Psychology, Professional


Spring 5-23-2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)

Type of Paper/Work

Doctoral Project


Consuelo Cavalieri

Second Advisor

Kerry Frank


The American Psychological Association 2005 Presidential Task Force on Evidence Based Treatments asserts that clinical expertise can and should be developed through a clinician’s personal self reflection and willingness to examine personal bias. Incorporating aspects of multiculturalism into the arena of therapist self-awareness helps to bridge a gap between theory and practice. This project investigates how clinicians synthesize personal experience with foundational knowledge in counseling psychology by way of self-examination. Through the process of autoethnography, this paper provides insight into a psychotherapy trainee’s experience of self-reflection and integration of personal and professional identities. Autoethnographers hope to share evocative stories (Chang, 2008; Ellis, 2004) that inspire others and illuminate personal experience. Literature on postmodern perspectives of identity development, the author’s family history, interviews with family members and the author’s personal reactions are woven together to illustrate how personal culture and family dynamics have resulted in identity negotiation between two families, seeing family members through their own lens, and the role of genetics in family identity negotiation. This experience has made paramount a sense of home and security and an authentic self on the path toward growth in both personal and clinical settings. Through the process of self-reflection, the author recognizes implications to her practice through increased awareness of personal bias, greater capacity for connection to clients and a strengthened ability to navigate interpersonal challenges, whether they present in therapeutic settings or elsewhere.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.