Managing emotional labour in the provision of psychotherapy - what matters most

James J. Clarke, Clare S. Rees, Lauren J. Breen, Brody Heritage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective The current study sought to explore holistic factors perceived to be key in managing emotional labour effectively in psychologists providing psychotherapy. Identifying applicable factors in this occupational group is vital to understand how psychologists manage emotional labour and related constructs. The study aimed to contribute to a burgeoning conversation around the topic of emotional labour in psychologists and examined the following research question: How do psychologists providing psychotherapy manage emotional labour? Method Reflexive thematic analysis of data collected from 24 semi-structured interviews with psychologists who provide individual psychotherapy was conducted. This method enabled broad themes relating to the research question to be identified. Results Key factors for managing emotional labour were found and summarised by key themes of effective in-session regulation, effective post-session regulation, positive therapeutic relationships with clients, general lifestyle factors, evaluating therapeutic effectiveness, personal predispositions, and career experience. Conclusions Analysis of the findings found that novel factors including psychological flexibility, self-compassion, self-reflection, and career experience are important for effectively managing emotional labour. Researchers and clinicians would benefit from integrating the study's findings into their respective practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-116
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Psychologist
Issue number1
Early online date22 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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