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Title: Counselling psychologists' experiences of the therapeutic relationship when working with sex-offenders
Author: Kitson, Kirsten M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2738 6484
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2012
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Regardless of therapeutic orientation, the therapeutic relationship has been consistently shown as central to the therapeutic process. However, research has also shown that this can be difficult to achieve when working with sex-offenders. Less is known about the experience of this relationship and little qualitative research has been conducted in this area. This current study therefore aimed to provide valuable insight into the first-hand accounts of therapists directly working with this client group through exploring their experience of the therapeutic relationship, using a qualitative approach. The study focused upon the experiences of eight Counselling Psychologists, in order to keep the sample homogenous, and explored the differences the therapists may have experienced compared to other client groups. Additionally, it aimed to highlight what difficulties, if any, have arisen in the therapeutic relationships and potentially how these have been experienced, managed, overcome and addressed. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with eight counselling psychologists who have worked therapeutically with sex-offenders. Verbatim transcripts of the interviews were then analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). The analysis illustrated four master themes: i) Forming a relationship- negotiating the degree of intimacy; ii) overcoming barriers to the relationship- contending with the context; iii) establishing a relationship- feeling a reaction yet managing a response; iv) reaping the rewards of the relationship- out of the darkness and into the light. A description of these master themes and the related subordinate themes were presented. The results of the analysis were considered in light of existing theory and their clinical implications.
Supervisor: Dickerson, Paul ; Rizq, Rosemary Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: counselling psychology ; sex offenders ; therapeutic relationship