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Title: The reluctant therapist? : the experience of working therapeutically with the older client
Author: Collins, Ruth Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 2902
Awarding Body: University of Wales
Current Institution: Regent's University London
Date of Award: 2014
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The research literature reveals a widespread reluctance on the part of therapists to work with older people therapeutically as it is believed to be an unrewarding experience and of little benefit for this cohort. This is in contrast to empirical research which shows that therapeutic interventions can be effective and beneficial for older people. There is little literature that looks at the lived experience of therapists who work with older people and none from a counselling psychology perspective. It is therefore hoped that gaining a phenomenological understanding of the experience will provide insight and understanding into the lived experience of therapists who work with older adults. The research question was: 'What is the experience of working therapeutically with the older client?' A qualitative methodology, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) (Smith and Osborn, 2003) was employed for both the conduct and the analysis of the research. Purposive sampling enabled the selection of seven participants for whom the research question was relevant. Semi-structured interview were carried out with three counselling psychologists and four therapists. The age range of the participants was 31-68 years; there were two males and five females. Three master themes emerged: (1) in respect of age - doing therapy differently; (2) the impact of the older client on the therapist; and (3) the reluctant therapist. A description of the master themes, and related constituent themes, is presented and discussed. Although these findings are consonant with the relevant research literature, the research is unique in capturing not only the therapist's lived experience but that of the counselling psychologist as well. It is therefore an important and significant contribution to the field of therapeutic work with older people and a vital addition to the counselling psychology literature. The results of the analysis and implications for counselling psychology are discussed.
Supervisor: Adams, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychological therapies ; Psychology ; Psychotherapy ; Counseling