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Call for Participants – Counselor Weight Bias Study

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    My name is Ametis Bassir, and I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Counselor Education at Sam Houston State University. My dissertation research is a phenomenological study exploring the experiences of counselors’ awareness of weight bias and the therapeutic relationship working with clients. I am conducting this research under the facilitation of my director Dr. Jeffrey Sullivan, and dissertation committee members Dr. Yvonne Garza-Chaves and Dr. Demetrius Cofield in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Ph.D. in Counselor Education. I am currently seeking participants who meet the criteria for this study and are willing to participate in the interview and data collection process.

    Participants who will be eligible: (a) full state licensure stats as a professional counselor for a minimum of three years, (b) currently working in a clinical setting (i.e., intensive outpatient, outpatient, private practice, group practice), (c) previous or current professional counseling experience working with clients in various body sizes, and (d) have personally experienced stigma or discrimination based on body size and/or weight.

    In addition to the eligibility criteria, I am looking for potential participants that have acknowledgement of their own weight biases and have personal experiences of weight-based discrimination or bias. These clients may have struggled with negative experiences regarding their weight, conditions of worth they have internalized about their bodies, self-worth-related concerns about their weight, or systemic issues and oppressive experiences related to weight and body size. Weight based discrimination can lead to distress in their daily lives, which impacts their relationships, access and compliance to medical treatment, daily activities, and experiences that become the focus of the therapeutic process. The goal of the study is to gain an understanding and learn about the experiences of professional counselors’ awareness of their own experiences around weight and how this shows up within the therapeutic alliance with clients, which could contribute helpful information to support other counselors and students.


    This study is voluntary, and your participation will be kept confidential. Individuals who consent to participate in this study will be asked to complete a demographic questionnaire. Based on responses, those who meet the criteria will move on to the study’s second phase, consisting of a 45–60-minute semi-structured interview. The interview will be conducted online via a secure videoconferencing platform. The research is relatively straightforward, and I do not expect the study to pose any risk to any volunteer participants other than the usual discomfort of exploring thoughts and emotions. If you are interested in participating in this study, please click on the following link:


    Thank you again for your time.

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