Clinical intuition in mental health care: A discussion and focus groups
SourceCounselling Psychology Quarterly, 25, 1, (2012), pp. 19-29
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OGG
Counselling Psychology Quarterly
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment
Clinical intuition in mental health care has been written off as a mysterious kind of ability to ‘see through’ clients, something that clinicians who favour evidence-based practice should have nothing to do with. We propose another understanding of clinical intuition. Similar to other types of professional intuition, we take it to refer to automatic responses that are based on knowledge acquired through significant, explicit learning from textbooks and in clinical practice. We think clinical intuition understood in this way deserves rehabilitation as a creditable source of information for clinicians. We propose an argument for our viewpoint, and as a start of this rehabilitation process, we describe a demarcation of what clinical intuition is and how it is used according to professionals in the mental health domain themselves. We conclude that in actual practice, clinicians combine the empirical approach to their clients with the use of their professional intuitions. Both intuition and analysis have their flaws and merits. Explaining when clinical intuition might be helpful to trainee clinical psychologists and counsellors would be a useful complement rather than an antonym of teaching empirically based decision processes.
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