Sense of self in the conduct of research in counselling
This thesis addresses the relationship between counselling and researching. It questions whether or not there is an approach to researching that maintains and facilitates the sense of self of the researcher through the extension of congruence from something held to something that is acted upon. In outlining and defining the worlds of researching and counselling this thesis highlights two perceived fundamental differences between the two processes. The process of counselling, as defined within this thesis, is founded on the individual, and holds a proficiency model of the individual. The individual, to put it simply, is inherently trustworthy and possesses awareness and resources. Researching, again as defined within this thesis, is founded on the notion of community and holds a deficiency model of the individual. The individual according to the world of researching needs to be given boundaries to be trustworthy and responsible. In light of these perceived differences this thesis suggests that within the current field of research processes it is impossible for the individual researcher to conduct research in a manner which respects and facilitates their sense of self and active congruence. Constructs such as reflexivity impose a philosophy that has the distrust of the individual researcher at its core. This thesis suggests an alternative approach to researching that adopts the foundations of person-centred counselling. This approach has been named Researching with a Sense of Self. Researching with a sense of self (ReSS) is an approach to researching that extends the use of the self of the researcher beyond the boundaries of constructs such as reflexivity. Mirroring the philosophy of the person held within person-centred counselling, this process of researching employs constructs that facilitate and respect the self of the researcher as trustworthy and capable. This thesis is in two parts. The first part locates the thesis within the current literature of counselling and researching and introduces the notion of researching with a sense of self. The second part presents the application of the approach in the field of counselling in primary care, specifically looking at the individual counsellor working within a primary care context.