Wednesday, 9 May 2012

How Trainees Think on Their Feet In Session? An Interpersonal Process Recall Study

Here's a sneak peak at a study I'm writing up at the moment based on research done by Burgess, Rhodes and Wilson over the past few years using Interpersonal Process recall as a method 

(Kagan’s Interpersonal Process Recall (IPR) (Kagan, 1969, 1975; Kagan, Krathwohl & Miller, 1963a, 1963b) was initially developed as a training tool for therapists to develop self-awareness and critical thinking skills but has since been employed in psychotherapy research (e.g. Levitt, 2001; Lokken & Twohey, 2004; McLeod, 2001; West & Clark, 2004). A typical IPR interview involves video-recording a single therapy session and then asking the participant to stop the tape when they notice the phenomenon under investigation (Larsen et al, 2008). 

We looked at how trainees manage their own distress in the therapy room

Here's what we found (Draft only)

Findings from this study demonstrate that training as a Clinical Psychologist can be a challenging experience. Trainees enter the therapy room, equipped with their treatment plan, formulation and technique but are then faced with the interpersonal dynamics of the therapy room, including their own distressing reactions. Watzlawick, Bavelas and Jackson (1967) differentiate between content and process in therapy. The former is seen as the digital or rational and messages are unequivocal and can be analysed easily. The latter is analogue or emotional and messages as more subtle and hard to interpret. In this study we saw how trainees become distressed when they are equipped with digital tools but faced with potentially analogous information. Trainees were able to recognising this distress rather than engaging in suppression (Cox, 200; Nutt-Williams & Hill, 1996 ) and stopping briefly to reflect in-action (Schon,). Given their relative inexperience some found it helpful to refer to an internalised supervisor, in Julia’s case an idealised television clinician and some were able to briefly review their original formulations and treatment plan and check if intervention was possible given the current status of the therapeutic relationship. Paradoxically, in this cohort, some identified technical proficiency as a factor that enhanced their ability to respond on their feet in a flexible manner, highlighting the fact that structured learning may be a prerequisite to creative application (Rhodes, 2010). Many however abandoned treatment per se, retreating to the safety of non-directive counselling. 

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