Personal therapy in training is generally considered essential for psychotherapy practice and is often
a mandatory requirement of the training. Studies suggest it is a beneficial process to go through,
however, this is generally measured in terms of outcomes for clients. Very little research exists
looking at the specific challenges to the therapeutic relationship and process of trainees in therapy.
This qualitative study explored the experience of therapists providing training therapy to trainees
and their perception of such challenges. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with five
therapists. An inductive thematic analysis was performed which identified key themes in relation to
the specific demands on the therapeutic relationship when working with trainees as opposed to nontrainees.
The findings are discussed and highlight areas of concern in relation to the unique issues
for both the trainee and therapist. The results show that trainees' experience specific challenges in
their therapy that emanate from the training they are participating in such as, the mandatory aspect
of therapy, pressure to progress in therapy and the challenge of integrating theory and knowledge
and the experiential aspects of the training. The therapist has specific challenges in relation to
pressure to model, being under scrutiny and increased responsibility for future therapists.
Recommendations are made for future studies so as we can better understand the outcomes of
training therapy for trainees as they navigate their way through the dual process of personal therapy
and psychotherapy training. Author keywords: Psychotherapy, training therapy, personal therapy, therapy outcomes, trainee
psychotherapists, mandatory therapy.