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Title: The wounded healer : clinical and counselling psychologists with experience of mental health problems
Author: Davison, Elizabeth
Awarding Body: Canterbury Christ Church University
Current Institution: Canterbury Christ Church University
Date of Award: 2013
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This study aimed to explore how the experience of previous mental-health problems affects clinical and counselling psychologists’ approach to practice. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six clinical and four counselling psychologists who had experienced mental-health difficulties. Data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Analysis of the interviews highlighted five master themes: Use of the personal-self of psychologist; Ambivalence; Identity as a psychologist; Psychologists as agent of change; and Finding meaning in suffering. The results of this research showed that psychologists with a history of mental-health problems actively draw upon their experience. In managing their dual identity of service-user and professional, they reported a degree of ambivalence which influenced the way that they viewed themselves and their practice. Their personal experiences seemed to be closely tied up with their professional-identity, which either conflicted with their sense of self or complemented it through highlighting how fortunate they were compared to others. The interviews frequently highlighted how psychologists’ experiences can provide an impetus to speak out for patients’ rights to ensure that they are treated with respect and dignity. A number of psychologists with an experience of mental-health difficulties felt that they might not have pursued their career had they not had previous mental-health difficulties. There appeared to be mixed findings concerning whether the participants felt that their mental-health difficulties had helped or hindered their practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: R0697 Allied health professionals ; RC0467 Clinical psychology ; RC0512 Psychopathology. Mental disorders