Date of Award

Summer 8-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Dufrene, Roxane L.

Second Advisor

Herlihy, Barbara

Third Advisor

Watson, Zarus


Viktor Frankl published Man’s Search for Meaning in 1946, documenting the horrors of the concentration camps. Based on his prison experience in the camps, Frankl (1984) believed that meaning in life could be found in suffering. The theoretical framework for this research study was based on Frankl’s theory of logotherapy, an extension of existentialism. In today’s society, we can find many parallels to Frankl’s descriptions of suffering in the natural and human-made disasters that have occurred such as the 1999 shooting at Columbine, the levee failure in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina, the floods in the spring of 2011 in the South, and in 2011 the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power failure in Japan. The purpose of the present study was to explore if graduate counseling students’ (GCS) meaning in life is related to their crisis experiences.Data collection was completed electronically. Qualtrics™, a web-based service, was used to distribute the researcher-designed survey, Graduate Counseling Student Crisis Experience Questionnaire (GCSCEQ) and the Purpose in Life (PIL) test. Results of this study indicated that there was no relationship between meaning in life and overall experiences, number of experiences, or intensity of GCS’ crisis experiences. Additionally, results indicated that GCS’ crisis experiences and meaning in life are impacted by the category of their disaster experiences, the intensity of their experiences and their age.


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 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.