Exploring Trainee Counselling Psychologists' Perceptions of the Scientist-Practitioner Model in Relation to their Training and Future Careers

  • Charles Frost

Student thesis: Doctor of Counselling Psychology


Objectives: This study aims to gain an understanding of how current trainee counselling psychologists perceive the scientist-practitioner model.Design: This is a qualitative piece of research grounded in a social constructionist perspective. Two focus groups were conducted lasting 60 minutes at two UK universities. An online survey was also conducted to capture additional views.Method: 29 trainees participated in the study. 15 trainees on counselling psychology doctorate programmes took part in face-to-face focus groups whilst 14 trainees from doctorate programmes or the independent route responded to an online survey. The data collected were analysed using Braun and Clarke (2006) thematic analysis.Findings: Five main themes were identified in relation to the scientist-practitioner model: The Nature of Counselling Psychology, The Nature of Being a Counselling Psychologist, The Nature of Science, What Counts as Evidence, and What Happens in the Therapy Room.Conclusions: Much of the ambiguity and tensions in the literature were present in the views of participants. Three views emerged: the model as a spectrum, the model as two complementary roles, and the model as a toolbox. These views are explored and then implications for practice and possible directions for future research are outlined.
Date of Award1 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorTerry Hanley (Supervisor), Neil Humphrey (Supervisor) & Laura Winter (Supervisor)


  • integration
  • training
  • qualitative research
  • scientist-practitioner
  • counselling psychology

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