Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Counselor Education and Supervision

Department or School/College

College of Education and Human Sciences

Committee Co-chair

Lindsey Nichols, John Sommers-Flanagan

Commitee Members

Veronica Johnson, Sara Polanchek, Bart Klika


adaptation, alaska native, american indian, clinician, cultural, treatment


University of Montana


This study investigated the lived experiences of clinicians who have culturally adapted Empirically Supported Treatments (EST) for American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) populations. The central research question for this investigation was: What is the experience of mental health providers in culturally adapting empirically supported treatments for American Indian and Alaska Native populations? A guided semi-structured interview protocol was used to interview eight participants. Giorgi’s descriptive phenomenological psychological method was used to develop a general psychological structure representing eight essential constituents. They are: developing an understanding of cultural adaptation, focusing on building and maintaining therapeutic relationships, immersion and engagement with community, experiencing conflict between Western and Indigenous epistemology, navigating the use of empirically supported treatments, supporting traditional and culturally developed ways of healing, clinicians’ ability to embody cultural humility and increase cultural competency, and coping with external factors. Implications for practitioners, treatment developers, funders, academic programs, clients, and the counseling field are provided. Lastly, recommendations derived directly from the data, arising from limitations of the study, based on delimitations, and those relevant to the research problem are discussed.



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