The Experience of Qualified BME Clinical Psychologists: An Interpretative Phenomenological and Repertory Grid Analysis
Aim: Knowledge of the experience of qualified BME clinical psychologists in clinical practice is currently lacking in the research literature. The aim of the current study was to explore the lived experience of qualified BME clinical psychologists currently employed in the National Health Service (NHS). By investigating this under-researched topic, the study hopes to shed light on the impact on clinicians’ personal and professional identity of practicing within a profession that lacks cultural diversity. It is hoped that the results of this study will contribute to ongoing efforts to diversify the profession, improve our knowledge of the experience of BME groups in the helping profession and also challenge current misconceptions concerning the BME experience. Method: A mixed method qualitative approach was employed for this study. Repertory grids and semi-structured interviews were conducted with six female qualified BME clinical psychologists who are currently working in the NHS. They had been qualified between three and sixteen years. Their repertory grids were analysed using Idiogrid and their accounts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Results: Four master themes emerged from the analysis and were supported by the findings from the repertory grids showing that BME clinical psychologists feel that they stand out as different on account of their ethnic difference. The analytic procedure also highlighted how participants have to find a way to negotiate their cultural and professional values whilst also sitting with the uncertainty of their experiences in the profession. The final theme relates to the privilege that participants held in making it as a clinical psychologist. Implications: Initiatives to increase cultural competency and sensitivity need to be addressed by the profession. Efforts to increase ethnic diversity should be followed through to ensure practitioners are not left on the fringes of the profession on account of their minority ethnicity.