“What Contributes to Family Therapist Trainees’ Health?” An Investigation into the Context of Professional and Workplace Health and Well-Being

Living reference work entry


This chapter explores the subjective health concepts in family therapy trainees (FTTs) in a systemic family therapy (SFT) organizational training setting in which individuals study to become certified family therapists (FTs) within a 3-year training period. Subjective health concepts and their development within organizational contexts are studied. The aim of the chapter is to contribute to a discourse on the development of subjective, personal health concepts and their impact on the development of a broader organizational culture of health and well-being. The chapter is based on a longitudinal hermeneutical case study design. The sample consisted of 65 FTTs, enrolled for a 3-year training course in SFT to become future FTs. Questionnaires were used to collect data with three measurements, one measurement per year of the FTTs. The data was analyzed through content analysis. The findings show that subjective health concepts of FTTs changed over the 3-year training period with regard to perceptions on aspects that support health and how professional health is conceptualized within the organizational training context. The development of subjective health concepts has implications for the FTTs’ work and their perceptions, attitude, and behavior in therapeutical work contexts. The findings provide further insights on how subjective health concepts develop in professional FTTs, who work within social and therapeutical organizations, and how this impacts on the broader organizational well-being. The conclusions indicate how subjective health concepts and organizational well-being relate and recommendations for future theory and practice regarding the development of FTTs’ health concepts on a personal and organizational level are given.


Systemic family therapy (SFT) Family therapy trainees (FTTs) Family therapist (FT) Workplace health and well-being Adult education Personal development Subjective health 



We sincerely thank the Institute of Family Therapy Training in Germany for providing us with access and support to the FTTs. We also thank the FTTs for their engaged and longitudinal participation in this research.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial Psychology and People ManagementUniversity of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Institut für Therapeutische Kommunikation und SprachgebrauchEuropa-Universität ViadrinaFrankfurt (Oder)Germany
  3. 3.Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, School of Management Sciences, College of Economic and Management SciencesUniversity of South AfricaPretoriaSouth Africa

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