Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

It's the relationship that matters: a qualitative analysis of the role of the student/tutor relationship in counselling training

By Vicki J Smith


This study comprised a qualitative analysis of the role of student / tutor relationships in counselling training. Two focus groups comprising students on a UK postgraduate diploma in counselling were undertaken and the findings analysed using template analysis. The findings indicated that these relationships have a strong impact on the effectiveness of the learning experience. Students identified a number of valued relational features, with the creation of a safe, supportive learning environment being regarded as of crucial importance. The results suggested that students needed to feel sufficiently comfortable with, and trusting of, tutors if they were to take the kind of interpersonal risks that are necessary in this type of experiential, skills- based training. Students experienced higher levels of negative affect and, by implication, stress if tutors were unsuccessful in providing sufficient levels of safety and support, particularly in the latter stages of training. Strong links were found between the relational concepts students valued in tutors and those previously identified as important in client / therapist and supervisory relationships (Rogers, 1957; Jones et al 2008). Implications for counselling training and suggestions for future research were discussed

Topics: BF
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1996). A phenomenological investigation of “good” supervision events. doi
  2. (1983). A working alliance based model of supervision. doi
  3. (1998). An Empirical Evaluation of Teacher Effectiveness: the emergence of three critical factors. Assessment and Evaluation doi
  4. (2009). An Introduction to Counselling. Berkshire:
  5. (1995). Clinical supervision: A systems approach. Thousand Oaks,
  6. (2010). Development and validation of the Supervisory Relationship Questionnaire (SRQ) in UK trainee clinical psychologists. doi
  7. (2002). Elements of master teaching.
  8. (2007). Empathic relational bonds and personal agency in psychotherapy: Implications for psychotherapy supervision, practice, and research. doi
  9. (2008). Essential Research Findings in Counselling and Psychotherapy: The Facts are Friendly.
  10. (1979). from different groups 5.1.2 More accurate understanding of others 5.1.3 Key learning takes place 5.1.4 Relationships impact on learning 5.2 Large groups/ lectures 5.2.1 Relationships of less importance to learning
  11. (2009). Interpersonal relationships, motivation, engagement, and achievement: Yields for theory, current issues, and educational practice. doi
  12. (1995). Mastering the techniques of teaching. doi
  13. (2006). Personal tutor encounters: understanding the experience. Nursing Standard, doi
  14. (2010). Psychotherapist Accreditation Scheme: Application Pack
  15. (2001). Psychotherapy Trainees Experiences of Counterproductive Events in Supervision. doi
  16. (2009). Rapport: Its Relation to Student Attitudes and Behaviors Towards Teachers and Classes.
  17. (2000). Students, tutors and relationships: the ingredients of a successful student support scheme. doi
  18. (2007). Super- (and not- so -super-) vision of counsellors- intraining: supervisee perspectives on broadening and narrowing processes. doi
  19. (1979). Teaching immediacy as a predictor of teacher effectiveness. In
  20. (2004). The impact of teacher immediacy and perceived caring on teacher competence and trustworthiness. doi
  21. (1957). The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change, doi
  22. (1983). The Reflective Practitioner. Basic Books: doi
  23. (2007). The Skilled Helper: A Problem-Management and Opportunity Development Approach to Helping. (8th edition).
  24. (2000). The teacher-student relationship as an interpersonal relationship. doi
  25. (2008). The Teaching Alliance Inventory: Evaluating the student- instructor relationship in clinical and counselling psychology training. doi
  26. (2010). Trainee nondisclosure in supervision: What are they not telling you? doi
  27. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.