This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Phenomenological Study: Self-Care and Work-Life Balance among Pre-tenure Counselor Educators




Hyatt, Tristen

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling


Self-care is vital to ongoing wellness and can be any activity or engagement that one participates in emotionally, mentally, or spiritually to prevent burnout (McGarrigle & Walsh, 2011). According to Bradley, Whisenhunt, Adamson, and Kress (2013), within the helping profession, it is important to be able to utilize self-care strategies to ensure one is working effectively and not from a diminished state, due to burnout. Another vital aspect of self-care is work-life balance. Fouche and Martindale (2011), defined work-life balance as the time that one spends outside of their work environment. Self-care and work-life balance are related and important areas to study in order to gain education to help decrease burnout. There have been numerous studies conducted on many professions related to self-care, work-life balance, and burnout but there is a limited amount of research on pre-tenure counselor educators. The current Phenomenological study explored the lived experience of pre-tenured counselor educators in relation to self-care and work-life balance to increase support for new tenure track counselor education faculty. Utilizing Van Manen’s (1990) Phenomenological approach, five essential themes emerged: 1) Numerous Roles and Responsibilities, 2) Mindfulness and Intentionality, 3) Sacrifices, 4) Needing Clarity, and 5) Value in the Work; and one incidental theme: 1) communication. This study aimed to increase job satisfaction, provide recommendations related to self-care and work-life balance, and increase awareness related to self-care and work-life balance struggles for pre-tenure counselor educators. Recommendations for mentoring, research teams, self- care and work-life balance workshops, and an increase in technology-based meetings were implications found as a result of this phenomenological study.