Perceptions of integration in counselling psychology training, a pilot study
Ward, T. , Hogan, K. and Menns, R. (2011) Perceptions of integration in counselling psychology training, a pilot study. Counselling Psychology Review, 26 (3). pp. 8-19. ISSN 0269-6975
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Background: Many professional training courses in counselling psychology are now presenting a number of therapeutic models, with the expectation that trainees will demonstrate a way of working with clients that incorporates features of each. Aims: This pilot study sets out to find out the perceptions of trainees around the process of learning a number of therapeutic approaches. Method: Six trainees were interviewed in depth about their training, in relation to the therapeutic models presented and expectations of practice. Three course directors and three experienced counselling psychologists were also interviewed. The interviews were transcribed and subjected to thematic analysis. Results: A key theme was that trainees often find developing an integrative stance quite a challenge. They tend to feel that courses could approach this aspect of their learning in a more explicit and systematic manner. On the other hand, conflicts in the training constellation between course, supervisor and practice context were seen as stressful, but very growth promoting. Conclusions: Counselling psychology trainees often experience the requirement to integrate a number of approaches to be quite challenging. Understanding and facilitating this process is worthy of further exploration. Finally it is suggested that trainees are often limited in the extent to which they articulate psychology as a foundation for their practice and identity as a counselling psychologist. It is suggested that there is scope for further development in this area. In particular, psychology can serve as a more explicit framework for integration, which potentially makes counselling psychologists unique within the therapeutic market place.
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