Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Philip S. Mirci, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Carol Franklin, Ed.D.

Ron Williams, Ed.D.


social sciences, education, career change, educational counseling, midlife, women workers


Educational Leadership


This autoethnography focused on the following overarching question: How did I overcome the indoctrination and socialization in my early human development to accept the unexamined assumption that my life was limited to being a wife, mother, and cosmetologist that prevented me from aspiring to a career as a school counselor that would increase my sense of purpose in life using the framework of Erikson's stages of development and feminist thought as the theoretical lens for inquiry and analysis of my experience? Seven sub-questions were developed to guide the study. Analyzing the review of literature and my own experience related to the overarching question and sub-questions resulted in the emergence of twelve themes. These were socialization historicity, systemic societal power, freedom for self-determination, abandonment, sense of belonging, sense of responsibility, ethic of care, confidence, advocacy, personal transition, wounded healer, and authenticity . Erik Erikson's life stage theory, feminist theory and modern research comprised the theoretical framework for the study. Becoming an educational counselor at mid-life could only be told as one women's story, and this autoethnography provides just a small portion of what could be said about the experience.

Implications for practice and implications for future research were shared. The significance of the study was that it may help other females in their pursuit to understand their lives, help counselors in working with others, and contribute to the research on mid-life career change to become a school counselor.


© 2013 Susan Dencklau

All Rights Reserved

ISBN: 9781303390470