Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Counseling and Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Charles E. Myers

Department Affiliation

Counseling and Educational Psychology

Second Advisor

Carol A. Sommer

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Third Advisor

Angela G. Spiers

Department Affiliation

Counseling and Educational Psychology


Counselor educators and supervisors have the incumbent responsibility to ensure that CITs are sufficiently prepared to engage in counseling work with clientele from diverse backgrounds. Extant literature has demonstrated the use of film to teach CITs about racism and antiracism, promote exploration and awareness of racial attitudes, and examine the interactions of culturally diverse individuals. Films have also been utilized to assist CITs with acquiring knowledge about certain categorical cultural and social populations. Despite the recognition of popular film as a beneficial media to facilitate cultural learning in counselor education, there exists a gap in the literature regarding the experiences and understandings of CITs exposed to media, specifically film, that explicitly portray the dynamic interactions of intersectional identities through a lens of development. Additionally, no studies in the counselor education field have focused on the experiences of more advanced counseling students enrolled in clinical courses such as practicum and internship who have been exposed to multicultural or intersectional films. In this study, a basic interpretative qualitative approach was employed to explore the experiences and perceptions of mental health counseling interns exposed to the popular film, Moonlight. Five final themes emerged as a result of this study. 12 master’s level counseling interns engaged in a focus group interview, completed written reflection responses, and participated in member checks to discuss their experiences and perceptions of the film. Interpretations of themes were presented to conceptualize and discuss implications for counselor education and supervision, suggestions for integrating Moonlight, or other similar films, into curriculum, and directions for future research.