Counseling Psychology Trainees' Experiences with Difficult Diversity Dialogues in Inpatient Group Practice

Chelsea Atlas, Fordham University


This grounded theory dissertation study explored counseling psychology doctoral trainees’ experiences with difficult diversity dialogues in their acute adult inpatient group practice. Participants were 14 students enrolled in APA-accredited counseling psychology doctoral programs in New York. They participated in in-depth, semi-structured interviews, which were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed according to grounded theory methodology. Participants were invited to reflect upon and share the strategies they used to navigate difficult diversity dialogues, the perceived impact of their intervention strategies on the group process, their reactions to having difficult diversity dialogues, and ways in which they processed difficult diversity dialogues. Findings illustrate the intervention strategies used to facilitate or avert difficult diversity dialogues and the ways in which there was growth or stagnation in the group process. Participants showed an awareness of privilege and power dynamics in the group and shared their strong reactions that arose while managing difficult diversity dialogues. Results highlighted the lack of supervision and training provided for inpatient trainees. The findings underscore the complex levels of interaction in the inpatient group and the challenging experience of navigating cultural dialogue in inpatient group psychotherapy. The findings have implications for multicultural group practice, education, and training as it applies to inpatient contexts.

Subject Area

Counseling Psychology|Public Health Education|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Atlas, Chelsea, "Counseling Psychology Trainees' Experiences with Difficult Diversity Dialogues in Inpatient Group Practice" (2020). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28001272.