To Be Seen and Heard: The Lived Experience of Pasifika Students Participating in Psychotherapy Training in Aotearoa, New Zealand an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Stewart-Folau, Ambyr
Collens, Paula
Ioane, Julia
Item type
Degree name
Master of Psychotherapy
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Auckland University of Technology

The focus of this research was the lived experience of self-identified Pasifika students; exploring their ethnic identity and experience of psychotherapy training. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was used to analyse data derived from semi-structured in- depth interviews with three participants; each engaged in psychotherapy training at a tertiary institute in Aotearoa, New Zealand. This research provided an avenue for Pasifika psychotherapy students to share their stories and be seen and truly heard in a way they may never have felt before. The findings provided valuable insight into the tensions, complexities and realities of their unique journeys to becoming a psychotherapist; an emotionally laden journey. The findings of the study resulted in an overarching theme of navigating two worlds; the Pasifika collectivistic and psychotherapy individualistic worlds which encompassed four associated themes of identity, conflict, sacrifice and power relations. Exploration and dialogue in relation to these themes gave voice to the often unspoken aspects of their lived experiences; and an enhancing of insight and understanding of Pasifika ways of being, needs, hopes and aspirations.

Pasifika , Pacific , Psychotherapy , Psychotherapy training
Publisher's version
Rights statement