Date of Award

8-1-2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Rehabilitation

First Advisor

Crimando, William

Abstract

The phenomenon being explored in this study was the understanding of minority clients' perceptions in relation to their rehabilitation counselors' cultural competence. A descriptive qualitative research methodology consisting of eight participants was used. Hycner's (1985) phenomenological analysis was used to investigate the in-depth interviews. The investigation revealed seven different themes that comprised of the essence of the phenomenon. The themes include: clients' understanding of the term cultural competence, self, attitudes, advocacy, understanding culture is important, role of culture, and expectations from the agency. The invariant structure that was consistent through all the above mentioned themes was the representation and manifestations of culture in the lives of the clients that continually challenged rehabilitation counselors' cultural competence through different phases of the vocational rehabilitation counseling experiences. The essence behind cultural competence was - perceiving the phenomenon as an experiential relationship based concept, where the client and the rehabilitation counselor educate one another about the all inclusive nature of the term culture and its role in the vocational rehabilitation process.

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