The Hardest Part Is Knowing I Will Survive: The Use of Music and Creative Mediums to Enhance Empathy and Facilitate Life-Long Distance Learning in Professionally Qualified Clinicians

Saskia Keville, Katherine Nutt, Isabel Brunton, Carly Keyes, Erasmo Tacconelli


Music is an experience that can cross personal and professional domains alongside cultural, gender, age and generational boundaries; it can also enhance the learning process through emotional processing and connection. This paper focuses on the learning experience of qualified clinical psychologists (CPs) working in the United Kingdom. This group of CPs had experience of undertaking experiential learning and reflective writing during their professional training. It considers the potential to continue a learning process, 3 years post qualification, through long distance methods using vignette-based material.

Empathising with, and understanding, the position of others from differing backgrounds is an important competency within the therapeutic work of CPs and this comes alongside acknowledging and understanding ones’ own experiences, both past and present. CPs work with difficult life experiences and complex issues; connecting constantly can be exhausting and, perhaps, unrealistic. Yet, to truly empathise one must connect with, and understand, the lived experiences of others. We will consider what helps and hinders this process, and how music and other creative mediums can be effectively used in learning even via long distance methods. We will further consider how CPs may be well placed to enhance the learning about, and processing of, difficult emotional experiences for themselves, other clinicians and the people they might work with.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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