An exploration of how trainee counsellors who are practising believers of a world religion or faith tradition experience undertaking counsellor training

Jane Hunt

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This paper reports findings from a study that investigated how counsellors
who identified as practising members of a world religion or faith
experienced undertaking counsellor training in the UK. This was a
qualitative study. All four participants were final year students on BACP
accredited counsellor training programmes and identified as practising
Christians. Data was collated via semi-structured interviews and analysed
using thematic analysis. Findings point to trainees experiencing
significant anxiety with regard to talking about their faith during training
for fear of eliciting negative judgments. As a result, participants either
avoided talking about their religion or sought to defend it against
negative perceptions. Participants tended to feel more comfortable
talking to supervisors or therapists rather than their peers about religion
when it was relevant to the client work or to personal issues. All
participants reported receiving limited teaching input around religion
and mental health on their programmes and felt this was a neglected
area in counsellor training.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2018


  • Religion; faith; trainee counsellor; experience of training

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