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The shift towards consulting psychology in South Africa : implications for training

Thomas, Paul N. (2007-03)

Thesis (MA (Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.


The recent history of psychology in South Africa has seen a shift amongst clinical/counselling psychologists towards a distinct practice modality. The overarching aim of this study is to explore the shift amongst clinical/counselling psychologists towards the consulting psychology modality, and to investigate the implications of this shift for the training of psychologists in South Africa. The trend towards consulting psychology is investigated through an analysis of the described experiences and perceptions of registered clinical/counselling psychologists working in consulting roles; educators involved in the training of psychologists; and consumers of the services of consulting psychologists. Juxtaposition of the competencies required for success as a consulting psychologist with the competencies acquired in current clinical/counselling training programmes has implications for a potential reconceptualisation of training approaches in the light of this shift. A grounded theory approach is employed to access the perceptions of those most intimately involved in the field without manipulating these through the lens of a pre-defined hypothesis. The perceptions, as accessed via interviews and focus groups, of 9 consulting clinical/counselling psychologists, 10 educators, and 8 consumers form a triangulated depiction of the shift to this practice modality, the competencies it requires, and the efficacy of current clinical/counselling training programmes in equipping psychologists for a consulting role. Analysis of these inputs indicates that clinical/counselling psychologists lack certain competencies vital to successful consulting. They do, however, possess many of the core-competencies required. Hence, while the training of psychologists may require review in order to meet the changing needs of both providers and consumers of consulting psychology services in South Africa, many of the facets of current clinical/counselling programmes are indispensable.

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