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Title: Trying to make sense of the chaos : clinical psychologists' experiences and perceptions of clients with 'borderline personality disorder'
Author: Millar, H.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2007
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Abstract:
Using a qualitative methodology, the primary aim of the present study was to explore clinical psychologists’ experiences and perceptions of clients with BPD. Sixteen clinical psychologists (including both trainees and fully qualified staff) participated in focus groups. The following eight superordinate themes emerged from the analysis: ‘negative perceptions of the client’; ‘undesirable feelings in the psychologist’; ‘positive perceptions of the client’; ‘desirable feelings in the psychologist’; ‘trying to make sense of the chaos’; ‘working in contrast to the system’; ‘awareness of negativity’; and ‘improving our role’. Some differences in the emergence of themes between participants at different stages in their careers were noted. Implications include concerns regarding the therapeutic relationship and the possibility of the unintentional perpetuation of the negativity surrounding this client group. However, hope for change is also implied, as clinical psychologists appeared to engage in a range of processes in order to attempt to bring some understanding to the presenting problems of people with BPD, and conveyed a sense of a need to improve their role in this area, as well as ways of doing so. Moreover, the positive perceptions and desirable feelings expressed contrast with the pejorative connotations of the BPD label being seen as unchangeable, and challenge the notion that such clients are only associated with negative feelings in staff. It is recommended that ideas generated within the focus groups, such as providing more experience and teaching on BPD for trainees, as well more support for fully qualified clinical psychologists working with these clients, are taken forward. Suggestions for future research include the exploration of the perspectives of clinical psychologists in different settings, such as learning disabilities services, and the quantitative investigation of the noted differences between clinical psychologists at different stages in their careers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.657775  DOI: Not available
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