The Lived Experience of Professional Counselors who are First-Generation South Asian American



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There has been limited research conducted on professional counselors who are ethnic minorities, especially South Asian American professional counselors. However, there has been a recent increase of ethnic minority students in counselor education programs. As the demographics change in counselor training programs, counselor educators and supervisors must become more aware of their diverse student body. The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of professional counselors who are first-generation South Asian American. I employed critical race theory and the multiple heritage identity development model as the theoretical frameworks because both address the complex identity development and educational needs of South Asian American professional counselors. The interview questions were created to understand the unique perspective of 11 participants. Themes that emerged from the data were multiple heritage identity development, counselor identity development, multicultural competency, and racial identity and counseling. According to this study, counselor educators and supervisors should consider the full humanity of the counselor trainee and how their multiple identities may impact their development. Future researchers should continue studying South Asian professional counselors, within-group differences in the South Asian community, and best practices for counseling South Asians.



Counselor education, South Asian American, Counselor identity development, Transcendental phenomenology