Illuminating the journey of undergraduate counsellor students : hearing their voices and experiences of development.

Type of content
Theses / Dissertations
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Thesis discipline
Degree name
Master of Counselling
University of Canterbury
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Volume Title
Ramos, Luisa Catizane

This thesis is about hearing and illuminating the voices of students regarding their experiences of development during their journey of counselling education. Researcher intention was to be a writer for participants’ voices and experiences of development. This thesis reveals a list of specific experiences that promoted or/and have been promoting development for these participants and it also offers meaningful knowledge about development that might be helpful for the counselling and caring profession field.

To clearly hear and illuminate students’ voices, a qualitative descriptive methodology was utilised and four participants gathered and they greatly helped in the construct of this work. A safe environment, where they could freely express self, was provided and researcher and participants engaged in depth one to one interviews with open-ended questions. The interviews lasted for around one and an half hours each. The data were analysed for themes and the thematic analysis revealed two key themes: objective experiences of development and subjective experiences of development. It also brings to light seven associated sub-themes: tendency to actualise; authenticity and self-acceptance; vulnerability, non-judgmentalism, and compassion; support from tutors; difficult personal experiences; self-care; as well as counselling training and deep learning.

This research endeavour is only one way of illuminating the data and although the experiences of development are endless and cannot be generalised from the nature of this work, the themes emerged from participants voices also resignated with researcher as a counsellor. This is because in one person’s story and experience there might be aspects that will resonate with others stories and experiences. Readers are invited to open up their hearts to this world of counselling students and to reflect and even look deeper in their own experiences adding to their personal self-development. This research enables those interested in experiences of development, to use the knowledge shared by the participants as a guide to enhance the development of counsellor students, even perhaps, to enhance the development of caring professional or/and people in general.

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