Date of Award

5-1-2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Wang, Yu-Wei

Second Advisor

Habib, Reza

Abstract

This qualitative study was designed to investigate Asian Indian counselors’ lived experiences of integrating Indian/Eastern and Western counseling approaches in India and their perceptions of the adequacy of training provided to them. Scholars have documented the growing disillusionment with applicability of Western theories in India (e.g., Misra & Paranjpe, 2012) and argued how insights of traditional Indian origin can contribute to the understanding of psychological issues (e.g., Arulmani, 2007). However, several challenges in training programs for counselors and psychologists in India have been noted (Dalal, 2008). Also, there is a lack of empirical research on the integration of Indian/Eastern and Western approaches. To fill this gap in the literature, I conducted a phenomenological study with counselors in India. The participants (N = 8; age range: 25-52 years) all identified as female counselors working in a metropolitan/urban area in India with clinical experiences ranging from eight months to 20 years. Individual interviews with each participant and follow-up interviews with two of them were conducted. The interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA; Smith & Osborn, 2008) method was followed for data collection and analysis. Peer debriefing, member check, and external audit were conducted. Results from this study provide insights into how counselors adapted Western counseling theories to the Indian context, incorporated indigenous concepts in counseling, attempted to integrate Indian/Eastern and Western approaches, experienced challenges in counseling and training, and suggested ways to overcome these challenges. Implications for clinical practice, training, and policy are discussed.

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