Intern counselling psychologists' perceptions of therapeutic change and the role of supervision
There has been an ongoing debate over what brings about therapeutic change concerning the therapeutic relationship and the techniques used in psychotherapy. The effectiveness of psychotherapy has been established but, to an extent, it is still unclear what exactly brings about change within psychotherapy. This study served as an explorative study with the aim of introducing a topic that provides a basis for future research studies. Furthermore, this study aimed to explore how intern counselling psychologists perceive therapeutic change and what role supervision plays in their perception of therapeutic change by answering the following questions: 1) How do intern counselling psychologists perceive therapeutic change? and 2) What role does supervision play in the intern counselling psychologists’ perceptions of therapeutic change? An explorative study with a qualitative research approach and a qualitative descriptive research design was used to determine the participants’ perceptions about the topic, and the data was gathered using narrative inquiry through qualitative questionnaires. The data was analysed by means of thematic analysis. More insight and a better understanding of the process of therapeutic change was gained from the perceptions of intern counselling psychologists as well as the role of supervision. The participants in this study only recently completed their academic training and as such have limited practical experience, so they work under supervision. After their limited practical experience and recent registration as independent practice counselling psychologists, the intern psychologists are expected to provide evidence-based psychotherapy to a broad range of clients who present a diversity of problems. A total of twelve participants were included in this study. The participants took part in narrative inquiry through qualitative questionnaires. Each participant received a questionnaire that they were asked to complete within a two-week timeframe at a place and time that were most convenient for them, after which the questionnaire would be sent back to an independent person. Two main themes were identified that best fit both therapeutic change and the role of supervision. Appropriate sub-themes were identified from each theme. The main themes were: 1) factors that are helpful to the process of therapeutic change and the role of supervision, and 2) factors that hinder the process of therapeutic change and the role of supervision. Both themes revealed that therapeutic change is a multifaceted process with numerous factors that contribute to the outcome. It appears that a holistic consideration of the different variables is what ultimately leads to therapeutic change. Thus, to better understand therapeutic change, it is necessary to consider all the variables. This study provided a voice to the intern counselling psychologists, who received an opportunity to reflect on their perception of therapeutic change and the role of supervision. Ultimately, the aim would be to bridge the gap between training and practice and also to enhance the quality of supervision practice.
- Health Sciences