The purpose of this study was to explore the evolution of the self in the context of becoming a psychotherapist. The subjective experiences of neophyte psychotherapists in their development toward the establishment of an integrated therapist identity were examined. Furthermore, the participants’ unique experiences of transformative change during their initial clinical encounters were analyzed for the purpose of addressing how the trainee moves through the variously proposed models of therapist identity development. Interpretive phenomenological analysis provided the ability to analyze the detailed recall of 6 participants’ subjective experiences via an open-ended, semistructured interview. First encounters with new patients, learning to manage the emotional interplay with patients, gaining confidence and self-awareness, presenting authentically with patients, personal upbringing, and the experience of a shift in their identity as a psychotherapist remained the generalized areas of focus. The reported anxieties related to the need to be a savior paralleling familial roles with possible failure. The movement through this coincided with a shift in what it means to be a therapist along with an increased sense of self-awareness, giving way to the possibility of presenting authentically with patients. Personal virtues acting as insulators in the face of overwhelming anxiety were seen as contributors to moving toward an integration of personal and professional identities. Finally, the implications of the findings and the impact of the insights gained were examined in regard to optimizing training and supervision of neophyte psychotherapists in an effort to increase quality of services provided.
|Advisor:||Schmidt, Jens U.|
|Commitee:||Scaglione, Cris A.|
|School:||The Chicago School of Professional Psychology|
|Department:||Applied Clinical Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-B 77/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Counseling Psychology, Psychology, Clinical psychology|
|Keywords:||Identity development, Neophyte psychotherapist, Subjective experience, Trainee development, Training therapists, Transformative change|
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