Early reflections on becoming a therapist: development of reflective practice in clinical training programmes in an Australian context

Nicole L. Robinson, Robert D. Schweitzer, Erin L. O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The development of competent counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists depends upon not only the clinical competencies, but also the development of the person as the psychotherapist. This qualitative study investigated the experiences of twenty provisional psychologists enrolled in a university-based clinical psychology training programme. Participants were requested to write reflective essays describing their experiences in relation to their first year of training. Utilising an interpretative phenomenological approach methodology, three superordinate themes were identified: beginning awareness and internalisation of the role of the therapist, therapy as an inter-subjective experience, and personal transformation. Themes encompassed a range of key areas identified by trainee therapists as central to their development as reflective practitioners. Findings from this study may contribute to the small but growing literature base explicating the early lived experience of being a therapist working from an integrative framework. The findings contribute to our knowledge of the critical elements involved in fostering the theoretical, practical and reflective processes involved in becoming a competent therapist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-398
Number of pages11
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • IPA
  • psychological practice
  • psychotherapy
  • reflective practice
  • training

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