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Title: Improving therapist wellbeing and the role of resilience
Author: Nelson, Rosalyn S.
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
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Research has shown that therapists might be vulnerable to stress, as they offer support to clients and see their distress. It is suggested that therapists might benefit from training to help improve their own wellbeing and resilience. Section One looked at the current studies on interventions (or training) to help therapists with their own wellbeing. Twenty-five studies were found which looked at three main types of therapies. These were therapies that helped therapists to focus on the here-and-now, to be flexible in their thinking, and to be kinder towards themselves. When the findings from the studies were combined together, the overall results were mixed. Interventions were sometimes helpful to reduce stress and anxiety and showed possible promise to help manage emotions, reducing negative feelings and burnout. They had less impact on broader mental health and depression. An assessment of the quality of the studies showed many were on small numbers of participants and had no comparison group who had not received the training. Interventions may help therapists but longer studies with more participants are needed. Resilience is an individual's ability to cope and bounce back after difficulties. Section Two considers a resilience workshop for trainee therapists. It is a study which looked at the role of resilience in the wellbeing of trainee Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (TPWPs) and if a resilience workshop is feasible, acceptable and helpful during training. The one-day workshop aimed to help trainees to build positive feelings, flexible thinking and self-care skills. TPWPs invited to attend the workshop were asked to complete a questionnaire on resilience before, at the end of, and 10-weeks after the workshop. Other questionnaires on burnout, wellbeing, depression and anxiety were also completed before and at follow-up. Feedback on the workshop was collected. Sixty-five trainees initially took part and fifty-six completed all the questionnaires across the three time-points. Trainee's supervisors were invited and eighteen completed a questionnaire which looked at if a good relationship can help a trainee to be more resilient. The results supported that trainees with higher resilience might have higher wellbeing and lower anxiety, depression and burnout. Trainees reported the workshop was acceptable and gave positive feedback and suggested some changes for future courses, because they felt familiar with some of the content. Overall, self-reported resilience increased over time and by follow-up the scores were higher than before or post-workshop. However, wellbeing, burnout, depression and anxiety did not improve as much. It was found that the changes in resilience may account for small amounts of improvement in wellbeing, burnout and depression at follow-up. Trainee resilience and the supervisory relationship were not found to be related. In conclusion, resilience may be important during training and the resilience workshop might be helpful. Whether there might be a longer-term impact on wellbeing is not clear. Overall, this project supports that it might be helpful to train therapists in skills that aim to help with managing stress and self-care, but future research is still needed.
Supervisor: Hardy, Gillian Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available