Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Chwalisz, Kathleen


Systemic racism endures in the United States (Feagin, 2010). The race-related barriers experienced by trainees of color in counseling, clinical, and school psychology programs (Clark et al., 2012; Maton et al., 2011) reflect this reality. Focusing exclusively on the barriers confronting people of color, though, can distract from the benefits and power that Whites accrue to maintain a system of privilege and oppression. Recently, counseling psychologists have recognized the critical importance of understanding social privilege (Israel, 2012) and its unique features based on context (Ancis & Szymanski, 2001). However, the study of White privilege within counseling psychology training is an underrepresented area of the literature. To address this gap and more deeply explore racial inequities in training, interpretative phenomenological analysis (Smith, 1996) was used to guide a qualitative exploration of White privilege in counseling psychology training programs. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with advanced-level doctoral trainees in APA-accredited programs. In addition to recruiting White trainees, Black participants were also recruited to honor a marginalized perspective on White privilege. Encounters with White privilege in training were particularly salient and painful for Black participants. White participants identified a number of unearned racial advantages, and other unacknowledged privileges in their accounts were revealed through analysis. Emerging superordinate themes and subthemes from each subsample are presented separately and then examined concurrently. Recommendations for counseling psychology training programs are made, and a developing list of White privileges in training environments is presented.




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