How students use deliberate practice during the first stage of counsellor training

Julia McLeod*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    146 Downloads (Pure)


    Deliberate practice, in the form of ongoing commitment to skill development outside of direct clinical work, has been proposed as a means of enhancing therapist competence and expertise. In this study, a deliberate practice orientation was introduced into the first phase of a counsellor training programme. Students’ experiences of learning and using deliberate practice in relation to the acquisition of counselling skills were investigated using a mixed-method design. It took time for students to internalise principles of deliberate practice. They reported a wide range of deliberate practice learning activities, both within and beyond the classroom, and regarded these tasks as having made a significant positive contribution to their learning. The findings of the study underscore the value of viewing deliberate practice as an approach to learning that can be articulated in multiple ways. It is important for future research to identify the forms of deliberate practice that are most relevant to enhancing competence within the specific context of therapeutic work.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)207-218
    Number of pages12
    JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
    Issue number1
    Early online date8 Mar 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


    • Content analysis
    • Deliberate practice
    • Interpretative phenomenological analysis
    • Pluralistic therapy
    • Training


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