How do Black Trainees Make Sense of Their 'Identities' in the Context of Clinical Psychology Training?

Prof Doc Thesis

Paulraj, Petrishia Samuel 2016. How do Black Trainees Make Sense of Their 'Identities' in the Context of Clinical Psychology Training? Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Psychology
AuthorsPaulraj, Petrishia Samuel
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This research explored how Black trainees in Clinical Psychology (CP) make sense of their identities in the context of training. In particular there was a focus on the influence of language, power and material realities on this process. This study was set in the context of CP’s historic and current socio-political contexts, including the profession’s historic relationship to ‘race’ and the current context of Personal and Professional Development (PPD) and ‘equality and diversity’ agendas. Identities are seen as integral to the personal development of CP trainees, however Black trainees’ perspectives on this had been largely neglected.
The study involved in-depth interviews with twelve trainee clinical psychologists who self-identified as Black. Interviews were analysed using thematic analysis informed by Foucault’s ideas on power, identities and discourse, from a critical realist social constructionist epistemology. Three main themes were identified.
Theme One encompassed participants’ talk about how they construct and relate to the term Black. Power relations and discourses both within CP and wider society influenced participants’ construction of Blackness. Theme Two encompassed participants’ accounts on being positioned as simultaneously hyper-visible and invisible within the culture of CP, forcing them embark on a journey in negotiating their identities. The third theme related to participants’ account of this journey, which was constructed as on-going, cyclical and lonely, with little or no support from training programmes.
Based on the analysis, implications for future research and the practice of CP training are considered. This research argues that CP needs to fulfil its duty of care towards existing Black trainees before attempting to ‘diversify’ further.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintMay 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Nov 2016
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