Fielding Graduate University News

What Therapists Learn from Psychotherapy Clients: Effects on Personal and Professional Lives

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Wed, Dec 12, 2012

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Article published in "The Qualitative Report" by Fielding Graduate University faculty, alumni, and students: What Therapists Learn from Psychotherapy Clients: Effects on Personal and Professional Lives

To view article, click here: The Qualitative Report 2012 Volume 17, Article 95, 1-21

Abstract: While considerable research has examined how clients learn from psychotherapists, there is only sparse literature on what therapists learn from their therapy clients. In a qualitative, exploratory study, nine researchers interviewed 61 psychologists from across North America in order to see what psychotherapists may have learned and how they have been affected by their clients both personally and professionally. Participants responded to nine open-ended questions on learning about life-lessons, relationships, ethical decision-making, coping, courage, wisdom, psychopathology, personality, cultural differences, lifespan development and more. Participants’ richly elaborated responses were coded thematically and narrative data illustrates the most frequent themes. Therapists reported learning a great deal across each of the questions, consistently expressing respect for their clients' resilience, courage and moral sensibilities.

Led by Fielding faculty Sherry Hatcher, PhD, ABPP, authors included Fielding alumna Adriana Kipper-Smith, PhD (PSY '12), and Fielding students Manuela Waddell, Mechtild Uhe, Joanne S. West, Jason H. Boothe, Joan M. Frye, Katherine Tighe, Kelly L. Usselman, and Patricia Gingras.

Sherry Hatcher resized 600Dr. Hatcher is a member of the core psychology faculty at Fielding Graduate University, following over two decades as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology, University of Michigan where she taught in both the undergraduate and graduate Psychology programs and was presented with three Excellence in Education Awards. Including the present study, Dr. Hatcher has initiated and supervised a number of research projects with her graduate students at both universities, resulting in national presentations at the American Psychological Association Convention and publications in journals such as Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training. Dr. Hatcher was a long time member of the Ethics Committee of the Michigan Psychological Association and is a licensed clinical psychologist in the states of Michigan and Connecticut. 

This published article is a result of cross-cluster/multi-site research. 

Fielding’s Clinical Psychology PhD program combines face-to-face student-faculty meetings at local, regional, and national events with independent study and online learning in real time (synchronous) and any time (asynchronous). The vibrant learning community supports students with small group faculty-student interactions that are collegial, collaborative, and respectful.  These blended, distributed learning elements combine to help students achieve educational and professional goals. Students meet regularly with their local faculty advisor in small learning groups called clusters. Activities include formal academic seminars and presentations, clinical presentations & discussions, research training, and informal networking and socializing. 

Tags: psychology, clinical psychology, graduate education, research