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'How I came to be a clinical psychologist': An explorative study into the experiences of becoming a clinical psychologist when from a South Asian background

By Dipti Pradumal Thakker


Literature Review:\ud A qualitative literature review was conducted investigating the training experiences of\ud minority ethnic students pursuing health careers. The review identified that various\ud challenges can be experienced by the minority ethnic student. The following themes\ud were consistently found across the studies: a fear of challenging culturally insensitive\ud practice or ethnocentric theories; being considered the cultural expert; a lack of cultural\ud competency by peers and faculty tutors; difficulties in balancing academic priorities and\ud family obligations; loss of confidence and motivation due to internalisation of negative\ud stereotyping. Recommendations include provision of a culturally sensitive pedagogy and\ud mentoring as supportive interventions.\ud Research Report:\ud Semi-structured interviews were used to explore the career trajectories of nine South\ud Asian clinical psychologists and analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis.\ud All of the participants in this study were the only South Asian in their cohort on the\ud DClinPsy training course; eight were the only minority ethnic student. Participants\ud described unique classroom experiences relating to their cultural identity including\ud feelings of isolation and being perceived by staff and peers as the ‘cultural expert,’\ud consistent with the literature. Furthermore, gendered pressures included balancing\ud academic and cultural responsibilities for the female participants. Socio-cultural factors\ud such as family expectations and a value for traditional careers within the individual’s\ud community posed challenges for choosing clinical psychology as a career. Participants’\ud descriptions of ‘being different’ to their South Asian peers suggest issues of self-identity\ud related to career choice. Once qualified, being a South Asian clinical psychologist\ud created subtle tensions when professional roles and responsibilities challenged cultural\ud roles within the participant’s own community.\ud Critical Appraisal:\ud Reflections in this paper consider the research process and the impact of the participants’\ud narratives on the researcher and of her personal and professional development.\ud Considerations are also given to the researchers’ impact on the project

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:

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