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'You know, you've got to be kind of human' : how CBT therapists experience personal therapy in clinical practice

This study explores the subjective experiences of CBT therapists who have undergone personal therapy and seeks to gain insight into the significance of personal therapy in CBT clinical practice. Seven CBT therapists who have undergone personal therapy were interviewed. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was chosen to generate rich interview data. Participants were asked about their experience of personal therapy in clinical practice. Participants' narratives were analysed using IPA to identify common themes. The analysis resulted in twelve interrelated themes from which three master themes emerged. The first theme, 'Personal therapy creates conflict', explores a paradox that arises between personal therapy and CBT clinical practice; participants suggest that personal therapy equips them with therapeutic tools that paradoxically hinder their capacity to practice a standardised protocol-led CBT. The second master theme, 'Personal therapy ties me to humanity', suggests that the gap between personal therapy and CBT practice narrows by participants' 'use of self': calling upon their own vulnerabilities to forge fundamental connections with their clients based on the shared experience of being human. This study finds that all participants value 'being human' with their clients, however, struggle to find the space 'to just be' within an action-focused, goal-orientated CBT model. This is further explored in the final theme, 'Personal therapy: Being and doing'. Potential implications of the themes that emerged were considered. This study contributes to the literature on CBT and counselling psychology, and to the understanding of a divide in the psychotherapy profession between evidence-based priorities and expectations of reflective practice.
Date January 2017
CreatorsNoble, Ariele M.
ContributorsRizq, Rosemary ; Donate, Mark
PublisherUniversity of Roehampton
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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