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Title: Investigating family context : an exploratory study to research how therapists use genograms as a therapeutic tool with individuals in one-to-one therapy
Author: Stabler, Rosanne
Awarding Body: Middlesex University/Metanoia Institute
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2013
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My project focuses on context as a key aspect of my theoretical framework as a counselling psychologist and integrative psychotherapist. In particular, literature about system’s theory and research about transgenerational transmission highlight the importance of paying attention to a client’s family context in the therapeutic process. My practice-based research addresses the need to investigate how therapists work actively with a client’s family system in one-to-one therapy. I chose to explore therapists’ use of genograms (family trees) to understand a client’s family history and dynamics. I conducted semi-structured interviews with nine therapists who use genograms regularly within their ongoing therapeutic work with individuals. My method of data collection and analysis utilised a full, social constructivist version of grounded theory that incorporated an awareness of my experiences and influences using reflexivity. The three main categories I constructed from my data centred on how genograms become integrated into the evolving therapeutic process and relationship, how they create impact and change, and the influence of the therapist’s approach and interventions. Whilst each category can be understood separately, they are inter-related in terms of the overall use and effect of genograms in one-to-one work. My findings suggest that genograms can be powerful and, if used sensitively and appropriately, can enhance the therapeutic relationship and process of personal change. By demonstrating the beneficial use of a holistic and relational tool that has the potential for quicker work by understanding the context of the client’s presenting issues, my research has relevance within current debates about the provision of psychological therapy in statutory services and to the fields of counselling psychology and integrative psychotherapy with regards to how they address context in practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available