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Title: When passions run high : a phenomenological exploration of the emotional experience of the therapeutic relationship in existential psychotherapy
Author: Brown, Victoria Charity
ISNI:       0000 0004 5352 8810
Awarding Body: Middlesex University/New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2015
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This dissertation explores the emotional experience of the psychotherapeutic relationship for existential therapists. The intent of this research is to explore therapists’ reflections and descriptions of their emotional experience as they engage in therapeutic relationships with their clients, and how they themselves make sense of and understand the emotions in the therapeutic relationship. Eight participants were interviewed using semi-structured interviews. The material was analysed using Van Manen’s hermeneutic phenomenology. Five themes were identified: i) the idea that the relationship is the therapy; ii) the primacy of emotions in this relationship; iii) the emotional work required by the therapist, iv) the fact that emotions are embodied and v) the idea of the dance of therapy and moments of meeting. Existing literature on the therapeutic relationship and more broadly from existential philosophy was employed in order to illuminate themes arising from the results. The results provide a compelling description of existential therapists’ experiences of emotions in the therapeutic relationship and help to fill an absence of published phenomenological studies in this subject area. The clinical significance of the study includes a recommendation for increased awareness and focus on the emotional work of psychotherapy in training and practice. The study highlights the important role that the profession of counselling psychology plays in advocating for the importance of the therapeutic relationship. Further qualitative work on studies that delve into more specific aspects of emotions in the therapeutic relationship were called for.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available