Adults with intellectual disabilities have been largely excluded from research into humanistic counselling approaches, and peer-reviewed studies that explore the use of existential psychotherapy with this population appear absent in the literature. This study matched three dyads of clients with intellectual disabilities and counsellor-trainees to conduct a single photography-based meaning in life counselling intervention. Clients were interviewed, and counsellor-trainees provided written memos about their experiences with the process. Interviews were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, revealing a complex interplay between the use of photography, discussing MIL and the therapeutic relationship. Client participants reported positive experiences, including feelings of empowerment and motivation, control of session pace and content, and positive perceptions of their counsellor. Counsellor trainees reported the session led to increased confidence in applying their counselling skills to serve clients with intellectual disabilities in the future. These results reveal existential psychotherapy has potential for effective use with this client population.
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Thesis advisor: Hoskyn, Maureen
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