Navigating COVID-19: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Review of Mental Health Trainees' Experiences

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Fath, Jayme
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The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of mental health trainees (MHTs) in order to illuminate their experiences of training and practice during the COVID-19 crisis. A hermeneutic phenomenological framework was used for this qualitative metasynthesis in which an original quote was reduced to reveal its core meaning and a relational concept map was created where ideas were connected in order to reveal overarching thematic categories of experience. These initial codes included experiences of i) connection; ii) disconnection; iii) drawbacks of online training; iv) difficulties of remote practice; v) benefits of online training; vi) adaptive coping; vii) emotional (i.e. feelings); viii) cognitive (e.g. cognitions); and ix) benefits of remote practice. The overarching themes extracted from the findings were: 1) emotions rising as educational losses and delays experienced; 2) mental health and well-being challenges; 3) MHTs adapted by making meaning and integrating grief experiences; 4) adaptive coping; 5) adapting to concerns about distraction and confidentiality; 6) navigating risk; 7) information communication technology (ICT) as an avenue for connection in remote practicum and training experiences and 8) remote practice affords accessibility, continuity, flexibility, and efficiency. The findings revealed that MHTs had experienced a time of ambiguous loss and that community care via academic support helps protect MHTs well-being. It is important for trainees to recognize avenues for adaptive coping and for institutions to offer support. All institutions training MHTs may wish to include more education on teletherapy and technology applications.
COVID-19 , practica , practice , mental health trainee , training , social work , art therapy , group therapy , psychiatry , psychology , counselling , face-to-face , online format , virtual , community care , telesupervision , distanced supervision , remote supervision , teletherapy , graduate , doctoral , post-graduate , hermeneutic literature review , experiences