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Title: A therapeutic relationship? : an interpretative phenomenological analysis exploring aikido practitioners' perspectives on their relationship with their instructor
Author: Lutz, Michaela M. A.
Awarding Body: London Metropolitan University
Current Institution: London Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2013
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The Oriental martial arts have been described as systems of personal development that share commonalities with Eastern-inspired strands of psychotherapy. Within psychotherapy and beyond the therapeutic relationship is a major vehicle for psychological change; it is an important focus of psychological research and occupies a key role in counselling psychology. In contrast, the role and importance of the student-instructor relationship in martial arts for practitioners' personal development has not yet been investigated. This study is a qualitative investigation of senior aikido practitioners' experiences of their relationship with their instructor. It sought to explore how practitioners perceive their relationship with the instructor, how they evaluate its significance with respect to everyday life and personal development, and what aspects of the relationship they perceive as facilitative or problematic for personal development. Semi-structured interviews with eight practitioners were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Practitioners evaluated the relationship with their instructor as central to their practice and important for their personal development and daily life. They reported several facilitative instructor qualities and stances, conceptualised as credibility; empathy and attentiveness; facilitating self-governance; and maintaining boundaries. Practitioners experienced the instructor as providing guidance, role modelling, challenge and containment, and described a process of applying learning through internalising a mental representation of the instructor. Other facilitative aspects in their development were the cultural and social context of training and the embodied nature of learning. The study discusses similarities and differences between the student-instructor relationship in martial arts and the client-therapist relationship in counselling psychology and psychotherapy. The present insights highlight the therapeutic utility of relationship arrangements outside the sphere of traditional psychotherapy. This is relevant to counselling psychologists in three ways: by providing a novel angle from which to explore our clinical practice; by challenging our conception of what constitutes a therapeutic relationship; and by identifying ways in which non-therapy developmentally facilitative arrangements could be used to enhance growth and wellbeing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available