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Title: Counselling psychologists' experiences of working with clients who present with anger issues in prison settings : an interpretative phenomenological analysis
Author: Tite, Louise Rebecca
Awarding Body: University of Roehampton
Current Institution: University of Roehampton
Date of Award: 2013
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Background and Aims: Existing literature on working with clients who have anger issues in prison settings is largely outcome related with an emphasis on evaluating anger management programmes. Research offering insight into the therapists‟ subjective experiences when carrying out such work is scarce. Thus, this study aims to explore therapists‟ subjective responses to clients who express anger within prison settings, as well as the impact such responses may have on the therapeutic process. Method: Semi-structured interviews are carried out with eight qualified chartered counselling psychologists who have experience of working with client anger within prison settings. Interview transcripts are analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), a qualitative methodology that focuses on lived experiences and how people make sense of their experiences. Results: The analysis highlights the different ways therapists understand and manage their reactions to client anger. The two superordinate themes are: (1) THREAT, including subthemes: Threat of burnout; Threat of enmeshment with the client; Threat to the therapeutic relationship. (2) CONTAINMENT, including subthemes: Containing own emotional response; The system as a container; Containment through the therapeutic framework. Conclusion: Participants experienced significant challenges in terms of feeling burnt out, dealing with complex interpersonal dynamics and facing ethical dilemmas. They struggled to work therapeutically with clients‟ expressions of anger, as it produced strong countertransference reactions. This highlights the need for training in these areas to enable therapists to prepare for the challenges that working in a prison context brings. Future research investigating supervision and self-care could build on this current study.
Supervisor: Dhillon-Thomas, Harbrinder ; O'Callaghan, Jean Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Psych.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychotherapy ; Prison ; Anger ; counselling psychology