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Title: A co-operative inquiry into counselling and psychotherapy trainers' inter- and intra-personal concerns and challenges in a higher education context
Author: Carver, Elizabeth V.
Awarding Body: University of Chester
Current Institution: University of Chester
Date of Award: 2017
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Abstract:
Key Aim: The purpose of this study was to examine complex concerns and challenges encountered by counselling and psychotherapy trainers, and support them to deliver a consistent, relationship-centred learning approach within Higher Education (HE). Background: Counselling and psychotherapy training is central to regulating practice, however, studies conceptualising trainers’ concerns and challenges in the United Kingdom (UK) are sparse. Literature generally evaluates trainer challenges from a professional competence and/or gatekeeping perspective. Little evidence exists identifying problems connected with ‘professionalisation’. Aims and Objectives: The aim was to evaluate trainers’ multidimensional unease that can hinder working relationships. The intention was to: explore difficult patterns of behaviour and group dynamics in the ‘training alliance’; explore trainers’ perceptions and experiences when confronted with gatekeeping issues; collaboratively develop strategies to enhance trainers’ learning experience; examine the processes needed to sustain these strategies; and identify the lessons learnt to inform practice, education, and research. Approach and Methods: A qualitative, co-operative inquiry approach enabled trainers to question their situated and propositional knowledge, reconcile professional challenges, allay concerns about individual fitness to practice, and provide alternative responses to students, peers, and managerial hierarchies in HE and professional bodies. This approach has a political and social element, according with personal desire to make change. Thematic analysis uncovered new insights, expanded or modified principles and re-examine accepted interpretations during 8 inquiry sessions with 5 experienced trainers, and 3 associated workshops. A primarily iterative and inductive process of immersion, involved reflexive engagement, and sharing of data with trainer/practitioners. Findings: 6 overarching themes were identified: Trying to Make Sense of Significant Events; Negotiating Conflict and Incongruity in Training Groups; Navigating Inherent Challenges within Counsellor Training Teams; Teaching as a Never-Ending Challenge; Organisational Constraints and Challenges; and Contemplating Individual Connection in a Collaborative Context. Discussion and Conclusion: Findings supported previous research suggesting trainers require training, and that trainers’ concerns and challenges are interlinked; beginning with interpersonal challenges that subsequently impact on trainers’ professional and intra-personal sense of identity. Co-operative inquiry can benefit programme teams in terms of the co-construction of trainers’ realities and dynamic negotiation of meaning. Co-researchers’ knowledge and confidence in responding to potential conflict in training was enhanced. To achieve the best outcome, this knowledge needs implementing in practice; programme team involvement is a prerequisite, and support is required by professional bodies and HE to ensure ethical training practice in the face of student disgruntlement, management demands in HE and from professional accrediting bodies.
Supervisor: Gubi, Peter M. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.720925  DOI: Not available
Keywords: counsellor training ; professional competence ; gatekeeping ; group dynamics ; working alliance ; co-operative inquiry
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