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Title: A portfolio of academic, therapeutic practice and research work: including an investigation of the nature of suicidality in the context of bipolar disorder
Author: Malden , Andrea Kragh
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 7220
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2014
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This portfolio was submitted to The University of SUlTey for the completion of the Practitioner Doctorate (PsychD) in Psychotherapeutic and Counselling Psychology. It aims to demonstrate my personal and professional development throughout my four years of training. It comprises three dossiers which reflect the academic, clinical and research work undertaken as Part of this degree. The academic dossier contains three essays written on topics of personal interest against the backdrop of theoretical subjects and philosophical contexts that were covered during my training. The first essay deals with the high rate of suicidality amongst individuals with bipolar disorder and considers psychodynamic theories on suicide and on manic-depressive disorder in the search for answers. The second essay looks at the role of the therapeutic relationship in cognitive-behavioural therapy using the example of the treatment of borderline personality disorder through Young's Schema Therapy. The third and final essay explores the individual dimensions of clinical presentations and, using the example of shame, highlights the necessity to engage with the underlying personal meaning of any expression of human distress. The therapeutic practice dossier introduces the three placements I attended during my training and gives an overview of the kind of work I conducted there. It concludes with my Final Clinical Paper 'Early Days' which gives an account of my personal and professional development over the course of my training and of how I engaged with the different therapeutic modalities. Finally, the research dossier contains a literature review and two pieces of qualitative research all concerned with the experience of suicidality in the context of bipolar disorder (BD). The literature review undertaken in the first year highlighted that BD has largely been studied from a positivistic perspective leading to a simplistic view of the condition and a lack of understanding of the idiosyncratic meaning of suicidality. The first study investigates individuals' experience of their own suicidality. It appeared that participants were experiencing a gradual loss of identity which led to an erosion of their sense of self and ultimately to the experience of suicidal feelings. The second study is a complementary project to the first one and investigated practitioners' perspective of the nature of bipolar suicidality. The role of empathy and openness to clients' idiosyncrasies are emphasised throughout the whole of the research. LITERATURE REVIEW Suicidality in the context of bipolar disorder. An existential-phenomenological critique of the psychological literature . on bipolar disorder and suicide Abstract Much research exists regarding the description, nature and management of bipolar disorder (BD). Giving an overview of the classification, course, aetiology and treatment of the condition, this literature review shows that BD has largely been studied from a positivistic perspective leading to what appears to be a rather simplistic view of the condition. Particular attention is paid to the aspect of suicidality, a risk high in those diagnosed with BD, as well as to the fact that suicide is seen as a symptom of disease rather than as a meaningful expression. Alternative writers and their views of psychopathology and suicide are considered briefly, such as Laing (1960) and Sasz (1980), as well as the concept of rational suicide and the impOltance of considering a person's intention when attempting suicide. The paper turns to the existential-phenomenological approach which emphasises the client's experience and worldview. The mainstream psychopathological view of BD is challenged with a view to the complexity, causality and relatedness of the human experience and the importance of considering the client's way of being in the world. The existential': phenomenological approach views suicide as a choice of how to respond to the existential givens of human life and emphasises the need to recognise the client's uniqueness and understand the particular meaning that suicide has for each individual. Implications for the practitioner are considered, such as the impOltance of careful exploration of the client's life values and realities in order to potentially i'educe emotional pain and suicidality. Keywords: Suicide; suicidology; phell011zenology; bipolar disorder; mania; affective disorders; self-harm; qualitative; Interpretative Phenomellological Analysis (IPA)
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (PsychD.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available