Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education (PhD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Kristin Higgins

Committee Member

Kristi Perryman

Second Committee Member

Paul Blisard

Third Committee Member

Kenda Grover


Counselor training, Experiential groups, Group therapy, Lived experiences of counseling students, Phenomenology


Research in the fields of experiential learning, group psychotherapy, and neuroscience has supported the inclusion of the experiential group in counseling training programs due to the potential for positive impact on students’ personal and professional development (Badenoch & Cox, 2010; Denninger, 2010). Investigations exploring counseling students’ experiences of the experiential group have been primarily limited to quantitative studies, while in-depth qualitative inquiry has been minimal. Additionally, an extensive review of the literature has found there have been no qualitative studies examining experiential groups co-facilitated by a course instructor and a doctoral student. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of counseling students in a co-facilitated experiential group. Counseling students in a South Central CACREP-accredited program were purposefully selected as participants for this study, based on the criteria of membership and successful completion of a 9-week experiential group facilitated by the course instructor and a doctoral student. This study utilized qualitative methodology to permit in-depth inquiry into and understanding of this phenomenon. Results of this research may provide a deeper understanding of counseling students’ experiences in a co-facilitated experiential group. This study may also offer a rationale for best practices in the facilitation of the required group experience in counseling training programs.