A qualitative, hermeneutic, phenomenological study was completed to gain insight into experiences of drug and alcohol (D&A) counselors in rural Alaska. The goal was to determine why counselors in rural Alaska work in their positions and continue to perform, despite existing research indicating challenges in the occupation. The results indicated organizations may better support counselors in their essential work. Counselors’ stories highlighted common themes known to the field (challenges, stigma) and themes previously unnamed but taken-for-granted (community/giving-back, prevention, personal/professional growth). Interviewing a homogeneous, purposively selected sample of D&A counselors working in rural Alaska provided rich experiential information answering the research question. A hermeneutic, phenomenological approach to information gathering and analyses of interview transcripts for common themes captured the lived experience of the counselors and illuminated their perceptions of incentives encouraging their service. The nation’s addiction problems are not decreasing, intervention by skilled professionals is needed and there was not qualitative research in existing literature describing why counselors persist. Results indicated that despite challenging deadlines, politics, stigma, and more, counselors verily enjoy their work, allowing them to give back to their communities and save lives. Counselors also appreciate personal and professional growth. Conclusions propose suggestions for future research regarding recruitment and retention, such as personal experience with addiction, being an established community member and desiring opportunities for personal/professional growth.
|Advisor:||Conrad, Kelley A.|
|Commitee:||Carver, Rita W., Lane, James F.|
|School:||University of Phoenix|
|Department:||School of Advanced Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/4(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Organizational behavior, Occupational psychology, Philosophy of Science, Counseling Psychology|
|Keywords:||Addiction, Rural Alaska, Drug and alcohol counselors|
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