Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education


Counselor Education

Major Professor

Belser, Christopher T.

Second Advisor

Jeffers, Elizabeth K.

Third Advisor

Watson, Zarus E.

Fourth Advisor

Mifsud, Anabel



Anxiety disorders are frequent and increasing across the United States including for ethnically diverse populations (Carter et al., 2012). There is a need for education in the community on anxiety disorders about indicators of anxiety, severity and therapeutic approaches that would be beneficial (Johnson & Coles, 2013). It is imperative to know the variation in anxiety for African Americans to aid in therapeutic resources and counseling designed for this population (Hopkins & Shook, 2017). Prior research includes more of a focus on behavioral health professionals’ perspectives in conjectural situations rather than actual clinical practice (Joy & Bartholomew, 2021; Lawrence et al., 2015). The purpose of my hermeneutical phenomenological study of nine behavioral health professionals was to gather the meaning of these professionals’ identification of anxiety disorder symptom presentation, diagnostic process, use of screenings and assessments and therapeutic lens regarding African American clients with anxiety disorders (Gadamer, 1975/2013; Heidegger, 1962/2013). The key focus of this study the interview approach to focus on the behavioral health professional’s perception of anxiety disorder presentation across socioeconomic status and gender and how their positionality influences their perception for African American clients. The results of this study have important implications for behavioral health professionals in general and at university and college counseling centers, for health and wellness outreach, and for curriculum and cultural considerations in behavioral health graduate programs. This research study will be instrumental for enhanced training on anxiety disorders for African Americans in diagnostic coursework, trainings, and for the overall provision of counseling.

Key Words: African American, Anxiety Disorders, Behavioral Health Professionals


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.