Trainee clinical psychologists talking about religion and spirituality in their work

Prof Doc Thesis

Begum, Nicola 2012. Trainee clinical psychologists talking about religion and spirituality in their work. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Pyschology
AuthorsBegum, Nicola
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Religious and spiritual beliefs and practices have been shown to have a positive impact on many clients’ mental well-being; however, most therapists do not address religious and spiritual issues as standard clinical practice and thus neglect an important aspect of clients’ worldview. Several areas are attributed to this neglect, including psychologists’ lack of exploration of their personal values and professional experiences of religion and spirituality, limited guidance from professional bodies and a neglect of these issues in UK clinical psychology training. The importance of trainee self-reflection during training to ensure issues of difference are explored is highlighted. There is a lack of understanding in UK based literature of the religious and spiritual experiences of trainee clinical psychologists and how this relates to and impacts upon their professional training, thus a qualitative approach was considered to explore and illuminate these issues. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009) was used to analyse interview transcripts of eight trainee clinical psychologists. Findings showed a lack of awareness of the topic; these participants seemed to find it difficult to think and talk about the personal aspect of ‘personal and professional issues’ regarding religion, and to an even greater extent, about spirituality. They reported that working clinically with religious and spiritual issues raised many anxieties; participants related this to several layers of the clinical psychology profession, including a lack of exploration of the topic academically and in supervision, and a sense of powerlessness in challenging their understanding of the profession which appears disinterested in these issues. Recommendations resulting from the study include: further exploration of the topic amongst clinical psychology populations to gauge better understandings of the existing concerns and to establish an increased evidence-base of literature, development of ‘tools for thinking’ about religion and spirituality, and the development of training for trainers.

Keywordstraumatic brain injury; neuropsychological assessment; interpretative phenomenological analysis
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintMay 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited08 Jul 2013
Publisher's version
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