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Title: Saying goodbye : a phenomenological investigation into the therapist's experience of significant therapeutic endings
Author: Coelho, Alessia
Awarding Body: University of Wales
Current Institution: Regent's University London
Date of Award: 2012
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Aims: Despite general agreement as to the importance of the final phase of therapy, literature concerning the way the therapeutic relationship is brought to a close focuses almost entirely on the perspective of the client. Much less is recognized about the therapist’s experience of this process. Little qualitative research has been conducted in the area. The current study therefore aims to gain︣an in-depth understanding of the therapist’s experience of a therapeutic ending. Using a qualitative approach, the study focuses upon the experiences of practicing counselling psychologists, and seeks to explore the following: How do therapists experience therapeutic endings?︣Method: Semi-structured interviews were carried out with seven practicing counselling psychologists (five females and two males; aged between 29 and 48) who each described a particular therapeutic ending that evoked a significant emotional response for them. Verbatim transcripts of the interviews were then analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA).︣Results: The analysis produced four master themes. These were: The therapeutic relationship; The ending phase and final session; Therapy as a learning process; Professional implications and considerations. A description of these master themes and the related constituent themes is presented. The results of the analysis are considered in light of existing theory and their implications for counselling psychology. These emphasize the significance of therapeutic endings and highlight the adequacy (or otherwise) of clinical supervision and professional training institutions in helping therapists manage and understand this process. Methodological considerations and suggestions for further research are presented.
Supervisor: Kirkland Handley, Nick Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available