The Lived Experiences of Academic Advisors with Counseling Degrees in Addressing Wellness with College Student-Athletes

Jennifer M. Gerlach – Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi
Donna M. Gibson – Virginia Commonwealth University

This study examined the lived experiences of 10 academic advisors with counseling degrees, or currently enrolled in graduate-level counselor education programs, to see if and how they address wellness with college student-athletes through semi-structured individual interviews. Results yielded four themes and seven sub-themes: Academic Skills and Planning, Counselor Practice and Knowledge (emphasis on fostering relationships, counseling skills and theory, and athletic empathy), Barriers to Seeking Support Services, and Cultivating Holistic Wellness in Student-Athletes (career and life skill development, psychological support, coach-advisor relationship, and case management). The findings suggest that academic advisors with counseling degrees are addressing wellness with their college student-athletes. Moreover, the results provide specific insights as to how academic advisors utilize their counseling skills when providing wellness services and provide recommendations for academic advisors of athletes and athletic departments.