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Self-case study as a catalyst for personal development in cognitive therapy training

  • Niccy Fraser (a1) and Jan Wilson (a2)

Personal development is a vital requirement of counsellor development, and educators need to consider how best to promote and support students’ personal development throughout training. ‘Self-case study’ can provide both learning and personal development opportunities for counselling students. This qualitative narrative study explores seven students’ perspectives about their experiences of completing a self-case study as a learning requirement for a compulsory introductory course in cognitive therapy at undergraduate level. Unstructured individual interviews were used for data collection. Data analysis involved identifying themes and analysing the narrative structure of stories. The findings emphasized the view that self-case study provides useful learning opportunities in the areas of theory, practice and personal development. Most participants described transformational life changes resulting from completing a self-case study. This paper presents selected findings. The ethical issues and limitations of this study are discussed. Self-case study is recommended as a potentially effective education strategy.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Ms. N. Fraser, Wellington Institute of Technology, Auckland 1141, New Zealand. (email:
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