The perceived impact of counselling training on students' personal relationships


Daldorph, A. and Hill, S. 2024. The perceived impact of counselling training on students' personal relationships. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. 24 (1), pp. 63-74.
AuthorsDaldorph, A. and Hill, S.

Despite the urban myth of “the divorce course,” there is little research to support this perception of counselling training programmes. Studies exploring the lived experiences of counsellors in training have referred to relationship changes, but none have made these their primary focus. Research is needed to enhance our understanding of this formative stage for counsellors.

The purpose of this ideographic study is to gain new perspectives on the perceived impact of counselling training on trainees' personal relationships by exploring the lived experiences of five counsellors who completed their training in the last 18 months.

Through a process of volunteer and snowball sampling, qualified counsellors were invited to participate in individual semistructured interviews, which were recorded and transcribed. Due to the small sample size and the emphasis on how each participant made meaning of their own experience, interpretative phenomenological analysis was chosen to interpret the findings.

Detailed analysis and interpretation of the data filtered into two superordinate themes:
1. permission to change; and
2. the challenge of integration.

The data revealed that training had a significant multifaceted impact on the personal relationships of all participants. Participants' experience of their training group and of personal therapy was found to be an important factor in this change, as were themes of agency and identity. The majority of ruptures in extant relationships took place early in training. Further research is needed, perhaps into the experiences of loved ones in relationships with student counsellors.

JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Journal citation24 (1), pp. 63-74
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
Online11 Oct 2022
Print20 Jan 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted16 Sep 2022
Deposited02 Feb 2024
Copyright holder© 2022, The Authors
Permalink -

Download files

  • 12
    total views
  • 4
    total downloads
  • 12
    views this month
  • 4
    downloads this month

Export as