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Title: Raising awareness of clinical practice from an existential perspective with clients affected by cancer
Author: Maragou, Evangelia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 9847
Awarding Body: Middlesex University/New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2015
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The existential/phenomenological approach to therapy is one that addresses many of the issues arising following a cancer diagnosis such as the sudden realisation of one’s mortality, loneliness, anxiety, worry and loss of meaning in life. This study explores qualified existential therapists’ experience of working with clients diagnosed with cancer. Additionally, an attempt has been made to explore participants’ theoretical understanding of the existential approach to therapy as well as its implications for their clinical practice. A qualitative methodology was used and six semi-structured interviews were conducted in order to provide a rich understanding of the participants’ experiences. Six qualified existential practitioners with experience in working with clients affected by cancer participated in the study. A Thematic Analysis (TA) and an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) were applied in the analysis of the data. A Thematic Analysis of the first question that attempted to describe participants’ working knowledge of the existential approach was conducted. Consecutively, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was applied in order to obtain each individual’s subjective understanding of their experience and also to allow the researcher’s personal conception and interpretation of the data to be utilized. The analysis of the data collected revealed three emerging themes: (1) Therapists’ conceptualisation of the existential approach; (2) Emotional responses to working with clients diagnosed with cancer and (3) Implications in clinical practice with clients with cancer. This study highlights the emotional impact of working with clients affected by cancer upon therapists. Work with a client with cancer involves working with uncertainty, anxiety and death. Therapists might also come to a realisation of their own mortality or even develop death and health anxieties. Lastly, the analysis also indicates implications regarding clinical practice and what is expected of therapists when working in this context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available