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Title: Poverty : a qualitative analysis of clinical psychologists' construction of poverty and its described influence in their interventions with clients
Author: Sams, Naomi
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 3973
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2008
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A relationship between poverty and mental health has been demonstrated for many years now through epidemiological data. However it appears that mental health services and clinical psychology specifically has failed to take sufficient account of this relationship. Instead it is argued that in pursuing individualistic explanations of mental health problems clinical psychology has reduced complex social problems into intra-psychic factors. Power and discourse's role in legitimising power have also been implicated in this relationship through the oppression and constraining of poor individuals identities. The individualistic accounts of psychology were also criticised as legitimating a focus on poor individuals and masking social processes that may be involved in the development of mental health difficulties. In this thesis I present the results of a discourse analysis of interviews with nine clinical psychologists. Two main discourses were generated from the data, those being structural and individualistic. These appeared to have different functions, and created a number of dilemmas for participants with structural accounts ensuring individuals were not blamed for their poverty, while individualistic accounts seemed to function to transform the social problem of poverty into a task that would fit within the constraints of a traditional psychological account. In explaining poverty psychologists appeared to draw more on structural accounts. However, in accounting for the relationship between poverty and mental health the opposite was the case. The implications for practice and research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available