitute the majority of the workforce. Millennials are recognized as catalysts for change, as they are challenging certain workplace norms established by preceding generations. However, many still grapple with paralyzing concerns related to changing careers. Learning about the triumphs of career change achieved by fellow millennial workers may help alleviate some of these concerns and offer role models for achieving success. While there has been extensive research on job changes, which are more frequent and considered a normal part of career progression, there is a notable lack of research on career changes, making it a poorly understood phenomenon. This study aims to fill the gap in the existing literature by identifying the factors contributing to successful career changes among millennial workers.To achieve this, open-ended semi-structured interviews based on the enhanced critical incident technique were conducted with 10 millennial workers who had successfully changed careers. The findings yielded 10 categories of factors that either helped or hindered the participants, as well as factors they wished were available to them during their career change. Four major themes emerged, namely, support or lack thereof, individual attributes, strategies employed, and situational factors. This research contributes to the literature by shedding light on the successful career changes of millennial workers, expanding our understanding of career development theory, and aiding practitioners in creating more inclusive tools and counselling interventions.

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Recognizing mental health issues in higher education career service sessions (2023)

Career service sessions, once provided by counselling psychology graduates, are now typically provided in separate career centres, by staff with employment expertise but with little mental health training. Research finds that the majority of career practitioners urgently require improved skills for identifying and referring mental health issues among their clients (Burwell & Kalbfleisch, 2007; CERIC, 2012; 2020a), as career and personal issues are often intertwined (Schaub, 2012), and myriad factors may lead clients with mental health issues to present for career sessions (Vidourek, et al., 2014). The present study used the Enhanced Critical Incident Technique to explore the experience of career practitioners in Western Canada who self-identified as having experience with recognizing mental health issues among their clients. Qualitative interviews were used to explore what helped or hindered participants in recognizing mental health issues. Experience in higher education settings was selected because mental health issues are prevalent among students, and because pre-service mental health screening is not standard practice in separated campus career service departments. Participants reported recognizing a relatively high frequency of mental issues. Critical incident findings were organized into six categories: 1.Workplace Supports, 2.CP Person-Level factors, 3.Building a Low-Pressure Relationship, 4.Using Career Theory and Career Process, 5.Active Listening, and 6.Exploring Barriers to Progress. Findings suggest that recognizing mental health issues is a proactive activity which is influenced by context, enhanced when certain permissions, training opportunities, and referral networks are in place. Findings underscored the importance of a strong working alliance, of close ties with the counselling team, of active listening, of cross-cultural competence, of gatekeeper training workshops, of the value of career theory and career tasks, and of strong knowledge about common sources of student distress. Findings highlight the important role managers can play in either curtailing or enhancing this activity. Findings suggest that recognizing mental health issues is often a natural by-product of rigorous resilience-oriented career support, aimed at uncovering any challenges to provide students with a better chance of career success across time.

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When sheepdogs become wolves: radicalization of veterans (2022)

The economic downturn, COVID-19 pandemic, and war contribute to heightened anxiety amongst the public. For some, there is a distrust of authorities and subject matter experts. Individuals are using social media to connect with other like-minded people and amplify their concerns. A portion of the population feels socially alienated due to their grievances against the government, making them vulnerable to radicalization by extremist groups. Therefore, Western societies face an emerging and significant challenge as individuals become isolated from others in mainstream society. The literature indicates that veterans tend to have social alienation, acceptance of violence, and loyalty toward their “ingroup." Are veterans at risk? The purpose of my research is to determine if military veterans are vulnerable to radicalization leading to violence (RTV). This study aims to gather empirical evidence to assess the possible relationship between military service and a vulnerability for RTV. Three hundred participants (150 Canadian veterans and 150 Canadian civilians) responded to a quantitative study measuring social alienation and the acceptance of political violence. Results from the statistical analysis suggest that Canadian veterans are more vulnerable to RTV, scoring higher in the factors of Social Alienation, Violent Beliefs, and Violent Behaviours. However, more importantly, the relationship between Violent Beliefs and Violent Behaviours is significantly weaker for Canadian veterans than for Canadian civilians (r veterans=.31 vs r civilians= .52). Namely, if both a veteran and a civilian have extreme Violent Beliefs, the veteran is less likely to exhibit Violent Behaviors and commit a politically motivated violent act. I hope this study will benefit future research in radicalization, enable the development of various tactics, techniques, and procedures for intervention, and improve veterans' resiliency.

