"Not a little Mickey Mouse thing": How experienced counselling psychologists describe the significance of personal therapy in clinical practice and training. Some results from an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Rosemary Rizq, Mary Target, Rosie Rizq

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

598 Downloads (Pure)


The British Psychological Society’s Division of Counselling Psychology currently specifies a mandatory period of personal therapy for trainees. However, evidence for the role of personal therapy in developing practitioner competence is sparse. This paper presents part of a wider ongoing interpretative phenomenological analysis exploring how counselling psychologists describe the meaning and significance of personal therapy in clinical practice and training. Detailed examination of a subset of data from this study suggests that personal therapy is valued as a vehicle for a genuine, often extremely intense relationship with the therapist, through which participants become able to establish authentic emotional contact with themselves and their clients. Whilst most participants felt that personal therapy should remain an obligatory part of the training curriculum, they were ambivalent about specifying its aims or evaluating its outcomes. Results are discussed in terms of the importance of establishing a sense of integrity and authenticity within the personal therapy experience and are tentatively situated within a possible theoretical framework drawing on current developmental literature.

© 2008, published by Taylor & Francis. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Counselling Psychology Quarterly, uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link below. 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
Pages (from-to)29-48
JournalCounselling Psychology Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Cite this