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Title: Magical thinking in counselling psychology
Author: Martell, Diane
Awarding Body: University of Wales
Current Institution: Regent's University London
Date of Award: 2016
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Aim. This thesis explores how magical thinking is construed by counselling psychologists working in independent practice in Britain. It considers how magical thinking within counselling psychologists relates to working therapeutically with clients who engage in magical thinking. Background. Magical thinking has been widely researched by a number of disciplines. This includes some applied fields of psychology, but not counselling psychology. Method. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted in Britain between July 2011 and February 2012. The purposive sample consisted of eight volunteer chartered counselling psychologists occupying different points on the Magical Ideation Scale (Eckblad and Chapman, 1983). Qualitative data analysis was guided by combining van Manen’s (1990,2002) hermeneutic phenomenology and Romanyshyn’s (2007) alchemical hermeneutics. Findings. Six major themes were identified: therapeutic work; identity and belonging; health and illness; art and science; development, evolution, and transition; sacred and secular. Conclusion. All participants to varying degrees demonstrated magical thinking and had worked with it in their clinical practice. However, their talk about it was linked to feelings of stigma and shame, and fear of judgement by others in the profession. Their approach to working with magical thinking was therefore often hidden. As such, lack of open discussion appears widespread. This means this area of practice will lack training and support, and any clear consensus on good practice. Overcoming barriers to discussing magical thinking within counselling psychology therefore seems an important area for future development. This thesis has made an original contribution in opening up that dialogue.
Supervisor: Poland, Fiona Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available