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Title: How clients with an Asperger Syndrome diagnosis experience the therapeutic relationship : an interpretative phenomenological analysis study
Author: Drossou, Kassiani
Awarding Body: University of Wales
Current Institution: Regent's University London
Date of Award: 2012
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Asperger Syndrome is a relatively new concept to mental health, and is known as a high functioning form of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Although there is little evidence in the literature regarding psychotherapeutic interventions being used with individuals diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, one to one counselling has been cited as a treatment option for this group. Despite the abundance of books on Asperger Syndrome, there is no qualitative phenomenological research to focus specifically on counselling or the therapeutic relationship when working psychotherapeutically with such clients. Perhaps the paucity of information can be attributed to the professional perception of this population as having little to no emotion and therefore unable to form any type of meaningful relationship. The aim of this study is to show how the aforementioned client group experience the therapeutic relationship. Interpretative Phenomenological analysis was employed to highlight the participants' experiences of the therapeutic relationship. Nine semi structured interviews were conducted with both men and women from different ethnic backgrounds diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Four main themes arose through the process of analysis: ( 1) Therapists' facilitative interpersonal qualities (2) The therapeutic relationship journey (3) Ruptures in the relationship ( 4) The 'AS PIE' therapy room. The findings of the study indicate that clients with an Asperger Syndrome diagnosis are able to experience a meaningful therapeutic relationship despite the emotional~ relational and cognitive issues that they bring into the counselling session. Moreover, the findings of this study could inform practice in any psychological work with people diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, bearing in mind the unique characteristics of the syndrome. Limitations of the study, as well as suggestions for the future are also discussed.
Supervisor: Daly, Antony Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available