Mark C. Pilger, PhD is a 2024 graduate of the Counselor Education & Supervision Progam at Antioch University, Seattle.

Dissertation Committee

Stephanie Thorson-Olesen, PhD, Committee Chair

Colin Ward, PhD, Committee Member

Amanda Falkers, EdD, Committee Member


counselor, private practice, productivity, thematic analysis

Document Type


Publication Date



The purpose of this study is to understand how mental health counselors in private practice conceptualize, approach, and manage productivity, including key strategies and best practices employed through a qualitative study of lived experience. Inclusion criteria for participant eligibility included being a licensed counselor with a degree from a CACREP-accredited counseling program, working primarily in a private practice setting, and with primarily adult clients. Nineteen participants (N = 19) met these criteria and were included in the study. A thematic analysis was utilized by a team of researchers, which resulted in seven primary themes. The primary themes relate to the meaning of productivity in private counseling practice, thoughts and feelings about productivity, process of productivity, goals and values for productivity, productivity challenges and barriers, resource management, and best practices related to productivity. Ultimately, given the diversity of counselor thoughts, feelings, and perspectives on productivity unearthed in the study—ranging from antipathy to struggle to beneficial embrace, as well as the seeming discomfort of talking about the phenomen —it is recommended dedicated attention, fresh discussion, and further research on the topic be pursued.


Mark C. Pilger, PhD, 2024

ORCID Scholar ID# 0009-0000-5986-4071