Narratives and Assets: Enhancing Counseling Center Clinicians’ Knowledge and Skills in Working With First-Generation College Students

Rovitto / Journal of First-generation Student Success / November 2021

Students who seek mental health services on campus have been found to improve personal, professional, and social functioning. However, first-generation college students (FGCS) are likely to experience greater emotional and psychological stress but are less likely to access college counseling centers (CCC) services. This qualitative study examined the experiences of CCC clinicians in working with FGCS. Three overarching themes emerged as: FGCS’ systemic obstacles, common presenting concerns, and building on resilience. Clinicians’ experiences were influenced by their clinical training and understanding of FGCS’ narratives and assets. They emphasized the importance of FGCS resilience and the utilization of humility and empowerment to promote FGCS growth. Clinicians indicated the need for specialized training to best support, advocate, and build on FGCS resilience.

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