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Title: Professional Development: Looking through the Lens of Experienced Therapists and Counsellors
Authors: Rangarajan, Rashmi
Keywords: Centre for Human Ecology
Chetna Duggal
School of Social Sciences
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: TISS
Abstract: The literature on professional development of thera pists and counsellors identify the phase of the experienced professional as a crucial phase in whic h the experienced therapist would have achieved congruence between his or her self and his or her w ork role. In order to take this further the current study proposed to develop a comprehensive and in-de pth understanding of the professional development of experienced therapists and counsello rs in the Indian context. A mixed methods study was developed that included the following domains o f inquiry to understand the professional development of experienced therapists and counsello rs—perceived mastery and growth, challenges and coping, personal and professional values, perso nal and professional roles and, goals and aspirations. The tools used for the quantitative da ta were the Development of Psychotherapists Common Core Questionnaire – India (DPCCQ – India, 2 012; Bhola, Kumaria, and Orlinsky, 2008) to develop a detailed understanding of the participant s’ current therapeutic practice, and the Portrait Value Questionnaire (PVQ; Schwartz et al., 2001) to obtain the value profile of the participants. The qualitative data was obtained from in-depth intervi ews of the participants, using an in-depth intervie w guide developed by the researcher. The quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics in which the means were computed on the DPCCQ – India, and centred scores were computed on the PVQ. The qualitative data was analysed using Themat ic Analysis in which the emergent themes were organized into thematic networks. Using the Concurr ent Triangulation Strategy given by Creswell et al. (2003) the quantitative and qualitative results were triangulated in the interpretation phase. The findings revealed that therapists had high perceive d mastery, in terms of competencies and perceived effectiveness, and growth. Experienced therapists, continued to face challenges in their therapeutic practice for which they employed a variety of copin g strategies. The results also revealed that the personal and professional values of the experienced therapists were highly infused with each other and the value domains of benevolence, self-directio n and universalism influenced their therapeutic practice. The findings also reveal the interactiona l and integration processes between the therapists’ personal and professional roles with emerging role boundaries and mergers. It was found that the experienced therapists and counsellors viewed their current stage of development as ‘mid-way’ and that they had a long way to go. The findings are di scussed in the context of understanding professional development in the experienced profess ional phase, as a continuous, complex and dynamic process that is influenced by various indiv idual and contextual factors. Future implications of the study include a need to look at therapists’ training more closely in order to prepare the beginning professionals for future roadblocks in th eir practice and train professionals to engage in s elf – care and self-reflective practices to facilitate their professional development.
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