Learning in the context of partnership

Trainee and intern psychologists’ reflections on community-based service learning



Community-based service learning (CBSL), training psychologists, building partnerships, psychology internships, postgraduate learning


For a number of years, community-based service learning (CBSL) has been a key element of the Community Psychology module in the Master’s programme for training psychologists at Rhodes University. In 2022, CBSL was consolidated to become central to the whole programme, with a focus on providing services in a partnership with the Assumption Development Centre (ADC). After introducing a model showing how students gradually move from sensitisation to social justice issues at undergraduate levels towards conscientisation as postgraduates, this paper will reflect on the interface between the professional training programmes and the community-based partnership with the ADC. Following a brief background about the partnership’s development, we describe the structure of the CBSL and its integration into the curricula. We provide evidence of its impact on both the firstyear master’s students, and the second year Counselling Psychology Interns. These data draw from the trainee psychologists’ reflections, as reported in the Rhodes Psychology Clinic 2022 Annual Report; and the Intern Psychologists’ reflections, integrated into the 2022 ADC Counselling Hub Annual Report. A thematic analysis of the reflections illustrates the commonalities in the accounts of learning, as well as the deepened insights and shifts evident in the accounts. The reported reflective learning is then considered both practically and theoretically, with recommendations for further development.

Author Biographies

Professor Jacqui Akhurst , Rhodes University

Jacqueline Akhurst
Professor, Psychology Department, Rhodes University, Makhanda, South Africa

Nqobile Msomi, Rhodes University

Nqobile Msomi
Psychology Department, Rhodes University, Makhanda, South Africa

Anneliese Maritz, Rhodes University

Anneliese Maritz
Psychology Department, Rhodes University, Makhanda, South Africa


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How to Cite

Akhurst, J., Msomi, N., & Maritz, A. (2023). Learning in the context of partnership: Trainee and intern psychologists’ reflections on community-based service learning. African Journal of Higher Education Community Engagement, 1(1), 20–38. Retrieved from https://journal.ru.ac.za/index.php/AJHECE/article/view/2480