This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Phenomenological Study Exploring the Lived Experiences of Compassion Satisfaction in Early Career Mental Health Counselors




Green, Marina

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling


This qualitative study explored the lived experiences of compassion satisfaction in eight early career mental health counselors. Through in-depth, semi-structured interviews, the researcher sought to capture the nuances and essence of compassion satisfaction. Using a transcendental phenomenological approach, the researcher endeavored to minimize researcher bias through bracketing in order to preserve the subjective meaning and richness of the participants’ lived experiences of compassion satisfaction. Six themes emerged from the data, the former three illuminating what the participants have experienced regarding compassion satisfaction, and the latter three revealing how they have experienced compassion satisfaction, referencing the contexts and settings in which they experienced it: Reciprocal benefits, self-efficacy, “wind in your sails,” a trusting therapeutic relationship, witnessing client change, and making a difference. Implications for mental health counselors, counselor educators, and clinical supervisors are also provided for the purposes of promoting counselor wellness and sustained quality of client care.