Learning Psychology and becoming psychologists: developing professional identity through group experiential learning

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5 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we describe the advantages of an experiential training group, specifically conceived for psychology students, in which the goal was to activate reflection on the internalized social representations of professional identity. Our study showed the results of a pre-post comparison of a one-group intervention. It was aimed to demonstrate that group experiential learning is particularly useful in changing the basis of social representations and may contribute to the construction of a realistic image of both the profession and the professional identity. The research involved 88 students enrolled in a graduate program in clinical psychology. Before and after the experiential groups, students were asked to write a text starting from the prompt ‘‘becoming a psychologist.’’ These 176 texts provided the data used for this study. We carried out a text analysis using automatized software that provided hierarchical classification and factorial analysis of correspondences. The changes in the students’ representations of psychologists underline how participation in group experiential learning has allowed students to build a more realistic, less stereotypical and idealized vision of their future profession and created greater awareness of the limits of a training program based solely on the acquisition of theoretical notions. The data suggest the possibility of usefully practicing such learning activities in order to help students to reflect on their professional representations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-247
Number of pages26
JournalPsychology Learning and Teaching
Publication statusPublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Psychology(all)


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