Evaluation of a combined cognitive behavioural therapy and interpersonal process group in the psychotherapy training of clinical psychologists
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It is now widely acknowledged that both content and process elements of psychotherapy play a part in client treatment outcomes. Despite this, there are pressures on Australian clinical psychology training programs to teach evidence-based approaches in a relatively short time frame. Producing clinical psychology graduates who have an adequate level of competence in evidence-based practice and meeting the demands of professional accreditation requirements can mean that less time is available to teach the process elements of psychotherapy.The aim of this study was to conduct a preliminary evaluation of a clinical psychology psychotherapy training program that combines an interpersonal process group with a cognitive behavioural therapy training model that incorporates self-reflection and self-practice. Eleven participants who participated in the training in 2008 completed the Counseling Self-Estimate Inventory at pre- and post-training. Significant improvements on the majority of the subscales of this inventory were found. A separate sample of nine trainees and clinical psychology registrars who also previously completed the program attended individual interviews in 2010 aimed at gaining their perspective regarding various aspects of the program. Self-practice of cognitive behavioural therapy techniques was found to be important in the identification and management of trainees’ own core beliefs, and to their appreciation of how challenging this process may be for clients. The interpersonal process group was described by participants as enhancing their competency as psychotherapists. Common themes included the experience of anxiety and a high level of emotion, and understanding how this experience might be similar for clients; increased self-awareness; and increased competence in process issues. Many participants believed the process and content components of training were equally important to their development as psychotherapists.
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