Experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Clinical Psychology Doctorate Applicants within the UK
Ragavan, Romila Naiken
Aim: Previous research has looked at the experiences of people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds who work within the clinical psychology profession. However, these studies have mostly focused on trainees’ and qualified clinicians’ experiences, leaving little known about experiences of the pre-qualification group. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore how people from BAME backgrounds make sense of their experience of pursuing a place on a clinical psychology doctorate course in the UK. Method: A purposive sampling method was used to recruit BAME clinical psychology applicants from an aspiring psychologist group. In depth semi-structured interviews were carried out with eight participants, who were all female. Interviews were transcribed and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA; Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009). Results: The results consisted of three superordinate themes. These were “The challenge of negotiating multiple identities and narratives”, “Grappling with White privilege” and “Finding value in being a BAME applicant”. The themes showed that participants had to navigate between what choosing a career in mental health meant to them and their families, whilst simultaneously having to deal with racism within the workplace and not feeling as though they belonged within the profession. However, despite these challenges, participants were able to find value in being BAME applicants. Conclusions: The findings illustrated the difficulties BAME applicants faced in relation to their clinical doctorate journeys. Therefore, it is important that more support is provided to people from these backgrounds from earlier stages such as at high school and at undergraduate levels, which remains throughout their journeys via widening access schemes. Additionally, clinical implications for mentoring, supervision and training were also highlighted. This study provides insight into the experiences of an under researched group of individuals working within the NHS. It speaks to barriers which may be in place for people from BAME backgrounds who are pursuing clinical training. One of the pertinent reasons for diversifying the clinical psychology workforce is so our profession can reflect the BAME population which the NHS serves.
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