Clinical Master of Social Work Students: Personal Therapy’s Influence upon Professional Development


Social Work

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper


Kari Fletcher


The purpose of this research was to better understand the perceptions, experiences, and opinions of Master of Social Work (MSW) students and recent graduates in regard to personal therapy. Specifically, this study sought to investigate the factors that are involved in the process of professional development through the use of personal therapy. This study utilized a mixed methods design to survey 82 MSW students or recent graduates. Data was collected through an online questionnaire that asked participants questions, in both a qualitative and quantitative format, regarding their perceptions of and experiences with personal therapy in reference to professional development. Findings reveal that the majority of MSW students and recent graduates report personal therapy to be important to their professional development, specifically in the areas of increased self insight, increased emotional functioning, increased understanding of the therapeutic process, and increased efficacy in their own practice. Participants indicated that they found personal and professional development to be deeply interrelated. Findings also indicate that participants encounter a number of barriers in obtaining personal therapy, as well as a lack of discussion around the topic, during their MSW education. These findings highlight the need for further discussion among MSW students, educators, and professionals in regard to the use of personal therapy for professional development.


student, personal therapy, professional development

Creative Commons License

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