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Title: Exploring the impact of personal therapy and factors that affect disclosure of mental health difficulties in applied psychology trainees
Author: Willets, L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7656 411X
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2018
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There is growing interest in the mental health of applied psychologists. Whilst the research pertaining to the mental health of trainee applied psychologists is emerging, there are few empirical studies in this area. The existing evidence base shows that training to become an applied psychologist is stressful (Cushway, 1992; Kumary & Baker, 2008) and mental health difficulties are prevalent in trainees (Grice, Alcock & Scior, 2018a). One way of reducing stress may be to access personal therapy (Bike, Norcross & Schatz, 2009). Disclosing mental health difficulties may also promote self-care and reduce stigma (Barnett, Baker, Elman and Schoener (2007). This thesis aims to explore and extend the research literature relating to trainee applied psychologists' personal development, wellbeing and mental health. The first paper addresses this through a systematic review of the impact of personal therapy on trainee counselling and clinical psychologists. This is followed by an empirical paper which explores factors that affect trainee clinical psychologists' decisions to disclose, or not disclose, their own mental health difficulties during their clinical psychology training. The systematic literature review was prepared for the Training and Education in Professional Psychology. A meta-synthesis approach was used to synthesise qualitative research into the impact of personal therapy for trainee clinical and counselling psychologists. Seven papers were included in the review. A total of eight themes and ten subthemes were identified. These are described along with a summary of the findings in the context of clinical and counselling psychology training and current research. Recommendations for practice and future research are made. The empirical paper was prepared for the Journal of Clinical Psychology. A grounded theory approach was used to understand what factors affect trainee clinical psychologists' decision to disclose, or not disclose, their own mental health difficulties during their clinical psychology training. This research aimed to build on the results of recent studies which have found high levels of mental health difficulties and low levels of mental health disclosure in trainee clinical psychologists. Twelve recently qualified clinical psychologists were interviewed about their experiences of mental health difficulties and disclosure decisions during their clinical psychology training. A theoretical framework was developed, which describes trainees' decision making processes relating to mental health disclosure. Participants' reasons for disclosing are described as well as the factors that inhibited disclosure and factors that enabled disclosure. The paper provides a detailed description of the methodology, analysis and findings. The implications of the research in terms of clinical psychology training are discussed and a number of recommendations are made for practice and further research.
Supervisor: Golding, Laura ; Greenhill, Beth Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral