Counseling and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Date of Award

Fall 2023



Degree Level


LCSH subject

Couselors -- Mental Health; Counselors -- Job stress; Women -- Counseling of

Proquest Document ID



30573083 (Proquest ID)


St. Mary's University (San Antonio, Tex.)

Size or duration

115 pages

Document Type


First Advisor

Harper, Melanie


In this dissertation, I present a transcendental phenomenological study conducted with 12 counselors who worked with women in midlife who displayed depressive symptoms. The purpose of this study was to understand the lived experiences, clinical and personal, of licensed professional counselors (LPCs) who worked with women in midlife who displayed depressive symptoms. Through the study, I sought to recognize the essence and themes that emerged from these LPCs who worked with this population. Moreover, this study was designed to obtain a better understanding of how these LPCs managed their feelings and thoughts, how they helped when working with these women, and what recommendations or suggestions they offered to other LPCs. Findings indicated the importance of the connection between counselors and women who had depressive symptoms. Counselors need to connect with their clients to understand their stories and to be able to offer them the best treatment plan. Recommendations are provided in the realms of counselor preparation (including education and supervision), counseling, and future research. Recommendations will help counseling students to help them recognize that when working with women in midlife who have depressive symptoms, whether they have a depressive diagnosis or not, it will take a significant amount of investigation of their clients’ lives to be of assistance to them. It will also take counselors to show empathy and compassion to their clients, be aware of themselves, and to create a safe environment for their clients. It may require that counselors have an extremely varied theoretical background to match the right treatment to their clients.

Keywords: counselors, women in midlife, depressive symptoms

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.