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“It’s like… here’s a space to be human about it”, or: How do GP Trainees Make Use of Reflective Practice Groups? A Grounded Theory Investigation

Bower, A. (2023). “It’s like… here’s a space to be human about it”, or: How do GP Trainees Make Use of Reflective Practice Groups? A Grounded Theory Investigation. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Reflective practice, an important aspect of counselling psychology training and increasingly important in healthcare training and practice, has been shown to have a number of benefits, including the reduction of burnout. Given the reported high levels of burnout in doctors and need for interventions to support their emotional wellbeing, reflective practice interventions could have an important role to play in this. One such intervention, the Interprofessional Reflective Practice Project (IRPP), provides reflective practice groups for GP trainees, facilitated by trainee Counselling Psychologists. Although recent research has highlighted the potential of psychologist-facilitated reflective practice in healthcare, research actually examining interprofessional reflective practice between medical and counselling psychology professionals is still extremely limited. This constructivist grounded theory study, therefore, aimed to understand more about how participants make use of this form of interprofessional reflective practice, via semi-structured interviews with nine GP trainees involved in the IRPP. Five major categories emerged from the analysis. One core category: ‘Navigating the relationship between ‘humanness' and being a Doctor’, encompassed all of these, revealing how participants’ ‘human’ emotions, vulnerabilities, limitations and struggles conflicted with ideas that Doctors should be strong, emotionally resilient and able to ‘do it all’. An emergent theory was developed that attempts to explain how participants used the groups to navigate this, through the processes of ‘Sharing experiences’, ‘Recognising and Processing Emotions’, ‘Developing Insight and Compassion’, ‘Developing Understanding and Skills’, and ‘Integrating' these ‘into Work - and Beyond’. These categories were complex and linked to one another, and the facilitator emerged as an important contributor across each. These findings are explored in the context of relevant theory and wider literature. Their clinical and wider implications are discussed, including recommendations for counselling psychology practice. Strengths and limitations are identified, with suggestions for future research to continue the exploration of this important subject.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Bower thesis 2023 PDF-A redacted.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
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