An investigation of Depression among clinical, counselling and educational psychologists in private practice

The aim of this study is to investigate depression in clinical, counselling and educational psychologists in private practice. Forty-one psychologists completed a survey questionnaire consisting of closed and open-ended questions. The questionnaire required no identifying details. This ensured confidentiality, and the information gathered was subjected to both quantitative and qualitative analyses, which forms the basis of this dissertation. The results confirm that psychologists do indeed suffer with depression. However, contrary to expectation, it is not always the work of a psychologist which creates the conditions for depression, but rather a history of depression or a vulnerability to depression, which is sometimes stirred up by different aspects of the work. Also, a psychologist’s personal experience of depression often seems to be helpful during the therapeutic process, where the therapist uses his/her subjective experience of depression, to understand and assist clients in the management of their emotional pain. In addition, the negative impact of depression on clinical work is explored. In the sample, there do not appear to be many differences between clinical, counselling and educational psychologists regarding their experiences of depression. With hindsight, it was thought that the division of the disciplines did not add anything meaningful to the study. The purposively drawn sample was biased towards clinical psychologists. Also, the investigative nature of the study made it difficult to draw conclusions which could be generalized to the population of psychologists in South Africa. Despite the study’s limitations, the results, when compared with existing literature regarding depression in psychologists, revealed many similarities. Areas of further research were identified.
Student Number : 8153027 - MA (Clin) dissertation - School of Human and Community Development - Faculty of Humanities
depression, clinical, counselling and, private practice