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Is what's mine also yours? financial integration in non-married cohabiting adults: a phenomenological study (2019)

The purpose of this study was to gather information about the experience of the decision-making process that non-married young adult cohabiting couples have around the topic of financial integration, defined as: “the process of two individuals in a romantic relationship combining their financial resources towards a collective outcome”. The majority of the literature explores how married couples integrate their finances with one another, but very little exists on what the decision-making process being used by non-married young-adults entails. This is a particularly important demographic to study primarily due to the increasing rates of non-marital cohabitation in North America, which comes with a myriad of implications that occur as a result of the financial integration that occurs along with it. Four couples were interviewed separately. Essential themes that emerged from the non-directive, exploratory interviews include: (1) Communication strategies and intentions, (2) goal oriented decisions, and (3) factors that influence willingness to financially integrate. This study contributes to the understanding of the experience young-adult, non-married, cohabiting romantic couples have when making decisions around financial integration, and can be used to inform policy around common-law financial matters, psychoeducation for financial integration workshops, and clinical interventions in counselling settings. Implications for future research and counselling psychology impacts are discussed.

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Stories of relationships in recovery: a narrative study exploring how people seeking treatment for eating disorders experienced working with healthcare professionals (2018)

This study explored the experience of people, seeking treatment for an eating disorder in BC, ofworking with healthcare professionals for those. Within the last five years, a significant amountof research has been carried out to develop and inform province-wide guidelines (van der Leer etal., 2016), for multidisciplinary healthcare professionals to follow when offering services to individualsseeking treatment for an eating disorder. Whereas, previous research on the impact of thetherapeutic alliance within the field of eating disorders has focused mainly on adolescent populationsor populations of people with a diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, this research intends to castthe net a little wider to people who are older (20+), who may have had been diagnosed with aneating disorder that is broader than just anorexia nervosa, and who have had a breadth of experiencein different healthcare settings over time. A narrative method was used to gather data fromfive participants. This data was transcribed and then the researcher worked with the participantsto turn transcripts of their interviews into narratives. The narratives were analysed using theBraun & Clarke’s (2006) thematic content analysis method. Four main themes and 21 subthemeswere identified.

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Voices up!: experiences of collective playmaking (2018)

In January 2016, a group of community members, students, and staff began creating a play together at the UBC Learning Exchange, in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. For the next twenty-two months, the group wrote, rehearsed, and performed a collectively created theatre piece, entitled Voices UP! This thesis project casts four of the community members who took part in the collective creation process as co-inquirers, exploring their experiences of collaborative playmaking. Considering art’s potential to contribute to mental health, the author combines two complementary qualitative methods – research-based theatre and narrative analysis – to investigate the co-inquirers’ experiences of playmaking in terms of relevance to wellbeing. The study results, drawing from interview transcripts, drawings, and objects from the collective creation process, are presented as both a thematic analysis, and a short play script, entitled Give Me Your Hands. Reflecting the process used to create Voices UP!, the short script was collectively written by the author and four co-inquirers. Give Me Your Hands is a play about making a play, and illustrates the shared and individual experiences of those who took part in a community-based collective creation process.

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The experience of unemployment in primary wage earners (2017)

This study investigated, through a phenomenological mode of inquiry, the experience of unemployment amongst primary wage earners who have experienced non-performance related, involuntary job loss. This study also sought to determine if the experience of unemployment had changed over the preceding thirty years by comparing its findings from figurative illustrations to those of Borgen and Amundson (1987). The association between unemployment and negative mental health, coupled with changes in cultural and work-related attitudes and the absence of studies similar to Borgen and Amundson (1987), provided the rationale for this study. Participants were six adult men and women who had lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Individual interviews, followed-up by post-analysis member checks, were conducted with each participant. Six main themes, and 12 subthemes, emerged from data analysis. The main themes were: (1) anticipation of and immediate response to job loss; (2) positive emotional responses to job loss; (3) negative emotional responses to job loss; (4) job search and financial challenges; (5) support; and (6) emergent optimism and problem solving. Three trends were found to the figurative illustrations, with elements that were both similar to and different from those in Borgen and Amundson (1987). Of note, all of the participants’ initial responses to job loss differed from the 1987 comparison group. This was attributable to participants either being accustomed to job loss, or to having initial post-employment plans in place. This study contributes to the understanding of the experience of unemployment, and provides suggestions for those in the helping profession who work with those who are currently, or at risk of becoming, unemployed. Implications for future research are also discussed.

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Mindfulness, Gratitude and Perceived Stress among Counsellor Trainees (2015)

This study uses data from a larger mindfulness study to investigate the impact of a mindfulness and gratitude intervention on mindfulness, gratitude and perceived stress among graduate counselling psychology students in clinic. Twelve participants took part in a weekly meditation and gratitude journaling intervention, and three participants were in a control group. Participants also completed a questionnaire package four times: pre-intervention, one week after mindfulness training (during the first week of the intervention), at six weeks of intervention, and at twelve weeks. The questionnaires completed were the Kentucky Inventory of Mindfulness Skills (KIMS; Baer, Smith, & Allen, 2004), Gratitude Questionnaire-Six Item Form (GQ-6; McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS; Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983). No significant differences for the main of effect of intervention or the interaction between time and intervention were found between the control and intervention groups on the dependent variables. The main effect of time was found to be significant for the Observing subscale of the KIMS. Significant negative correlations were found between perceived stress and gratitude at 6 and 12 weeks. There were also significant negative correlations between perceived stress and the Observing and Describing subscales of the KIMS at pre-intervention, 1 week and 12 weeks. At 1 and 12 weeks, there was a significant negative correlation between perceived stress and the Acting with Awareness subscale of the KIMS. Finally, there was a significant correlation between perceived stress and Accepting without Judgement subscale of the KIMS at 6 weeks. Findings are discussed in context of the literature, as well as implications and future research.

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What helps and hinders women doing well in historically male-dominated careers : a critical incident study (2015)

Women working in historically male-dominated careers experience a unique work environment. To date, some research has been conducted on this population, however most studies focus on challenges and barriers to success. Few studies have examined the women who have found success in their work in male-dominated environments. This study explored the experiences of women working in fields dominated by men and aimed to elucidate how these women understand success in their work.The enhanced critical incident technique was used to explore what factors help and hinder the success of 9 women participants working in historically male-dominated careers. Results highlight three main areas: a) the importance of supports outside of work, b) the role that attitude and self-concept has in feeling successful, and c) the relevance of a relational theory of career when working with this population. These results will serve to inform counsellors working in career, policy developers and future research.

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The experience of cultural transition among adolescent newcomers (2013)

The purpose of this research was to contribute to the literature on migration during adolescence by exploring the phenomenon of cultural transition as experienced by newcomer youth in Canada. The study employed a descriptive phenomenological research approach to answer the following question: “How do adolescents who immigrate or seek refuge in a new country experience cultural transition?” Interviews were conducted with ten adolescent newcomers, ages 15-17, who had migrated to Canada during their adolescent years. Participants represented six different countries of origin, and resided in both Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Using Giorgi’s (2009) psychological phenomenological method, data analysis uncovered eight major structures that captured participants’ experience of cultural transition. These structures included: (a) Pre-migration Experiences/ “I was excited”; (b) Post-migration Impressions/ “A totally new environment”; (c) Education/ “I’m always in school”; (d) Friendships “Friends is such an important part”; (e) Family/ “Changing makes you come closer”; (f) Language/ “Sometimes I don’t want to say anything”; (g) Internal Experiences/ “I wanted to leave” and (h) Cultural Identity/ “A bit of everything”. This study contributes to a greater understanding of the ways in which adolescents in Canada experience cultural transition, and sheds light on factors that are both challenging and supportive to their integration. Recommendations for further research are made, as well as specific recommendations for counsellors working with newcomer youth and their families.

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Critical Incidents in Grieving the Death of Companion Animals (2012)

This study examined what bereaved pet owners found particularly helpful and particularly difficult in their grieving process. The Critical Incident Technique (CIT) was used. Eight bereaved pet owners identified 87 helping and 44 hindering categories that formed 12 helping and 7 hindering categories. The following helping categories had the highest participation rate: Social Support, Reminders & Keepsakes, and Calm Final Moments. The most highly endorsed hindering categories were: Guilt, Regret, and Second-Guessing; Hindering Social Responses / Lack of Support and Understanding; and Difficulty Transitioning to Life Without the Animal. Nine credibility-checks were performed to ensure the integrity of the data and the study findings.

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What brings you here: a narrative inquiry into the decision to persue a master's degree in counselling psychology (2012)

While much has been written about students’ career development, not much is known about the real-life process by which students come to career decisions in today’s changing world of work. No studies have yet investigated the career decision-making (CDM) process of master’s in counselling psychology students specifically. As a result, the purpose of this study was to explore how and why people decide to study counselling. My research question was: “What is the experience of making and implementing the decision to pursue a master’s degree in counselling psychology?” Using the method of narrative inquiry, I conducted semi-structured interviews with eight master’s in counselling psychology students and the resulting narratives suggest thirteen cross-narrative themes. These themes encapsulate students’ experiences in terms of the process of decision-making, the influence of social context, motivations for pursuing the field of counselling, and motivations for entering and sustaining graduate studies. The findings suggest there is no one straight path that leads people to study counselling, but rather a process involving individual experiences, the influence of others, and a varying tempo of reflection and action. Both planned and unplanned events, as well as decision-making through intuition, emotion, and sometimes a sense of destiny or spiritual connection, are implicated. Themes also suggest that participants chose to study counselling because of the enjoyment of helping experiences, an interest in people, and a desire for meaningful work. Findings indicate the need for additional qualitative research into CDM processes. Implications for the practice of career counselling include expanding beyond traditional career counselling theories to include integration of non-rational and contextual decision-making approaches.

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