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Title: Therapeutic interpretations of psychodynamic ideas : a social constructionist grounded theory
Author: Mabbott, Lucy
ISNI:       0000 0004 2738 7129
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2012
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The focus of this study is on how counselling psychologists and other therapists interpret psychodynamic ideas. There is a dearth of qualitative work addressing this issue, particularly from the practitioner perspective. This study adopted a social constructionist version of Grounded Theory. Twelve volunteer therapist participants were interviewed (six counselling psychologists and six therapists accredited by the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) and the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)). Therapists had a wide range of experience but all had at least one year of training in psychodynamic theory. The analysis produced a grounded theory that suggests a tension between realist and social constructionist epistemological stances to psychodynamic theories. An unquestioning use of psychodynamic ideas persisted whereby these theories remained uncontested and were spoken about as if they were indicative of reality. This alternated with a reflective use of psychodynamic ideas where a theory was seen as one explanation among many. A tension was apparent as therapists spoke from these epistemologically opposed stances. This tension was expressed through the demonstration of being drawn to use psychodynamic ideas unquestioningly as they seem to abate anxiety and provide a sense of professionalism and expertise. The benefits of thinking objectively about psychodynamic ideas draw therapists into speaking of them in this way, even when this approach was not in line with the their epistemological stance at other points in time. The tension seems to result from societal demands and contextual pressures as well as the inter-relational discourse with the researcher. It is suggested that practitioners in the field of counselling psychology as well as by practitioners accredited with the UKCP and BACP experience this phenomenon. Length of experience in practice did not play a significant factor in how therapists conceptualise psychodynamic ideas. A discussion of the implication of these findings and the potential for future research is also explored.
Supervisor: Farnfield, Stephen ; Greenwood, Dennis ; Munt, Stephen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Counselling Psychology ; psychodynamic counselling ; grounded theory