Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education (PhD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Kristi Perryman

Committee Member

Ed Bengtson

Second Committee Member

Erin Kern-Popejoy

Third Committee Member

David Christian


Counselor Education, Married Doctoral Students, Married Graduate Students, Non-student Spouses, Phenomenology


Research involving married doctoral students has suggested that they face a unique set of circumstances that include benefits, challenges, and changes. Additional research has highlighted the culture within Counselor Education and Supervision (CES) programs. While there are some studies that explore the experiences of married graduate students in counseling-related fields, very little literature exists that explores married students in CES programs. No such studies focus on the experiences of married male students in CES.

The purpose of this study was to explore the shared lived experiences of married male doctoral students in Counselor Education and Supervision (CES) programs and their non-student spouses. Eight participants (four doctoral students and their non-student spouses) took part in this study. Using a phenomenological research design, the findings of this study were grouped by doctoral students, non-student spouses, and couples. Individual thematic labels for doctoral students and their spouses included general impressions, personal and professional changes, program-related benefits and challenges, and roles and responsibilities. Thematic labels for couples were program-related changes to marriage, marital friendship, marital conflict, traditions and rituals, and goals. The findings reveal implications for potential and current doctoral students and their non-student spouses, as well as for counselor educators. Coping strategies for students and recommendations for CES programs are also included.