Date of Award

Summer 1-1-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy In Urban Education Degree: Counseling Psychology



First Advisor

Phillips, Julia C.

Second Advisor

Catherine Hansman, Ed.D

Third Advisor

Ingrid Hogge, Ph.D.


The available research on psychosis is presently lacking practitioners’ beliefs about people with symptoms of psychosis (focused here on auditory verbal hallucination) as well as conceptualization and treatment planning with these clients. There is some growing interest in “healthy voice-hearers,” people who hear voices but do not experience distress. This study comprised information about clinicians’ experiences through an empirical phenomenological method guided by a critical theory framework. A sample of both counseling (n = 4) and clinical practitioners (n = 10), including psychologists and predoctoral and postdoctoral interns, was recruited and interviewed about their beliefs and experiences, as well as to what degree positive psychology or strengths-based perspectives are used in understanding and working with clients who hear voices. Results were analyzed using an empirical phenomenological approach (Aspers, 2004). The following themes were found: therapeutic approach to working with people with psychosis, clinicians’ feelings about working with people who hear voices, familiarity with critical theory, healthy voice-hearers, clinical and counseling psychology training, training and familiarity with positive psychology, implementing positive psychology in their work, and belief in recovery. Implications for future research, clinical practice, training and education, and advocacy are discussed.