The Experience of Counselling Trainees with Mental Health Difficulties

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Ruhl, Corinna
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This paper is a study of research on the experience of counselling trainees with mental health difficulties. A review of the literature suggests that mental health stigma is prevalent in the counselling profession and that counsellors and trainees with mental health difficulties experience stigma and shame. Current research on this topic, particularly for multiply marginalized individuals, is limited. The author reviewed ten research articles—four quantitative, three qualitative, and three mixed methods—to explore the qualitative research question "What is the experience of counselling trainees with mental health difficulties?" and the quantitative sub-question "What is the prevalence of mental health difficulties among counselling trainees?" Mental health difficulties among counselling trainees were found at rates similar to or higher than the general population. Stigma and self-stigma are common, some trainees experience shame, and many struggle with disclosure. Significant barriers to accessing mental health supports were also noted. The author concludes this study with applications of the research findings for personal practice, the profession of counselling and psychology, and wider society.
lived experience , stigma , mental illness , shame , counselling training , recovery
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