Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. James M. Croteau

Second Advisor

Dr. Donna Talbot

Third Advisor

Dr. Norman Kiracofe

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Liwana Bringelson


Mentoring is often endorsed within broader discussions of the education and training of students in counseling and psychology (e.g., Ellis, 1992; Gelso & Fretz, 1992; Kilburg, 1991), although, there is very little in the professional literature about these relationships (Carden, 1990). Out of the small amount of professional training literature on lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) issues, Buhrke and Douce (1991) have provided the only discussion of counseling psychology trainees who themselves are LGB. There are no other published sources that discuss the practice of mentoring with LGB students in counseling psychology.

This qualitative study investigated (LGB) doctoral students’ mentoring relationships with faculty in counseling psychology. Four broad areas of inquiry were identified for inclusion in the interviews. In what ways do LGB doctoral students in counseling psychology consider mentoring relationships with faculty to be potentially valuable? Do LGB doctoral students in counseling psychology perceive themselves to have opportunities to form mentoring relationships with faculty and what are the issues around the formation of these relationships? How do LGB doctoral students perceive and experience the purposes or functions of mentoring relationships with faculty? How are LGB students’ experiences with mentoring relationships and the effects of those relationships influenced by external (environmental) factors involving heterosexism or homophobia (e.g., anti-gay violence, employment discrimination and homophobic attitudes toward students and faculty)? Data from semi-structured interviews with 14 LGB participants was analyzed using a grounded theory approach (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). After submitting a preliminary descriptive schema to a peer audit, and a “member check”, a final descriptive schema of these LGB doctoral students’ mentoring relationships with faculty was constructed. The descriptive schema included two interactive LGB specific contextual themes (safety in the training environment regarding LGB issues and students’ level of outness/disclosure regarding sexual orientation) that helped shape three themes regarding LGB students’ experience of mentoring relationships (formation, functions and impact). Recommendations for faculty mentors and for LGB doctoral students are made based on the results and implications for research are addressed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access