Secondary School Counselors' Professional and Personal Perceptions and Experiences of Death Loss

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)



Date of Award

Fall 2018


Loss from death is an experience that occurs for all humans, potentially creating the phenomenon of grief, loss, and bereavement for the loved ones left behind. With the universality of grief and loss, it can be deduced that professional school counselors are touched professionally through the experiences of students, staff, and families with whom they work, and personally through the death loss of their own loved ones. The purpose of the research study was to examine the perceptions and lived experiences of professional school counselors with regard to grief from death. Using interpretive phenomenological analysis, the researcher in this study aimed to explore these experiences, and bring awareness to the ways in which death loss impacts both the personal lives and professional work of school counselors. Individual themes of the five participant experiences were identified, then the cases were combined to explore common themes that arose across cases. Themes included characteristics of grief, personal and professional self-identity of school counselors, coping strategies, and role of school counselor with regard to grief.KEY WORDS: Grief, bereavement, school counselors, identity, countertransference, coping


Chester Robinson

Subject Categories

Education | Student Counseling and Personnel Services