Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Herlihy, Barbara

Second Advisor

Paradise, Louis V.

Third Advisor

Watson, Zarus


The intent of this qualitative research study was to explore, from the perspective of public school counselors, what impacted their delivery of personal counseling services (responsive services) to students returning to schools in New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Eight professional school counselors participated in the study. The primary research question was: How did Hurricane Katrina impact public school counselors in their delivery of personal counseling services (responsive services) to returning students post-Katrina? To assist in answering this major research question, 10 questions were asked which focused on the participants' relationships with the event and the environment. Taped interviews were transcribed, read, and analyzed via a process of within-case analysis and cross-case analysis (Miles & Huberman ,1994). Five themes emerged: (1) personal counseling focus versus an academic focus, (2) empathy, and how it was expressed by the participants, (3) work responsibilities pre and post Katrina, (4) the affective or emotional reactions of the participants concerning responsibilities post Katrina, and (5) the attention participants gave to self care in the aftermath of the hurricane. An examination of the relationships among the themes revealed the overarching theme of parallel process. Participants who attended to positive self care post-Katrina were better able to provide personal counseling services (responsive services) to returning students. In addition, the amount and quality of the personal counseling services provided by the participants to students post-Katrina were impacted to a great extent by the duties assigned by their school principals. Implications for counselors, counselor educators, school administrators, and school district were presented along with recommendations for further research.


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