'It’s led me astray’: How Cognitive Behavioural Therapists experience personal therapy in clinical practice

Ariele Noble, Rosemary Rizq

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Personal therapy is generally considered to be an essential component of most
psychotherapeutic training programmes. However, it remains peripheral to CBT
training courses. We present a subsection of results from a qualitative study
that examines how CBT therapists use personal therapy in their clinical
practice. Seven CBT therapists who have undergone personal therapy were
interviewed. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was chosen to
generate rich interview data. Participants were asked about their experience of
personal therapy in clinical practice. Participants’ narratives were analysed
using IPA to identify common themes. We are presenting the results and
analysis of only the first master theme, ‘Personal therapy creates conflict’, which
explores a paradox that arises between personal therapy and CBT clinical
practice; participants suggest that personal therapy equips them with
therapeutic tools that paradoxically hinder their capacity to practice a
standardised protocol-led CBT. Results show that participants found personal
therapy created considerable internal conflict, where their use of technical
evidence-based treatment protocols as practitioners was experienced in tension
with the relationally-oriented therapy they had received as clients. We discuss
results in the context of Gabriel Marcel’s philosophical insights on the
dehumanizing effects of technology on human relationships. We conclude with
a brief consideration of the current political climate that increasingly privileges
short-term technical solutions to psychological distress.

© 2019, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. The attached document (embargoed until 05/08/2020) is an author produced version of a paper published in COUNSELLING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY RESEARCH uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Early online date5 Aug 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Aug 2019

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