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Title: Clinical psychology and the media : a critical analysis
Author: Grange, Tom
ISNI:       0000 0004 2699 3688
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2008
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Clinical psychologists have an increasing presence in the media, however the way they are portrayed rarely distinguishes them from other types of psychologists and psy-professionals, and the information communicated is often unclear, inaccurate and lacking usefulness. Therefore, this thesis sought to examine how people working in the media understand clinical psychology and the way this then informs the portrayal of clinical psychologists. On the basis of this, possible solutions to improve their portrayal in the media would be identified. A secondary aim of the thesis was to investigate what clinical psychologists wanted the media to know about their profession. Fifteen media personnel were interviewed and the data were analysed using a descriptive analysis and a critical discourse analysis (CDA). Sixteen clinical psychologists answered a single question survey about what they would like the media to know regarding their profession and their answers were analysed using a content analysis (CA). The media samples' responses to the interview, and the clinical psychologists' responses to the survey question were then subjected to a descriptive comparison. The descriptive analysis of the media samples' interviews highlighted much confusion about clinical psychology, the activities of clinical psychologists and the way they are different from other psychologists and psy-professionals. The CDA revealed three main discourses underlying the way in which media personnel spoke about clinical psychologists, these being: i) the clinical psychologist as authority/expert, ii) the clinical psychologist as mind reader, and, iii) the clinical psychologist as rescuer. Another descriptive analysis highlighted how decisions were made by media personnel as to when and how to portray the profession. The CA revealed 25 separate coding categories indicating what clinical psychologists would like the media to know about their profession. A comparison of both sample's responses revealed similarities and differences as to how they conceptualised clinical psychology. On the basis of the above analyses, new possibilities to improve the portrayal of clinical psychologists were identified and the results are discussed in relation to the broader literature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available