Exploring the Experiences of Facilitators of Reflective Practice Groups in Clinical Psychology Training: a Thematic Analysis
Despite many Clinical Psychology training programmes utilising reflective practice groups (RPGs) as a means of developing reflective practice skills, there remains little research examining facilitator perspectives of such groups. A qualitative approach was taken whereby 12 reflective practice group facilitators affiliated with seven different training institutions across England, Scotland and Wales were interviewed using a semi-structured interview schedule. This study aimed to build on previous research by exploring (1) facilitators’ experiences of such groups, (2) facilitators’ experiences of challenges that arise, (3) facilitators’ experiences of conversations in relation to difference and diversity, and (4) how facilitators make sense of their role. Data was analysed using Thematic Analysis from a critical realist epistemological position. Three main themes were constructed: ‘Creating boundaries and safety’, ‘A vehicle for growth and development’, and ‘RPGs don’t take place in a vacuum’. The role of the facilitator was viewed as complex and multi-layered, and the groups were viewed as an opportunity for trainees to engage in reflection about a range of topics, including difference and diversity. The analysis is conceptualised in terms of existing psychological theory and literature. The strengths and limitations of the research are considered and suggestions for future studies offered, including exploring the experiences of peer facilitators of RPGs, and the views of the trainees regarding conversations about difference and diversity within RPGs. The implications of the study are outlined, including recommendations relating to training and support structures for facilitators, and consideration of how training programmes outline the aims of RPGs and share this information with trainees.
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