"Nobody can give from an empty vessel": a qualitative study on self-care for women activists in counseling psychology

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Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Education
Department Educational Psychology
Author Mccadden, Elizabeth P.
Title "Nobody can give from an empty vessel": a qualitative study on self-care for women activists in counseling psychology
Date 2016
Description Women psychologists have conducted social justice work since the beginning of psychology, when women were denied access to education. The efforts of first- and second-generation women psychologists paved the way for present day women in counseling psychology. Today's female psychologists and graduate students in counseling psychology encounter numerous challenges as female professors, clinicians, researchers, and students. Added stress includes challenges associated with social justice activism, which oftentimes is work that occurs on a voluntary basis without financial compensation. Despite encountering many challenges in activist work, women in counseling psychology willingly continue to serve their communities and universities through social justice work using methods of self-care. The role of self-care is vital for professionals, given the threat of burnout and compassion fatigue in mental health disciplines. The following study explores the role of self-care for female psychologists and graduate students in counseling psychology who conduct social justice work. Seventeen participants, consisting of female psychologists and graduate students in counseling psychology, were interviewed about self-care. All participants self-identified as social justice activists. Using a grounded theory approach, qualitative methods were incorporated to analyze transcripts of semistructured interviews to create a conceptual model of self-care related to female activists. Results add to the understanding of social justice work by describing activism as an ongoing process that builds from efforts of previous activists, a process that gives back to the activist in meaningful and purposeful ways, and a process that involves emotional investment. Results also provide a deeper understanding of self-care, which is described as a learning process that changes throughout the lifespan. Self-care is rooted in the idea of knowing, which is understanding one's needs at a specific moment and choosing self-care that best fit those specific needs. Participants identified internal and external types of self-care addressing physical, relational, spiritual, and mindful needs. Four themes emerged from the data to describe the relationship of self-care in the lives of activist women. These themes include Relational Support, Influences, Challenges, and Strategies. The relationships among all four themes are described within the conceptual framework of an all-encompassing theme, activist lifestyle. A visual diagram illustrating this conceptual model is provided.
Type Text
Publisher Proquest Dissertations Publishing
Subject Activism; Counseling Psychology; Qualitative Research; Self-Care; Social Justice; Women
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management ©Elizabeth P. Mccadden
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 946,864 bytes
Identifier etd3/id/4209
ARK ark:/87278/s6jq48b1
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2016-10-11
Date Modified 2020-01-14
ID 197754
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6jq48b1
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