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J Marital Fam Ther. 2014 Apr;40(2):233-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2012.00323.x. Epub 2012 Aug 3.

Getting comfortable as "fish out of water": using qualitative research methods training to enhance the technical capacity of family therapy trainees.

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  • 1Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, MedfordSouthShore Family Health Collaborative, BostonSafe at Home, BostonEliot Community Services, BostonTurtle Creek Valley MH/MR, Pittsburgh.


This article describes a qualitative research methods training project undertaken in a COAMFTE-accredited family therapy master's-level program. Graduate students were trained to collect research data for a qualitative study on the resilience of families displaced to the United States because of war and politically motivated violence in their country of origin. By involving trainees in a research project with refugees, the project was intended to address a gap in clinicians' training, specific to the refugee population (Miller, Muzurovic, Worthington, Tipping, and Goldman, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 2002; 72: 341). However, the training process was also a way to increase the students' skills at interviewing in complex situations, develop their cultural sensitivity beyond awareness, enhance their capacity for routine self-reflection, and introduce them to basic practices of qualitative research methodology. In this article, we focus on the students' experience of the training and discuss the potential implications of their feedback for family therapy training.

© 2012 American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

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