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Title: Exploring the therapeutic self
Author: Williamson, Rosanna
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 4220
Awarding Body: City University
Current Institution: City, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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The majority of research looking at the role of the therapist's self in psychotherapy is quantitative. The emphasis on quantitative methods in health care settings has led to a focus on therapeutic method, and a marginalisation of the importance of the therapist's self in psychotherapeutic processes. There has been very little qualitative research that looks to explore the therapist's subjective experiences of self in their professional work. In response to this dearth of research, particularly within Counselling Psychology, this study aims to investigate Counselling Psychologists' experiences of self in their professional work. The study is conducted using semi-structured interviews, and analysed using the qualitative methodology of IPA. Participants were eleven Chartered Counselling Psychologists all with at least one year of post-qualification experience. Three superordinate themes emerged from the data: constructing self in relationship; negotiating the relationship between self and other, and the self observed. The overall finding from this study, reflected in each of the three superordinate themes, is of the self being understood and made meaningful through the presence of a relationship with an other. The theme 'constructing the self in relationship', highlights how participants understand their self as an integral part of the relationships they form with their clients. 'Negotiating relationships between self and other' reflects how participants continually negotiate the boundaries between their self and the client. The final theme 'the self observed', pertains to the idea of self being the object of observation, both from an internal and external perspective. Overall the findings reveal the existence of complex internal negotiations present in the therapist, that can enter into and interact with the therapeutic process. This study provides a complex and practice-based insight into the role of the therapist's self in psychotherapy, that is not reflected by current literature. These insights can be incorporated into Counselling Psychology training programmes, particularly addressing the areas of practitioner self- awareness and personal development. This study argues that future research is needed to further elaborate our understanding of the role of the therapist's self in psychotherapy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology