The role of theory and research in clinical practice : an investigation of therapists' perceptions of the scientist-practitioner model according to stage of professional development and professional allegiance.
The scientist -·practitioner model has been widely espoused as the optimum model of
professional training and practice for clinical psychologists and increasingly, the
related professions of counselling psychology and counselling. However, it has also
proved to be contentious regarding the extent to which it reflects or informs the
realities of professional practice. This debate has taken on a new meaning in the
current health care climate with the increasing emphasis on using research to
achieve • evidence-based practice'. This study explores clinical psychologists',
counselling psychologists' and counsellors' beliefs about the scientist-practitioner
model. Key themes relevant to this, and the related areas of theory, research and
clinical formulation, were identified through in-depth, qualitative interviews and
then tested further by using a survey instrument devised to reflect these themes.
The results suggested differences between the professional groups in beliefs about
research and the scientist-practitioner model and also indicated the influence of
work setting. Differences in idiosyncratic definition of the scientist-practitioner
model also emerged, which appeared to be related to beliefs about its value.
Implications for training and professional practice are discussed and the contribution
of the study to the existing literature and wider debate are reviewed.