Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education


Counselor Education

Major Professor

Dr. Christopher Belser

Second Advisor

Dr. Michelle Wade

Third Advisor

Dr. Brian Beabout


Home-based counseling is a modality of counseling where a provider conducts sessions within a client’s home. Providing services in the home can improve access to services in rural areas or for clients without access to transportation or childcare and can increase participation in services in cases where traditional office-based services have been unsuccessful.

Despite these benefits for clients, home-based counselors might struggle with applying counseling theory within this setting. Theory is an integral part of both counselor identity and treatment planning; a theoretical orientation helps counselors conceptualize client issues, guide treatment goals, and assess progress. Due to the lack of an overarching model in home-based counseling, it is paramount to understand how counselors in these settings are currently applying theory to improve treatment outcomes.

The purpose of this qualitative narrative study was to understand the stories of home-based counselors applying theory in these settings. This research was guided by the question “How do home-based counselors perceive their experiences when applying theory in a client’s home?”. The participants included six home-based providers who were currently working for community mental health agencies. Sources of data included observational data and one narrative interview per participant. The data were analyzed according to McCormack’s multi-step narrative analysis process and the theoretical frameworks of this study including Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation Theory (DOI) and Stoltenberg’s Integrative Developmental Model (IDM). The findings suggested six shared themes including 1) Safety, 2) Confidentiality, 3) Control in Theory Choice and Application, 4) Creative Integration of Theory, 5) Counselor Identity, and 6) Supervision and Alternative Supports. Lastly, implications for counselor educators, supervisors, and agencies are presented as well as recommendations for future research.


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