The experience of parenthood in clinical psychology
Being a parent is generally accepted to be a difficult but rewarding job.\ud For those individuals who combine parenthood with an emotionally\ud demanding career, such as clinical psychology, this experience may be\ud magnified. Exploring the experiences of parents who also work in the field\ud of clinical psychology offers a meaningful insight into the challenges and\ud positive rewards inherent in managing work and family life.\ud Chapter I consists of a narrative review of the literature exploring the\ud issues of balancing work and family life for psychologists. The barriers\ud apparent in the literature, as well as the positive factors for achieving\ud effective work life balance are considered. Barriers cited in the literature\ud include the difficulties in meeting the demands of multiple roles, the\ud influence of gender and negative individual factors. Positive influences on\ud achieving effective work life balance included engagement in leisure\ud activities, positive relationships, organisational support and positive\ud individual factors. The clinical implications of this literature are discussed.\ud Chapter II presents an empirical study conducted with psychological\ud therapists who work within a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service\ud (CAMHS) and are also mothers. Nine psychological therapists were\ud interviewed during the research. Following the use of the Interpretative\ud Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), three superordinate themes emerged\ud from the data. The findings consider the implications of shared\ud experience when working with parents and the dilemma of managing the\ud multiple demands of work and family life. The sense of re-evaluation of\ud one’s own self-concept following becoming a mother is also discussed.\ud Clinical implications are considered alongside suggestions for future\ud research.\ud Chapter III offers a reflective account of the challenges inherent in\ud undertaking doctoral level training in clinical psychology whilst raising a\ud young family. The implications for the role of clinical psychology as a\ud discipline are considered as well as the impact on my own personal and\ud professional development.
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