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Title: Erotic feelings of trainee counselling psychologists towards their clients : an interpretative phenomenological exploration
Author: Theodosiou, Eleni
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 3278
Awarding Body: University of Wales
Current Institution: Regent's University London
Date of Award: 2014
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Aims: This study explores trainee counselling psychologists’ erotic feelings towards their clients and their responses to those feelings. The influences that help shape trainees’ reactions as well as the support systems they utilize to deal with the erotic are examined.︣Design: The participants’ narratives were analysed using Smith’s (1995) Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.︣Procedure: The data were collected in semi-structured interviews with six trainee counselling psychologists who were attracted towards a client at least on one occasion.︣Results: A total of 29 themes were deemed of particular importance and relevance to the topic under investigation. The emergent themes were organized into 3 master themes: (i) attributes of erotic attraction; (ii) impact or erotic attraction; (iii) management of erotic attraction.︣Conclusions: The results of this study emphasize the need for increased awareness, comprehensive training and systematic research on matters of the erotic within therapeutic encounters. Erotic attraction seemed to have a profound impact on the participants’ intrapersonal and interpersonal being as it touched upon their feelings, thoughts, personal identity, professional identity, everydayness, and clinical work. The majority of trainees believed that their inability to deal with their attraction appropriately had a marked negative impact upon therapeutic relationship, process, and outcome. All participants considered their experience, however, a major learning point as it allowed them to an extent to redefine their intentions, motives, and expectations as professionals and human beings. All participants used supervision, personal therapy, peer consultation, literature, and theoretical constructs to process and understand their attraction with varying degrees of success. Training programs and clinical placements seem to contribute to mismanagement of attraction by failing to lift the taboo off the erotic, by neglecting to address these issues explicitly in their curriculum, and by nurturing unrealistically high standards of conducting therapy. This study suggests that the erotic has an ontological and ontic significance which could be fully explored by adopting an existential counselling psychology paradigm or by adding an element of existential observation and understanding to any other approach.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Counseling--Education ; Psychotherapy--Education ; Sex between psychotherapist and patient