University of Hertfordshire

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Workplace bullying from the perspectives of trainee Clinical Psychologists

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-152
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice
Early online date14 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2021


Purpose: Research has identified that workplace bullying is a significant problem within health care, with health-care trainees at particular risk. The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of workplace bullying from the perspectives of trainee clinical psychologists.
Design/methodology/approach: A total of 14 trainee clinical psychologists recruited from British universities participated in semi-structured telephone interviews. Qualitative data was analysed using thematic analysis.
Findings: The analysis generated four main themes: workplace bullying “activating threat responses”, the process of trainee clinical psychologists “making sense of bullying”, “difficulties navigating power within the system” when experiencing and reporting bullying and “finding safety and support” within and outside of work contexts.
Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first known study of workplace bullying specifically within clinical psychology. The research has implications for guidance for training institutions and professional bodies associated with trainee mental health professionals.


© 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited. This is the accepted manuscript version of an article which has been published in final form at

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