A study of motivations amongst contemporary trainee counsellors for pursuing a career in psychotherapy

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Beatty, Emma
Issue Date
BA Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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The aim of this study is to discover what the motivations are of trainee counsellors and psychotherapists for wanting a career in psychotherapy. The research was carried out in the form of an 8 question survey which was sent to a population of 3rd and 4th year psychotherapy students who had commenced working with clients. 30 responses were received. A thematic analysis of the motivations was carried out. The most popular motivation was found to be altruism followed by personal development, an interest in the subject, a desire for further education, a desire for a career change and positive experience of personal therapy. Questions were asked about significant life events and personal therapy experiences to decipher if these had an impact on the participant’s decision to become a therapist. Of those who had experienced personal therapy prior to their counsellor training 60% report it as being a factor in their career choice. 90% of participants reported experiencing at least one significant life event which influenced their decision. Such experiences include childhood difficulties, addiction, mental health issues within the family or origin or personal experience and loss.