Preparing Master of Clinical Psychology students for the workforce: a qualitative investigation of the benefits of a youth dialectic behavioural therapy placement

Annaleise Naylor, Dean Buckmaster, Clare Watsford, Emily McIntyre, Debra Rickwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Clinical psychology master’s degree students require intern placements that support them to attain work-ready competencies. With the growing focus in Australia on addressing rising youth mental health issues, dealing with complexity, suicidality and self-harm are critical workforce skills. Yet, students are often not exposed to such presentations during their practicums. This study examined students’ experience of such exposure through a youth dialectic behaviour therapy placement. Methods: Participants were 11 clinical master’s degree students who completed a youth dialectic behaviour therapy practicum placement and participated in semi-structured interviews reflecting on their placement experiences. Interviews were transcribed and thematically analysed. Results: Five themes were identified: a community working as a community; beyond the training manual; confidence to work with complexity and risk; enhanced personal development; and acknowledging and overcoming stigma. The results clearly demonstrated that a highly supported, collaborative, learning experience with high-risk and complex clients, and their families, could provide clinical students with the skills and confidence to work with this client group. Conclusions: The five themes revealed key learning supports and opportunities that enabled clinical psychology students to gain experience and confidence working with high-risk young people, a much-needed mental health workforce capability. Other practicum experiences may benefit from considering these approaches to learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-362
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Psychologist
Volume27
Issue number3
Early online date9 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

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