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An exploration of the meaning-making process

Sobogun, I. E. (2023). An exploration of the meaning-making process. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Black individuals continue to be underrepresented within the field of counselling psychology (CoP). This is concerning given that the UK’s social demographic is becoming more diverse. A workforce that fails to mirror the diverse client groups that psychologists see can lead to poor clinical outcomes for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) clients. Furthermore, a plethora of research has provided important insights into the experiences of BME trainee CoPs, the experiences of BME and Black trainees in other related psychology professional courses, and the impact of these experiences on clinical practice and the wider psychology profession. Whilst the term BME includes ‘Black’, it has been argued that the term BME conceals and homogenises the differences between Black and other ethnic minorities and thus fails to adequately capture the nuanced, diverse, and specific lived experiences of Black individuals (DaCosta,2021). Furthermore, there is no research in the academic literature that has focused on the experiences of Black trainee CoPs. This study explored the experiences of Black trainee CoPs in the UK. Eight participants were recruited through purposive sampling. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and the transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Four superordinate themes with two to four sub-themes emerged from the analysis. The first superordinate theme, ‘Identity’, reflected the complexities of participants’ Black identity and intersecting identities in influencing the way they negotiated the course. The second superordinate theme, ‘Black and in training’, encompassed the challenges that participants faced in navigating various aspects of their training including discussions on racism, placement, and the impact of their socioeconomic background. The third superordinate theme, ‘The challenge of balancing various professional and personal demands’, captured how participants managed the various professional and personal demands placed on them during training. The final superordinate theme, ‘Recommendations and suggestions to improve access and representation of Black individuals within the CoP field’, included the varied and multi-layered approach that participants believed could be implemented to improve the representation of Black individuals within the CoP field. Implications of the findings are discussed, with suggestions for future research.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Subogan Thesis 2023_redacted.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible until 30 June 2026 due to copyright restrictions.


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