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Title: Counselling psychologists' perception, understanding and experience of client dependency within the overall therapeutic relationship and its impact on the therapeutic process
Author: Harrison, Maxine
ISNI:       0000 0004 2723 5790
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2011
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The aim of the research was to examine how Counselling Psychologists perceive dependency in their clients and also how they experience the phenomenon in their therapeutic practice. Research suggests that dependency is relevant to the formation and continuance of relationships and that it can influence the strength and quality of those relationships and as such has a role in therapeutic relationships. Open-ended semistructured interviews were conducted with 8 Counselling psychologists with in excess of 5 years experience. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. 4 master themes were identified. ‘The therapeutic relationship as the context for dependency’ was consistent with existing literature on the importance of the therapeutic relationship. Participants were generally resistant to clients becoming dependent on them and maintained firm boundaries to avoid it and believed that greater experience made it easier to work with dependency. Participants’ reluctance to approach dependency issues was consistent with western societal values that seem to reject vulnerability and neediness. Significant for training and practice was the theme ‘feelings engendered by dependency’, with challenging reactions to dependency rarely being discussed in training or supervision and for which there is little professional support. The theme ‘impact of the theoretical approach and environment on dependency’ suggests that longer term therapy, such as psychodynamic approaches, encourage an over reliance on the therapist. The fourth theme ‘power’, indicated that participants recognised the influence of power in therapy and in general felt empowerment was an appropriate therapeutic goal.
Supervisor: Dubowski, Janek ; Greenwood, Dennis Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: counselling psychology ; client dependency ; Therapeutic practice ; relationships ; dependency ; empowerment