Bringing books back: enhancing the understanding of psychotherapy in psychology students through book club participation

Khokhlova, Olga and Bhatia, Aditi ORCID logoORCID: (2023) Bringing books back: enhancing the understanding of psychotherapy in psychology students through book club participation. Teaching of Psychology, 50 (1) . pp. 32-40. ISSN 0098-6283 [Article] (doi:10.1177/00986283211014179)

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Background: The experiential and reflective nature of psychotherapeutic training is not always captured in undergraduate psychology teaching, therefore, there is a need for educational strategies that provide opportunities for deeper understanding of the therapeutic process. Objective: This article evaluates one such strategy—A Book Club, to support the understanding of psychotherapeutic practice and mental health in Psychology undergraduate students at a private university in Dubai, UAE. Method: Psychotherapy-related books were assigned as prior reading each month, which were then discussed in the group meetings facilitated by clinically experienced Psychology lecturers. Fifteen semi-structured interviews were carried out with students and analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Four primary themes were generated—(1) Diversity in perspectives, (2) Autonomous learning environment, (3) Reality orientation, and (4) Sparking self-insight. The results highlight that Book Clubs are useful in fostering deeper conceptualizations of the therapeutic relationship, visualizing future careers in psychotherapy, and promoting self-awareness among students. Conclusion: Discussions centred around books can provide students with discourse opportunities that enhance students’ interpersonal skills and improve student engagement. Teaching Implication: Book clubs can be a useful platform for teachers to help students connect the knowledge that they have previously acquired in the classroom with real-life experiences of psychotherapists described in books.

Item Type: Article
Keywords (uncontrolled): psychology, counseling, undergraduate, student engagement, qualitative research, psychotherapy training
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
Item ID: 33105
Notes on copyright: © The Author(s) 2021
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
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Depositing User: Jisc Publications Router
Date Deposited: 13 May 2021 11:13
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2022 09:49

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