“‘My language thing … is like a big shadow always behind me’: International counselling trainees’ challenges in beginning clinical practice” By Lorena Georgiadou

Abstract

Background: While counsellor education becomes increasingly culturally diverse, little is known about international trainees’ experiences of training. Objective: The present study explores one aspect of training, namely clinical practice from the perspective of international, non-native speaking trainees. In particular, this paper focuses on the challenges this group encounters when practicing in a second language. Methodology: Semi-structured interviews with four non-native English-speaking trainees were conducted and analysed following the principles of interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Results: Findings suggest that participants encounter practical difficulties related to their non-native/foreign identity in practice, such as problems with articulate self-expression and understanding the client’s speech. These difficulties generate anxiety and impact on the trainees’ confidence. Conclusions and implications for counsellor training: This study elucidates language as a fundamental aspect of culture, and identifies second language use as a significant source of difference in counselling practice. This paper highlights the need for attention to linguistic diversity and for appropriate support during counsellor education. This will improve international trainees’ experiences of training, but also enhance all trainees’ understanding of difference, resulting in better service provision for the community.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1080/14733145.2013.770896/abstract

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