© The Author(s) 2020. Practitioners who undertake PhDs find themselves in a unique research position. They have a dual role of being a researcher, a doctoral candidate and also a practitioner. This paper describes my reflections on the journey of doing a PhD as an experienced social work practitioner. First, I describe my study which designed, developed and evaluated a psychoeducational intervention for foster carers in Ireland. Then, I discuss my reflections on my position in the research and how I theoretically framed my study in a pragmatist approach. I discuss the challenges I experienced as a practitioner and doctoral candidate. I conclude that my position as a practitioner and doctoral candidate was likely to have enhanced my research and the contribution it has made to social work practice.