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Title: "It's like a Gordian Knot" : how older men in sobriety experience their emotions in therapy, using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Author: Freeman, Denise A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5363 1340
Awarding Body: Roehampton University
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2015
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Older men are an under-researched population in Counselling Psychology. This thesis explores how older men in sobriety experience their emotions in therapy and aims to understand the meaning of these experiences from a psychologically gendered subject perspective. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with six older men (aged 62 and above) and interview transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), a qualitative methodology that focuses on the lived experience and the meaning people give to these experiences. The analysis highlighted significant challenges for older men when attempting to unlock, process or discuss emotions in therapy. The analysis also revealed positive transformational effects by those who were able to transcend the confines of gendered constructs with concerted emotional investments. The two master themes are: (1) CONTROL/REGULATION OF EMOTIONS including subthemes: Challenges to unlocking emotion; Importance of therapeutic emotional containment; Role of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in the emotion sharing experience and (2) TRANSFORMATION/ALLEGIANCE TO SELF, including subthemes: Selfactualisation; Going into the heart of emotions as an emotional-spiritual journey. Participants expressed challenges to unlocking their emotions in therapy,which were mainly experienced as controlled or suppressed. Aging, masculinity and helpseeking theories, as well as addiction and recovery literature, are discussed in light of the findings along with suggestions for future research and implications in Counselling Psychology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Psych.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Masculinity ; Emotions ; older men ; Alcoholics Anonymous ; sobriety ; alcoholic