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Title: The lived experience of therapeutic work in the midst of grief : an existential phenomenological study
Author: De Santis, Matilda
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 9979
Awarding Body: Middlesex University/New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2015
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This dissertation explores the humanistic therapist’s lived experience of loss following bereavement and how a bereaved therapist manages their client work in the midst of their grief. This qualitative phenomenological research was conducted on the basis of semi-structured interviews with seven participants (all of them practising therapists who had experienced recent bereavement), whose accounts were then analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Four main themes were identified. The first highlighted the overwhelming and disorientating experience of grief on an instinctual level. The second dealt with how the participants sought to manage the therapeutic encounter by relying on technique and their professional identity. The third theme explored the positive as well as negative ways in which grief impacted participants’ work with clients. The fourth and final theme explored the expansion of self which seemed to result from participants’ experience of loss in combination with their continuing therapeutic work. This study seeks to contribute to the under-researched area of therapist bereavement and the impact of grief or vulnerability on the therapeutic encounter. Its findings suggest that therapists’ experiences of loss involve complex dynamics with important implications both for therapists themselves and for the therapeutic relationship. The study recommends that further research be undertaken into how therapists are affected by significant life crises, how they manage their own vulnerabilities, and how they navigate therapeutic processes in the midst of bereavement.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available