The Experiences of Reflective Practice Groups as Part of Doctoral Clinical Psychology Training: an IPA Study
Despite many Clinical Psychology training programmes utilizing reflective practice groups as part of clinical training, there remains little research examining the experiences of such groups from a trainee perspective. However, it remains the preferred method of developing reflective practice skills during training. This research used interviews and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to explore the experiences of attending reflective practice groups as part of doctoral Clinical Psychology training. A purposive sample of eight participants were recruited for a single, semi-structured interview. The interviews were audio-recoded, transcribed and analysed by the researcher. Five superordinate themes were constructed: ‘the process: there were so many layers’, ‘the impact: an ongoing process’, ‘the facilitator: a presence who was not always present’, ‘commitment: I hated it, but I still went’ and ‘getting through it: finding ways to cope’. Nineteen corresponding subordinate themes were constructed from the data. The research findings illustrate the varied and complex experiences of the participants. Whilst the experience was often difficult, participants appeared committed to attending and sought out ways in which to navigate the experience. The results are conceptualised in terms of existing psychological theory and literature. A critique of the research and suggestions for future studies are offered, which include exploring the views of the facilitators of such groups and comparing how groups are utilized within different training institutions. Recommendations are made related to the development of future reflective practice groups, which include recommendations related to the style of facilitation and the frequency and size of the group.