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Date of Award


Degree Type

Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

George A. Hill, PhD

Second Advisor

Susie C. Stanley, PhD


The present study is a non-experimental case study of a group of female clergy. Phenomenological data was gathered through semi-structured interviews and psychological testing with women currently in the pulpit or seeking a position in pastoral ministry. The Spiritual Well-Being Scale (Ellison & Paloutzian 1982) was used as a general measure of spiritual well-being. Twenty women from northwest Oregon were interviewed. The present study adds to the understanding of experiences common to women who choose to become ministers. It considers the impact of early religious experiences and family life on this career choice. It looks at their perceptions of the process of studying for and attaining a pastorate and explores the psychological needs these women ministers express. Suggestions are given for mental health practitioners who wish to offer service to women ministers.