Grounded Theory: Analyzing Experiences of Clinicians in Training Utilizing Client Feedback


As a new faculty member teaching and training Marriage and Family Therapy graduates, I was eager to involve some of my students in a research study exploring the experiences of new clinicians utilizing client feedback. Asking clients for feedback at the end of every therapy session had recently become an evidence-based practice shown to improve the client–clinician relationship and the overall treatment outcome. Yet, little research had been done on using client feedback with clinicians in training still learning to conduct therapy. My quality research study introduced client feedback into our university couple and family therapy clinic and then began exploring the experiences of new clinicians utilizing client feedback. I then trained three of my Marriage and Family Therapy graduate students in grounded theory analysis as we coded and developed a theory around how new clinicians learn to utilize client feedback. This case study explores some of the methodological challenges and benefits of our research design and our research group dynamics as well as our learning curve in coding data and building theory. Our group comprised researchers and participant researchers in various stages of clinical training and understanding grounded theory analysis. This case sheds light on the experience of learning to code through coding and how grounded theory analysis particularly lends itself to a recursive process of mistakes and revisions. Reflecting on this developmental process of learning leads to more general suggestions for conducting a research study using grounded theory analysis.

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