The applicability of a seminal professional development theory to creative arts therapies students

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The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to test the extent to which a seminal theory of the professional development of counsellors and therapists is applicable to the particular experiences of creative arts therapies graduate students who learn how to use the arts in psychotherapy. Nevertheless, readers may consider the results of the present study transferable to other healthcare disciplines. Questionnaires for each developmental phase were used for data collection, and analysis included data quantification, assessment of inter-rater agreement and theory derivation procedure. Results indicate that creative arts therapies students were concerned about translating theory into practice, learning how experienced therapists concretely function in practice, and reducing cognitive dissonance upon realization that their pre-training lay conceptions of helping were no longer valid. Stress and anxiety drove students to adopt easily mastered techniques that were implemented creatively in practicum. The results confirm that students who were older and had undergraduate human-service education and/or considerable life experience were less concerned about their suitability to the profession, were more acquainted with a professional working style and searched for their individual way of becoming therapists. Finally, recommendations for future research are suggested, and implications for practice are offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)508-518
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • Art therapy
  • Creative arts therapies
  • Graduate education
  • Professional development
  • Student training
  • Theory derivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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