Student speech pathologists' experiences of an aphasia therapy group

Laura Cubirka, Scott Barnes, Alison Ferguson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is evidence that group therapy for people with aphasia is effective, but the skills needed to interact with people with aphasia are complex. There is also evidence that training and guided experience can improve the skills of family members and health professionals in communicating with people with aphasia. However, there is limited research into how student speech pathologists learn to develop the communication strategies that they will teach others to use when interacting with people with aphasia. Aim: This qualitative study aimed to explore perceptions of the student learning experience in aphasia group therapy of four student speech pathologists, their clinical educator and group members with aphasia. Methods & Procedures: Four student speech pathologists, three clients with aphasia and two spouses participated in four consecutive aphasia group therapy sessions under the supervision of a speech pathology clinical educator. Semi-structured interviews with each student and the clinical educator, following the first, third and final group session, were audio recorded. Following the final session, each participant with aphasia was also interviewed. The interviews were transcribed and qualitative content analysis was used to describe the perspectives of the participants. Outcomes & Results: Analysis of the interviews revealed that student perceptions of their experience were linked to their understanding of group therapy for aphasia, their understanding of the role of communication strategies and their ideas concerning saving face and discourse equality. Findings indicated a close alignment of the perspectives of students, clinical educator and participants with aphasia in their understanding of the contribution of aphasia group therapy to student learning and client benefits. Conclusions: The findings of the present study provide preliminary information for the development of educational practices relevant to speech pathology students preparing for work with people with aphasia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1497-1515
Number of pages19
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2015


  • aphasia
  • group therapy
  • qualitative research
  • student learning


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