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Title: The possibility of a 'phenomenological' approach to researching how psychotherapists experience working with despair in a UK prison setting
Author: Gee, Joanna
ISNI:       0000 0004 5357 4649
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2014
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This study attempts to begin with phenomenology, exploring the possibility of a ‘phenomenological’ approach to research, through an exploration of how psychotherapists experience working with despair, in the UK prison setting. In turn, this project has a twofold focus; the first to carry out a phenomenological analysis of the data collected and the second to problematise notions of ‘phenomenological research’. The phenomenological starting point can be considered different to that of the psychological and forensic literature, which offer a psychologised definition of despair and assume that psychotherapy involves a psychotherapeutic intervention in bringing about an alleviation of symptoms of despair. This study acknowledges despair not as something, which can be interpreted, but as a complex notion, which can only be viewed under the aspect of consciousness. Ten participants were interviewed as to their experience of working with clients in despair in the prison setting. The data was analysed via the phenomenological research method Empirical Phenomenological Analysis (EPA), and a secondary analysis through reverie. Through the analysis by EPA, the participants interviewed described despair in the prison setting as a destabilising phenomenon to which there was no protocol for working with it. Participants also described the prisoners’ despair and the despairing prison setting, touching on their own sense of vulnerability and despair. However, methodologically speaking, it was through the contrast between the analysis by EPA and reverie that the importance of the attendance to aspects of intersubjectivity in research emerged. As a result, this research has attempted to raise questions with regard to how the implication of reverie can be significant for researching despair, in a way that enables the possibility of phenomenology, through the abandonment of the current cultural emphasis on positivistic psychological research.
Supervisor: Loewenthal, Derek ; Cayne, Julia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available