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Title: An exploration of the experiences of religiously committed counselling professionals working with religious and non-religious client
Author: Lopes de Jesus, Lara
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 9840
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2016
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Most of the existing research on relationships between counselling and religion has addressed how practitioners provide services to religious clients or on strategies for working with people from specific religious traditions. The focus of this study is on how counselling professionals’ religious identity may impact on their clinical work. All the participants had at least one year of post-qualification experience working with religious and non-religious clients. Nine participants (6 female and 3 males) were interviewed and the data were analysed using a social constructionist version of Grounded Theory. This gave rise to four different yet highly related sub-categories. These were as follows: 1) Meaning making: Identity within the context of religion, 2) Keeping my faith life and my psychotherapy life separate, 3) Disclosure: The Unavoidable Blend between Religion and Counselling, 4) The Impact on Therapy. The findings of this study suggest that there is a tension in the way counselling professionals are managing their religious identity within their professional environment (i.e. training, supervision and counselling room). This tension seems to be centred on a need to protect their religious self from challenges imposed by professional colleagues, and a need, at least for some participants, to use the counselling room to reinforce their religious beliefs. While some participants have consciously chosen to keep their religious self out of the therapy room, others emphasise this split between religious and professional self is not possible when it comes to their counselling practice. The participants’ need to protect themselves from potential negative judgment was identified as a complex phenomenon that formed the basis of the core category ‘Protection’. The findings have added a novel perspective in recognising the impact a counselling practitioner’s religious beliefs has on their clinical, supervisory and training experiences.
Supervisor: Dubowski, Janek ; Moon, Lyndsey Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: religion ; spirituality ; Grounded Theory