Date of Award

Spring 5-27-2016

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of arts (BA)


Global Honors

First Advisor

Rachel M. Hershberg


Phenomenology is a philosophical movement, and more recently, an approach taken by healthcare professionals around the world in their work with patients, and by social scientists in their research about human phenomena (Creswell, 2011; Viney & King, 2003). In this paper, I will explore this approach in the field of psychology specifically. I will focus on how phenomenology has been used to enhance the clinical practice of psychology, and in qualitative research in psychology to better understand and promote well-being. I will suggest that the phenomenological approach in psychology leads to a more open-minded and rigorous practitioner and researcher who is attentive to multiple parameters of human experiences. My paper is structured into four sections. In the first section, I describe the history of this philosophical perspective and how it has been taken up by psychologists in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I then describe the use of the phenomenological approach in the practice of clinical psychology, focusing on work in this area by Kunz (1998/2006) and Giorgi (1970/2009/2013). Then, I highlight how this approach has informed qualitative research in psychology, and provide a few examples. Finally, I will highlight the global significance of this perspective, and how Edmund Husserl, the father of phenomenology, influenced researchers, practitioners, and scholars throughout the world