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Dissertation

Organizational and individual factors of self-care in a psychology graduate program

1 January 2016

Abstract

Members of the field of psychology are at increased risk of burnout and practicing ineffective therapy when stressed; (Smith & Moss, 2009; Iliceto et al., 2013) students of clinical psychology are at risk of high levels of stress than the general population (Pica, 1998). Several researchers have recommended self-care as an antidote to the stress experienced by those practicing in the field of psychology (e.g., Killian, 2008). Despite a high endorsement of valuation of self-care, many people in the field endorse having an insufficient practice of self-care (Bober & Regehr, 2006). The purpose of this study is to understand if and how psychology students and faculty value self-care, integrate it into their professional identities, and how the psychology program supports the practice of self-care through infrastructure and organizational culture. A total of 111 students and 11 faculty were interviewed within eight focus groups. After qualitative data analysis, seven large themes emerged; Definition, Valuation, Barriers, Facilitators, Practices, Culture, and Recommendations. Each of these themes contains a number of subthemes that help to identify the level of support, understanding, and valuation of self-care within the graduate program. Recommendations are provided to support the organization in developing a culture and structure that support its member’s practices of self-care.


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