The personal and professional integration of lesbian and gay clinical psychology trainees: challenges and opportunities

Prof Doc Thesis

Butler, Catherine 2003. The personal and professional integration of lesbian and gay clinical psychology trainees: challenges and opportunities. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsButler, Catherine
TypeProf Doc Thesis

The study investigated lesbian and gay trainees' personal and professional integration
using qualitative and quantitative methods. Three gay and six lesbian trainees were
recruited by snowballing in the trainee and lesbian/gay communities and via a website
for lesbian and gay students. Semi-structured interviews were analysed by means of
an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), alongside two standardised
questionnaires (GHQ-28 and COPE) measuring psychological distress and coping
strategies respectively. A greater percentage of participants scored above the cut-off
for caseness on the GHQ than has been reported in previous studies, and the scores
reflected a trend that lesbians reported more distress, as has been reported in research
on professional women. A number of themes were identified through the IP A,
highlighting the challenges faced, the coping strategies employed and the strengths
participants brought into training. Participants held knowledge and experience about
lesbian and gay issues beyond that considered by their courses. This position brought
tensions between being an educator and a student, which were coped with by
assessing when to speak or stay quiet. Further barriers for personal and professional
integration included a lack of staff support and displays of anti-lesbian and gay
sentiment by course staff, supervisors, lecturers and peers, although participants
recruited support from outside their course. The consequence of such challenges left
some participants considering leaving the profession. These findings suggest that
courses are still in the early stages of meeting the British Psychological Society's
(2002) accreditation guidelines, which encourage diversity within trainee cohorts and
facilitation of reflection and support to develop personal/professional integration.
This study provides some clear guidelines for course development and directions for
future research.

Publication dates
PrintMay 2003
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Jun 2014
Additional information

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