The Experience of Being a Trainee Clinical Psychologist From a Black and Minority Ethnic Group: A Qualitative Study
Aim: The existing evidence-base indicates that the experience of being a Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) trainee clinical psychologist is under-researched. The aim of the current study was to capture the broader training experiences of BME trainee clinical psychologists. The impact of potential personal and professional experiences that may arise for BME trainee clinical psychologists may be important for course tutors and clinical supervisors to explore with them in relation to personal and professional development. Thus, it is hoped that the findings of the current study will raise an increased awareness within the clinical psychology training courses, of their needs, perspectives and experiences. Method: A qualitative approach was adopted for this study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine BME trainee clinical psychologists. The accounts were analysed using IPA, which attempts to illuminate the lived experience of a phenomenon for small samples of individuals. Results: The analytic procedure highlighted five main themes which emerged from participants’ accounts: The hardship of not being White, The challenge of negotiating multiple identities, Challenges and dilemmas of highlighting race and culture issues, The versatility that comes with being a BME trainee and Finding connections and safe places. Implications: Current initiatives to attract more applicants from BME groups need to be considered in the context of wider structural experiences of power and difference in relation to race, ethnicity and culture that operate in the training arena. Courses need to explicitly state their commitment to supporting trainees from BME groups with regards to their experiences of difference. Emphasis should be placed on personal and professional development of all trainees and needs to include work on privilege, social disadvantage, and racism. Programmes should also undertake a commitment to training course staff and supervisors in relation to race issues in the context of training.
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