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Self-Practice and Self-Reflection in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Training: What Factors Influence Trainees’ Engagement and Experience of Benefit?

  • James Bennett-Levy (a1) and Nicole K. Lee (a2)

Background: Previous studies of self-practice/self-reflection (SP/SR) CBT training have found that trainees report significant benefits from practising CBT techniques on themselves (self-practice) and reflecting on their experience (self-reflection) as a formal part of their CBT training. However, not all trainees experience the same level of benefit from SP/SR and not all types of training course produce benefits to the same extent. Aims: This paper examines the question: What factors influence trainees’ reported benefit from SP/SR? The aim was to develop a model to maximize the value of SP/SR training. Method: The authors used a grounded theory analysis of four SP/SR training courses, varying along several dimensions, to derive a model that could account for the data. Results: A model was derived comprising of seven elements: Two outcomes – “Experience of Benefit” and “Engagement with the Process” – that mutually influence one another; and five other influencing factors – “Course Structure and Requirements”, “Expectation of Benefit”, “Feeling of Safety with the Process”, “Group Process”, and “Available Personal Resources” – that mediate the impact on Engagement with the Process and Experience of Benefit from SP/SR. Conclusions: A model that provides guidance about the best ways to set up and develop SP/SR programs has been developed. This model may now be subject to empirical testing by trainers and researchers. Implications and recommendations for the design and development of future SP/SR programs are discussed.

Corresponding author
Reprint requests to James Bennett-Levy, University Centre for Rural Health (North Coast), University of Sydney, PO Box 3074, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia. E-mail:
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