Title page for ETD etd-01252005-103918


Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Hall, Jocelyn, E M
URN etd-01252005-103918
Document Title Eating the apple : the impact of becoming a clinical psychologitst on personal relationships
Degree MA (Clinical Psychology)
Department Psychology
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
L Strauss
Keywords
  • no keywords available
Date 2004-05-31
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
This study represents an examination of the impact of becoming a clinical psychologist on personal relationships from a social constructionist perspective. The research is qualitative as befits the epistemology. Unstructured interviews were conducted with five becoming-psychologists at the end of their internship year, and the resulting data were submitted to a process of thematic analysis.

A study of relevant literature revealed very little information on the personal relationships of clinical psychologists per se. Available literature pertained to training of clinical psychologists and to intimate relationships in general. Themes emerged from the research that reflected themes present in the literature. There is a common theme of unacknowledged needs in relationships, the consequences of expressing those needs and the consequent renegotiation of roles in existing relationships. A theme of desire for greater emotional connection is present, connected to a feeling of no longer fitting into contexts where the becoming-psychologist used to be comfortable prior to training, and consequent feelings of isolation and loneliness become pertinent. Another common theme involves a feeling of being simultaneously observer and observed in interactions, which is evident in a tendency to watch oneself from a third-person perspective and is perceived to involve a concomitant loss of the spontaneous response.

This study represents an examination of the impact of becoming a clinical psychologist on personal relationships from a social constructionist perspective. The research is qualitative as befits the epistemology. Unstructured interviews were conducted with five becoming-psychologists at the end of their internship year, and the resulting data were submitted to a process of thematic analysis.

A study of relevant literature revealed very little information on the personal relationships of clinical psychologists per se. Available literature pertained to training of clinical psychologists and to intimate relationships in general. Themes emerged from the research that reflected themes present in the literature. There is a common theme of unacknowledged needs in relationships, the consequences of expressing those needs and the consequent renegotiation of roles in existing relationships. A theme of desire for greater emotional connection is present, connected to a feeling of no longer fitting into contexts where the becoming-psychologist used to be comfortable prior to training, and consequent feelings of isolation and loneliness become pertinent. Another common theme involves a feeling of being simultaneously observer and observed in interactions, which is evident in a tendency to watch oneself from a third-person perspective and is perceived to involve a concomitant loss of the spontaneous response.

In addition to that which was suggested in the literature, the study suggested that psychologists language needs more readily; relationships with others outside psychology were more successful if the other person was able to language their own experiences and overtly negotiate roles. There seems to be a tendency in the psychologists interviewed to be involved in constant self-examination and examination of relationships, as well as a tendency to take responsibility in intimate relationships. They also demonstrate a conflict between responding with or without awareness (connected to the theme in the literature of constant awareness of process and consequent inability to react spontaneously), a feeling of being compelled to dialogue around that which was perceived in this state of awareness, and a sense of emotional overload during training that contributed to the sense of isolation alluded to above. Linked to these feelings of isolation there is a tendency to connect most readily with other psychologists.

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