Students' experiences of remediation in their graduate psychology programs: a phenomenological study
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Student competence problems, defined as behaviors that cause a student or supervisee to fail to meet essential professional standards (Elman & Forrest, 2007), impact a substantial number of graduate students in applied psychology programs. Many students with competence problems are placed on remediation plans in order to rectify these problems and facilitate their ability to complete their training successfully. While research has been conducted on other students' experiences and perspectives of having peers with competence problems, no research to date has investigated the experiences and perspectives of the students remediated for competence problems. The current study filled the gap in the literature by investigating the lived experiences of 12 graduate students in doctoral-level clinical and counseling psychology programs who have been or are currently being remediated for competence problems. This study utilized a phenomenological approach and a semi-structured interview guide to glean information on how remediation impacts a student's professional development and development of competence. Results of the study demonstrated five themes: Remediation Plan Details and Specifics; Experiences with Remediators; Problem in Context; Impact of Remediation on Trainee; and Recommendations to Trainers. Each theme consisted of several subthemes, which are described in detail. Additionally, an outlined process of remediation was provided based on the reports of the participants that highlighted the general process by which remediation occurred for each participant. Results demonstrated some consistency as well as unique findings pursuant to the existing literature base on remediation. Additionally, the implications of the findings provide the impetus for new suggestions for how trainers can implement remediation, including considerations of locus of control and competence, as well as parallels between remediation and therapy process and outcome literature. Recommendations for trainers and additional research implications are offered.