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Title: An exploration of how clinical psychologists make sense of the roles of religion and spirituality in their clinical work with adults who have experienced trauma?
Author: Harbidge, Philippa Rose
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 5603
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2015
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Background and Aims: Spiritual and religious beliefs and practices hold a central role within many individuals’ worldviews, how they function socially and in the expression of distress. Within the profession of clinical psychology however spirituality and religion have been referred to as a neglected area. Some psychologists report discomfort in relation to incorporating spirituality and religion into therapeutic practice. However, the salience of spirituality and religion to clients who have experienced trauma is widely reported. The relationship between spirituality, religion and trauma has been explored, in terms of their role within meaning making processes, as a resource for coping and also, for some people, holding the potential for increased distress. This study aimed to explore how clinical psychologists made sense of the roles of spirituality and religion within their practice, working with adults who had experienced trauma. Method: Semi-structured interviews were carried out with eight clinical psychologists working within two NHS trusts. Participants held a range of preferred therapeutic modalities; cognitive, analytic and systemic. Verbatim interview transcripts were analysed using Thematic Analysis. Results: Four main themes were generated, ‘Spirituality and religion: Connectedness and ambivalence’; ‘Influencing frameworks’; ‘Trauma, spirituality and religion; Important to clients’ and ‘Contradictions in practice’. A description of these themes and associated sub-themes is presented. Conclusions: Participants reported spirituality and religion to be a difficult topic; Spirituality and religion were acknowledged to hold significance to clients however contradictions were reported between therapeutic intentions and therapeutic actions. Consideration was given to the influence of wider contexts upon actions in practice. Clinical implications and directions for future research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available