How Does Experiential Knowledge of Distress Influenced the Decision to Train as a Psychological Therapist?

Prof Doc Thesis

Aina, Olumayowa 2015. How Does Experiential Knowledge of Distress Influenced the Decision to Train as a Psychological Therapist? Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Psychology
AuthorsAina, Olumayowa
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Clinical psychologists do not appear to be willing to talk about their own experiences of distress. This may be due to the scientist practitioner model that has dominated the profession for some time. Recently, there appears to be a shift towards a reflective practitioner model with a growing interest in personal and professional development which may provide a cultural shift. It is clear from the literature that psychologists’ own experiences of distress prior to training, influence their decision to pursue therapeutic careers. In addition to this, there is evidence that suggests that the life experiences of psychologists influences the theoretical orientations that they use in practice. The present study aims to address the gaps in the literature by exploring the influence of distressing experiences that occur before training and how these experiences influence the decision to train as a clinical psychologist. Furthermore, the present study aims to explore how experiences of distress influence the development of a clinical psychologist’s preferred theoretical orientation.
Eight participants‘ accounts were analysed by using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The following four themes were identified; how experiences of distress influence the career pathway to clinical psychology, being a professional who has experiential knowledge of distress, how personal experiences of distress influence how clinical psychologists relate to clients and how distress influences the way change processes are understood. Participants acknowledged the influence of experiential distress on career choice and on theoretical orientation, however this was one of many influences that were considered to be important. The findings have both clinical and research implications which are discussed.

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PrintMay 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Oct 2015
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