The Narratives of Professional Counselors in the Rio Grande Valley: Stories of Resilience in a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area

Date
2018
Authors
Airhart-Larraga, Maria Samantha
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Abstract

Seven Hispanic counselors in long-term practice in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas participated in a qualitative narrative inquiry. The seven participants were interviewed and these interviews were transcribed, interpreted, and analyzed individually. Following individual analyses, the narratives were analyzed in a group to examine for commonalities and differences across the narratives. The analyses were conducted through a relational-cultural lens. Participants shared stories of strengths and supports, struggles, the high point of their careers, and the influence that being Hispanic had on their stories of professional resilience. Participants recognized balance in the form of family, spirituality, multiple professional roles, and self-care as significant to sustaining their work as counselors. Participants established that professional connections such as colleagues, coworkers, and mentors were essential for professional resilience. Personally, the participants described relational connections in family and friends as the foundation for their professional resilience. Participants documented bilingualism, improving mental health perceptions, increasing community resources, and belonging to the community as bolstering longevity in the field. These findings suggest implications for counselors, supervisors, and counseling education in terms of encouraging balance, building personal and professional connections, and providing cultural specific support and training.

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This item is available only to currently enrolled UTSA students, faculty or staff.
Keywords
Hispanic, professional counselors, resilience, Rio Grande valley
Citation
Department
Counseling