Counseling resistant influentials: The experiences of counselors who counsel attorneys
Delony, John R.
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The legal profession is a deeply challenging profession, filled with adversarial interactions, secondary traumatic stress, and personal and professional isolation. Lawyers are trained to weaponize basic human connection and often find themselves lonely, disillusioned, and disconnected. As a result, they have mental wellness, health, and relationship challenges that exceed other professional populations. Frustratingly, like other Resistant Influentials, they are also culturally discouraged from seeking their own mental health care. On the other hand, licensed professional counselors are trained to be aware of unique subpopulations, to bracket their personal fears and biases out of the counseling suite, and potentially, to fear lawyers. There is no counselor training for therapists who counsel lawyers and other Resistant Influentials. Given the potential challenges of legal professionals, the lack of training for counselors, and the potential power imbalance between a lawyer client and a licensed professional counselor, a troubling question emerges: Are counselors prepared and/or able to serve lawyers in counseling? No studies exploring the lived experiences of counselors who serve lawyers was found to exist. This qualitative case study explored the experiences, perceptions, and voices of counselors who serve this unique population. Additionally, this study provides recommendations for counselor educators, legal educators, and licensed professional counselors.