Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


College of Education

First Advisor

Ryan Carlson


The purpose of this narrative study was to understand the experiences of Black males in doctoral counselor education programs. The study aimed to build a dialogue based on participant’s experiences growing up as Black males, and how they experienced sense of belonging in their counselor education programs. This narrative study utilized a purposive and homogenous sampling selection. Black males who were selected to participate in this study attended Predominantly White Institutions and were in the process of earning their doctoral degrees in counselor education. Each male was a full-time student, in either their second, third or fourth year of their program. Narrative Theory, Critical Race Theory, and the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Educational Models were identified as theoretical frameworks to understand participants’ experiences. Participants’ narratives were constructed using a Three-Dimensional Space Approach and told in Chronological order structured with a beginning, middle, and end.

Black males experienced lower levels of sense of belonging while completing doctoral counselor education degrees at Predominantly White Institutions. Identifying as a Black male played a role in how they perceived sense of belonging at their institution. In addition, findings developed themes that aligned with Narrative Research and Critical Race theory tenants of (a) Centrality to Race & Racism/Externalizing the Problem, (b) Challenges to Dominate Ideology/Counter-Narrative and (c) Experiential Knowledge/Linking. Findings of these tenants included suggestions about how universities can improve sense of belonging among Black males in doctoral counselor education programs.

This study has implications for counselor education programs, clinical mental health professions, and future research studies. White faculty members and White counselors should develop a deeper understanding of the racial and cultural needs to become aware of appropriate techniques to create healthy relationships with Black males. Moreover, this study created a more extensive voice of Black males in counselor education to raise awareness for the need for a restructured curriculum and development of mentoring and support programs. Finally, this study allowed more profound understanding of Black male’s experiences of sense of belonging in doctoral counselor education programs at Predominantly White Institutions, Counselor Education Programs, and traditional systemic higher education structures.


© 2018, Justin Adams