Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

McCollum, Vivian

Second Advisor

Spillett, Marydee

Third Advisor

Niemann, Susan

Fourth Advisor

Christensen, Teresa

Fifth Advisor

Watson, Zarus


The purpose of the study was to explore juvenile offenders' perceptions of the counseling relationship. Eight juvenile offenders who were on probation under the jurisdiction of a juvenile court participated in the study. Using a phenomenological methodology, two interviews with each participant were conducted in order to obtain participants' full descriptions of the phenomenon of the counseling relationship. The main research question was: What are juvenile offenders' perceptions of the counseling relationship? Sub-questions were: (a) What are the themes and qualities that account for how feelings and thoughts connected to the counseling relationship are aroused?, (b) What are the underlying conditions that account for juvenile offenders' perceptions of the counseling relationship?, (c) What are the universal structures (e.g. time, space, bodily concerns, physical substance, causality, relation to self or others ) that precipitate feelings and thoughts about the experience of the counseling relationship?, and (d) What are the unique qualities of the experience that facilitate a description of the "counseling relationship" as it is experienced by juvenile offenders? Participants' descriptions provided a range of descriptions that were summarized in three thematic categories: Themes Related to Participants, Themes Related to Counselors, and Themes Related to the Process of Counseling Relationships. In addition, a composite textural-structural description of participants' experiences provided a holistic description of the phenomenon as lived by participants. Participants' experiences provided a greater depth of understanding of the counseling relationship with this challenging population from the perspective of juvenile offenders. Implications for juvenile offender counselors and counselor educators are discussed. Implications for phenomenological methodology are also discussed.


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