We are all pleasure seeking. Primary motivations of trainee psychotherapists

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Hester, Orlagh
Issue Date
BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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The purpose of this research was to explore the primary motivations of trainee psychotherapists. Firstly, this study explored the initial motivation to train as a psychotherapist. Secondly, it investigated whether the initial motivation to train was subject to change over the course of time. Finally, the study sought to acquire an insight into the impact of training on the individual. A qualitative design was chosen as a methodology because this method aided the investigation of the meaning found by those who chose to train as a psychotherapist and how this meaning changed over the course of training. Particular attention was paid to the participants’ experiences and feelings about the archetype of the wounded healer, family background, the desire to help others and personal therapy. The sample utilised consisted of three female participants who were in their final year of a post graduate psychotherapy qualification with the same training institution. Data was gathered using semi-structured interviews and this method was consistent with existing research design. The interviews were transcribed and interpretative phenomenological analysis was applied as a method to explore in detail how the participants were making sense of their decision to enter training and how, or if, this had changed over time. This type of analysis attempts to explore personal experience and is concentrated upon the individual’s personal account and experience of an object or event. In general, the findings of this research were reflective of the existing literature. The idea of the wounded healer was accepted and understood to be a significant motivation to train. Personal therapy was considered an essential element of training. A recommendation was made to compare the findings of this study to the experience of a participant who attended a course where the personal therapy element of training was not mandatory. Author keywords: Wounded healer, authenticity, personal therapy