The perceived effectiveness of training (with reference to stress management and coping skills), in educational psychologists.
Burnout is considered the final step in the progression of unsuccessful attempts at coping with a number of stressful conditions. The present study aimed to explore the perceived effectiveness of training of educational psychologists at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg to manage and cope with stress and burnout. The study also explored the perceived effectiveness of training to cope with demands of the profession, and the choice of coping mechanisms in stress management. The sample consisted of 8 educational psychologists who had completed their degrees at the University of Natal, Pietermartizburg. The sample comprised five males and three females. The study was qualitative in nature and the data was analyzed employing Kruger's phenomenological approach. A semi-structured interview was conducted consisting of four questions. The data received was thereafter analyzed by the phenomenological steps stipulated by Kruger (1988). Categorization of the data revealed the following themes: (a) incongruencies in practice and training; (b) perceived influence of professional training on the choice of coping skills and stress management techniques; (c) stress management techniques and elements that psychologists thought should be included in the training programme; (d) contributory factors of stress and burnout in psychologists, and society's perception of psychologists. A gap was perceived between the training received and practice. The respondents felt that there was a lack of focus on issues pertaining to educational psychology. The meta-issue that arose was that the professional training received was incongruent with work demands. With regard to the choice of coping skills, the training received was perceived as being unhelpful, but aided in the refinement of existing coping skills. The findings of the study are discussed, limitations of the study considered, and suggestions for further research offered.