Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Age and the therapeutic relationship : older clients' experiences of therapy with significantly younger therapists : an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Author: Thurgood, Barbara
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 0141
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2016
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Age is such an important clinical issue within the context of later life Counselling Psychology, and yet research based on older clients’ accounts is lacking. This thesis explores how older clients experienced age difference in therapy with therapists who were perceived to be significantly younger; and aims to understand the meaning of these experiences. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with eight older adults who, at or after the age of 65, had received at least 6 sessions of individual psychotherapy, using any approach, and with a therapist who was perceived by them to be at least 20 years younger. Interview transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The analysis highlighted these older adults’ experiences of age difference in the given circumstances. These experiences were considered not only as unique to each individual but also as bound up with intersubjective aspects of the therapeutic relationship. Two super-ordinate themes emerged: (1) TEMPORALITY & AGEING including certain sub-themes, namely time perspectives: an awareness of time; facing multiple losses; relevance of age difference in the therapeutic relationship; and (2) THERAPEUTIC RELATIONAL WORLD including sub-themes: quality of relating; therapy as emotional release and transcending/expanding of the self. The research provides an insight into the lived age difference experience of older individuals within the context of their therapeutic relationship; and indicates that age difference entered into their therapeutic experience in complex and diverse ways. In particular, age difference seems to be embedded in the intersubjective interaction between client and therapist. Factors such as temporality and ageing appear to be the important organisers of the participants’ therapeutic experiences this including the age difference aspect. The findings are discussed in the light of the phenomenological and intersubjective perspectives; along with suggestions for future research, and implications for Counselling Psychology.
Supervisor: Bray, Diane Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Counselling