Clinical psychologists’ experiences of accessing personal therapy during training

Wilson, Hannah and Weatherhead, Stephen and Davies, Jenny (2014) Clinical psychologists’ experiences of accessing personal therapy during training. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis is composed of three sections: A literature review of trainee therapists’ experiences of supervision; a research paper exploring clinical psychologists’ experiences of accessing personal therapy during training; and a critical appraisal which considers some of the issues encountered during the research process. The literature review was conducted systematically, which resulted in fifteen qualitative studies for inclusion. A meta-synthesis was conducted with these studies. The findings suggest supervision can provide a number of learning opportunities for trainee therapists, and support them both personally and professionally. However, the efficacy of supervision appears to depend substantially upon the supervisory relationship. This includes the power differential between a supervisor and supervisee, such as whether a trainee fears negative evaluation if they raise concerns or difficulties. Implications for training courses are discussed, including recommendations for supervisor training courses. The research paper explores the experience of accessing personal therapy whilst undertaking clinical psychology training. Ten clinical psychologists were recruited and interviewed. The interviews were analysed using narrative analysis. The findings suggested personal therapy had a positive impact on participants both personally and professionally. They described a number of difficult experiences during the process, including a perceived stigma of accessing therapy as a trainee therapist. Participants also reflected on the role of personal therapy in supporting them through the stressors of clinical training. Implications for both clinical psychology training programmes and the profession are discussed, in addition to ideas for future research. The critical appraisal discusses particular aspects of the research process. This includes deciding to research personal therapy and reflections on the difference between a research interview and a therapy session. This section also considers decisions and challenges encountered using a narrative approach, both at the interviewing and analysis stages. Finally, the personal impact of the research is discussed.

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Thesis (PhD)
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09 Mar 2016 14:54
Last Modified:
28 Nov 2023 10:52