Equipping students to be resourceful practitioners in community settings: a realist analysis

Julia McLeod*, Sally Lumsdaine, Kate Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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    Abstract

    Training programmes for counsellors and psychotherapists comprise complex combinations of different types of learning activity. However, research into the process and outcomes of therapy training has almost entirely comprised investigations of specific training elements. In addition, studies of training have not taken account of the potential influence of the social and organisational context within which training is delivered. The present paper reports on a realist analysis of learning mechanisms within a professional counsellor training programme in pluralistic-integrative counselling, drawing on multiple sources of data collected over a ten-year period. Training outcomes were oriented toward preparing trainees to be flexible and resourceful practitioners in non-medicalised community settings. Core learning mechanisms included building on pre-existing skills, knowledge and awareness, and acquiring conceptual tools appropriate to a collaborative style of working, within an immersive learning environment that supported focused reflection and engagement with personally challenging learning tasks. Implications for further research on therapist training, and programme design, are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)496-525
    Number of pages30
    JournalEuropean Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling
    Volume23
    Issue number4
    Early online date17 Dec 2021
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2021

    Keywords

    • Case study
    • Counselling
    • Pluralistic therapy
    • Realist methodology
    • Training

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