Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2018

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 01/31/2021

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Rehabilitation and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Wadsworth, John S

Second Advisor

Wood, Susannah M

First Committee Member

Priest, Jacob

Second Committee Member

Bardhoshi, Gerta

Third Committee Member

Estrada-Hernández, Noel


Mentorship and previous leadership experiences have been found to serve as factors that contributed to counseling professionals becoming leaders. Historical influences, life philosophy, identity, and resilience also shaped leaders and guided leadership practices. Critical incidents (e.g., difficulties or successes in organizational management or addressing ethical issues); however, are also significant experiences that are considered “a powerful source of counselor development.” To date, researchers have explored critical incidents in counseling graduate students’ training. However, there were no studies that have focused exclusively on the role of critical incident experiences of nationally appointed or elected counselor leaders. Thus, it was not necessarily clear how such incidents contribute to or impede the development of counselor leaders. Therefore, the aim of this grounded theory study was to qualitatively explore critical incidents using the Critical Incident Technique (CIT). The researcher conducted semi-structured interviews to explore experiences that have influenced the counselor leaders’ development, practices, and effectiveness.

Findings from this study represent the experiences of fourteen national leaders in the counseling profession. The present study contributes to the growing literature on counseling leadership and counseling leadership development. Specifically, the Model of Counselor Leaders’ Development and Meaning Making of Significant Experiences (MCLD) seeks to explain counselor leaders’ experiences in leadership. The overall premise of this model is that the following five components are interconnected and ultimately lead to outcomes within the organization and with the leaders’ own growth and development: Personal Factors, Professional Factors, Culture and Climate of Organization, Leader’s Knowledge and Skills, and Decision-Making and Problem-Solving.


Counseling Leadership, Counseling Leadership Development, Critical Incidents, Critical Incident Technique, Grounded Theory


xiv, 160 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 123-150).


Copyright © 2018 Taryn Vinet Richardson

Available for download on Sunday, January 31, 2021