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Title: 'Not a neutral event' : clinical psychologists and gifts offered in therapeutic relationships
Author: Willingham, Bethanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 2968
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2007
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Gifts have scarcely been attended to in psychology or clinical psychology literature, despite attracting considerable interest in other social science disciplines. Only a very small quantity of empirical studies has researched gifts given within therapeutic relationships. An interdisciplinary approach was therefore used in this study to investigate clinical psychologists' experiences of being offered gifts by clients within therapeutic relationships, drawing on theoretical literature from anthropology, sociology and psychoanalysis. The study was situated within a critical realist epistemology and used both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Part I was a survey of chartered clinical psychologists, designed to map gift experiences descriptively, whilst Part II involved group discussions to seek to understand their meaning. Thematic Analysis (TA) was used to analyse both responses to the open-ended questionnaire items and the data from group discussions. Themes arising from the thematic analysis of the questionnaires included: Acceptance as the 'correct' response, Potency of the gift, and Professional matters. Those arising from the group discussions were Refusal as the 'wrong' response and Utility of guidance and the importance of autonomy. The vast majority of gifts reported in the research were accepted, and acceptance was seen as a culturally 'normal' response. Gifts were understood as indicating gratitude and many participants in the survey reported experiencing pleasure at being offered a gift. Although givers were positioned as 'needy' and 'needing' to give, participants also drew on a construction of the gift as a reciprocation. Finally, participants reported using NHS guidelines, although it was emphasised that clinical psychologists are autonomous and seek to understand a gift's meaning, which was contrasted with 'other' professionals.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available