Personal Therapy for Therapists: Reflections on Past and Current Research From an Autoethnographic Perspective

Nina Kumari


The following article will describe and reflect on a research study that was published in Counselling Psychology Quarterly in 2011, entitled ‘Personal Therapy as a Mandatory Requirement for Counselling Psychologists in Training: A Qualitative Study of the Impact of Therapy on Trainees’ Personal and Professional Development.’ The aim of the study was to explore trainee counselling psychologists’ experiences of mandatory personal therapy, and the impact it had on their personal and professional development. This article is written from an autoethnographic perspective. Autoethnography is a research method which allows authors to define, explain and methodically evaluate their personal experiences of being part of a particular culture, over a prolonged period of time. The use of the dialogue approach has allowed the study to be presented as an interview or a conversation that has taken place between two people. The article concentrates on three areas of autoethnography: firstly, sincerity which is interested in the author’s objectives and the ways in which a study is designed, carried out, and presented. Secondly, contribution is about the significance of participants’ stories and the ways in which they are interpreted. The standard of any research study is judged on the extent to which the work has furthered knowledge and understanding of a particular subject area. Thirdly, rich insight, involves an idiosyncratic process of self-reflection for the researcher to gain insight into their area of interest.


autoethnography; personal therapy; counselling psychologists; therapists; professional development