548 Daniel A. DeCino, Phillip L. Waalkes, Amanda Dalbey “They Stay With You”: Counselor Educators’ Emotionally Intense Gatekeeping Experiences Emotionally intense gatekeeping experiences can require counselor educators to engage in a complicated, time- and energy-consuming, and draining series of events that can last years and involve legal proceedings. Research related to counselor educators’ experiences of intense emotions while gatekeeping remains limited. The aim of this transcendental phenomenological study was to investigate counselor educators’ (N = 11) emotionally intense gatekeeping experiences. Five themes emerged from the data: early warning signs, elevated student misconduct, dismissal, legal interactions, and change from experience. By being transparent about their feelings and challenges regarding emotionally intense gatekeeping experiences, counselor educators may compel other faculty, counselors in the field, and doctoral students to be better prepared for emotional gatekeeping experiences. Keywords: gatekeeping, counselor educators, transcendental phenomenological, emotionally intense, experiences Gatekeeping is an important role for counselor educators in order to uphold ethical standards within the counseling profession and to protect clients, students, and faculty (Homrich & Henderson, 2018). Allowing unprepared individuals to become counselors can impede positive client outcomes in therapy and even harm clients (Homrich & Henderson, 2018). The American Counseling Association’s ACA Code of Ethics (2014) defined gatekeeping as “the initial and ongoing academic, skill, and dispositional assessment of students’ competency for professional practice, including remediation and termination as appropriate” (p. 20). In addition, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP; 2015) standards require counseling program faculty to follow gatekeeping procedures in line with university policy and the profession’s ethical codes. Previous researchers have explored gatekeeping procedures (Swank & Smith-Adcock, 2014), gatekeeping policy (Rust et al., 2013), models for evaluating student counselor competence (Lumadue & Duffey, 1999), and problematic student behaviors (Henderson & Dufrene, 2013). Although research has focused on gatekeeping in counselor training, how counselor educators experience emotions tied to gatekeeping practices remains relatively unknown. Faculty who have engaged in some gatekeeping practices (e.g., remediation and dismissal) have reported experiencing strong emotions that may negatively impact the gatekeeping process (Wissel, 2014). Therefore, the purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to illuminate counselor educators’ emotionally intense gatekeeping experiences. We defined emotionally intense gatekeeping experiences as multilayered, complex, timeextended events that counselor educators identify as emotionally memorable. Emotions and Gatekeeping In more serious cases, gatekeeping can be a multilayered series of interactions with administrators, university appeals boards, and lawyers (Homrich & Henderson, 2018). Ziomek-Daigle and Christensen (2010) framed counselor educators’ gatekeeping in terms of preadmission screening, postadmission screening, Daniel A. DeCino, PhD, NCC, LPC (Colorado), is an assistant professor at the University of South Dakota. Phillip L. Waalkes, PhD, NCC, ACS, is an assistant professor at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Amanda Dalbey, MA, graduated from the University of South Dakota with a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. Correspondence may be addressed to Daniel DeCino, 414 E. Clark St., Vermillion, SD 57069, The Professional Counselor™ Volume 10, Issue 4, Pages 548–561 © 2020 NBCC, Inc. and Affiliates doi:10.15241/dad.10.4.548