Aspiring counselor educators in Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP)-accredited programs must learn to be counselors, teachers, supervisors, researchers, and leaders. These roles can overlap, creating multiple complex relationships during their programs. To examine these roles, we conducted a constructivist grounded theory investigation of how counselor education doctoral students (n = 9) balanced multiple roles and relationships and boundary crossings. We utilized chain referral sampling and continued until we reached theoretical saturation. We used semi-structured interviews conducted via videoconferencing (Zoom) for data collection and coded the interviews using two main phases: an initial phase and a focused coding phase. We used member checks by sending participants preliminary findings for feedback. The resulting theory describes two distinct stakeholders in the management of the multiple roles and relationships in counselor education: the students and the program. Students were responsible for balancing roles and responsibilities while considering professional growth, ethics, and boundary setting. The program was responsible for providing a growth-fostering environment and mentorship. Ultimately, the process of navigating multiple roles and relationships (MRRs) involves early discussion of MRRs, intentionality of program placement, assistance with boundaries and ethical decisions, and exposure to remediation and gatekeeping.


counselor education, doctoral students, multiple roles and relationships, CACREP accredited programs, grounded theory

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Isabel C. Farrell (she/her; https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7836-9284) is an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling at Wake Forest University. She is also a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). Her research agenda focuses on social justice and professional advocacy, and underserved populations, with a focus on Latinx communities. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Isabel C. Farrell, Wake Forest University, PO Box 7406, Winston-Salem, NC 27109. Email: farrelic@wfu.edu

Dr. Casey Barrio Minton is a professor of counselor education at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She is a member of the editorial review boards for Counselor Education & Supervision and the Journal of Professional Counseling and serves as an ad hoc reviewer for counseling outcome research & evaluation. She has presented at professional association conferences at the state, regional, national, and international levels, and consults with organizations concerning crisis issues and student learning outcome assessment.

Dr. Amanda C. DeDiego (https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2270-5813) is an associate professor of counseling and a program coordinator at the University of Wyoming. She has a Ph.D. in counselor education from the University of Tennessee and an M.S. in community counseling from the University of North Georgia. She has been a practicing counselor for ten years and embraces advocacy in both her clinical work and teaching. Her research focuses on addressing equity issues in healthcare and health disparities for underserved populations.

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