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Title: Making sense of mental health difficulties through live reading : an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of being in a reader group
Author: Gray, Ellie
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2013
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Reader groups involve the reading aloud of complex literature by a skilled facilitator in a group setting, followed by group discussion in relation to the text. They are delivered to a wide variety of populations within both physical and mental health and social care services, across community, residential and inpatient settings. A limited body of existing literature indicates that reader groups can produce positive therapeutic effects to enhance mental health and well-being, but research thus far is largely based on pilot studies with small samples. Further investigation is warranted to explore the experience of reader groups from the perspective of individuals with mental health problems and to consider possible psychological mechanisms underpinning potential therapeutic effects, since this is the first psychological study to be conducted in this area. The aim of the current research was to explore the experience of being in a community reader group for people with mental health problems, and to consider how participation relates to making sense of life experiences and relationships, both inside and outside the group. Eight participants took part in semi-structured interviews, which were transcribed and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Five master themes pertaining to participants’ experience of reader groups emerged: ‘Literature as an Intermediary Object’, ‘Boundaries and Rules of Engagement’, ‘Self as Valued, Worthy, Capable’, ‘Community and Togetherness in Relational Space’, and ‘Changing View of Self, World, Others’. The findings were discussed in relation to existing literature, to provide an indication of possible psychological mechanisms underpinning participants’ experiences of reader groups. Clinical implications of the current research were considered, particularly in terms of mental health service provision and access to alternative therapeutic activity, and suggestions were made for future research.
Supervisor: Kiemle, Gundi; Billington, Josie; Davis, Philip Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry