Date of Graduation

5-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Brent Williams

Committee Member

Keith Vire

Second Committee Member

James Lampinen

Third Committee Member

Daniel Kissinger

Abstract

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are often not included in traditional mental health treatment services due to beliefs that these individuals cannot benefit from mental health counseling and that mental health clinicians are not capable of treating this population. Some research exists that discusses techniques and interventions recommended to serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in mental health; however, there is little information on the specific counselors who are willing and able to support this population. A qualitative methodology was utilized to examine the phenomenon of mental health practitioners with experience serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Five clinicians participated in the study. Five rich participant narratives were captured as a result of those interviews. From those, 52 themes were extrapolated to create a composite depiction of counselor experiences, and four exemplary components of these experiences were deduced: adapting to differences, systemic barriers to services, supporting the support system, and universal human value.

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