University of Limerick
Kieran_2016_Exploration.pdf (1.54 MB)

An exploration into clinical psychologists interpretation of professionalization: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

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posted on 2022-12-15, 15:21 authored by Karen Kieran
Introduction: Professionalization is said to be composed of knowledge, autonomy and responsibility. There is, however, a significant lack of research into professionalization and the field of clinical psychology specifically. The present study aimed to explore clinical psychologists' interpretation and experience of professionalization here in Ireland. Method: The researcher conducted ten semi-structured interviews with practising clinical psychologists from different teams and services across the country. The use of semistructured interviews ensured that the individual and unique experiences of each participant were explored. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and an Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was applied. Results: Two superordinate themes emerged from the data; 'standardisation' and 'Internal characteristics, alteration? Or acceptable?'. Each superordinate theme encompassed a range of subordinate themes. Relevant participant quotes were provided to support each theme. Discussion: The research project succeeded in highlighting clinical psychologists' need for standardisation in relation to a number of external characteristics of their profession. Continuing Professional Development (CPD), self-care and registration were included. While others are reported to reach a satisfactory level of standardisation, namely supervision and training. The problematic nature of autonomy, knowledge and responsibility was exposed, with only the latter two being interpreted as requiring change. The findings are discussed in relation to previous literature. The study's limitations and strengths were explored and possible future research directions named. A range of recommendations regarding policy and clinical practice were presented.



  • Faculty of Education and Health Sciences


  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Coughlan, Barry





Department or School

  • Psychology

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