Evaluating the effects of self-practice/self-reflection on cognitive flexibility, empathy, insight, self-compassion, self-monitoring, and stress in postgraduate cognitive behaviour therapy trainees : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
There is considerable evidence to suggest that cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) training
programs can effectively enhance therapists’ CBT knowledge and skills. In response, research
is now beginning to establish which specific training strategies are most effective in developing
which CBT skills and competencies. Self-practice/self-reflection (SP/SR) is an experiential
training strategy used to enhance CBT training and the ongoing professional development of
CBT practitioners. Self-practice/self-reflection provides therapists with a structured experience
of using CBT on themselves (self-practice) and reflecting on that experience (self-reflection).
In order to build on previous SP/SR research, the aim of the current study was to explore the
effects of SP/SR on six specific dimensions of CBT therapist competence: cognitive flexibility,
empathy, insight, self-compassion, self-monitoring, and stress, among postgraduate CBT
trainees. Seven students completing a SP/SR program as part of the Postgraduate Diploma in
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy at Massey University were recruited to participate in the study.
Quantitative data using six self-report measures of therapist competence was collected at five
critical time points pertaining to the participants’ SP/SR program: baseline, pre-intervention,
midpoint, post-intervention, and follow-up. Qualitative data was collected from participants’
written reflections. A mixed method design using descriptive quantitative and qualitative
thematic analysis provided valuable quantitative (and some qualitative) support for the use of
SP/SR as a CBT training and development strategy, particularly when targeting these six
dimensions of CBT therapist competence.